The Western Nigerian Governors Forum rose from a two-day quarterly meeting in Lagos State, yesterday, with plans to bid for the concession of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, and turn it into world-class infrastructure.
Governors of Oyo, Ondo, Lagos, Ekiti, Osun and Ogun rose from the meeting, hosted by the Lagos State Government with the theme, ‘Consolidating the legacy of regional integration,’ and agreed that Lagos, which in the past refused to join the forum, has formally become a member of the O’dua Investment Group.
The forum also confirmed Mr. Oluseye Oyeleye as the substantive director general of Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission.
The governors, in the communique read by Oyeleye, said a regional agriculture summit to be sponsored by the Lagos state government would hold in May, in Ibadan, capitalof Oyo state.
To further consolidate on food security and job creation in the South West, the governors agreed that the region would embark on a rice-accelerated programme.
The governors also charged the DAWN commission to conduct a study on the success in education in Ekiti State, for peer learning adoption among the western states, just as it, also, urged the focal representatives to structure a programme on the Omoluabi ethos of the Yoruba race. The forum tasked the commission to work on reviving regional inter-school football competition while its focal representatives and agriculture commissioners should hold a technical session before the agriculture summit in Ibadan.
Meanwhile, there was mild drama after the meeting when Ogun State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga, who represented Governor Ibikunle Amosun, refused to sign the memorandum of understanding on Lagos state’s efforts to acquire more land from member states for agriculture.
Onanuga said the state government was not happy with the way Lagos handled an agreement with Ogun over a parcel of land allotted to it in the state, few years back, for a rice project.
Reacting to the development, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, said the issue will be resolved and also, explained that the state wanted to expand the agricultural output, hence, it decided to sign more agreements with some state governments in the region.
Meanwhile, Governor Ayodele Fayose’s Chief Press Secretary, Idowu Adelusi, in a statement, said the governors agreed that peer review in critical areas is necessary for the growth and actualisation of the potential of the region and its people.
He recalled that Ekiti came first in 2016 and 2017 National Examinations Council (NECO) examinations, while it recorded 74 percent success in the West African School Certificate Examinations (WASCE) among other educational feats.
Adelusi also disclosed that other states agreed to allocate 1,000 hectares each to Lagos for rice production to accelerate rice production and improve agriculture in the region.