Thursday, October 31, 2019 / 08.00PM / Ottoabasi Abasiekong
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Governors Babajide Sanwoolu and Prince Dapo Abiodun, MFR, drew up a list of benefits of a joint economic Commission between Lagos and Ogun states while addressing the Organised Private Sector (OPS) at the October edition of the Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce, NSACC.
At a panel discussion moderated by Mr Foluso Phillips Chairman of Phillips Consulting Group, a leading African professional services firm, both Governors agreed that Lagos and Ogun were critical to national economic growth, and an effective partnership between them would help drive sustainable regional and national development.
Lagos is the commercial centre of the country and the fifth largest economy in Africa, while Ogun is currently emerging as the nations industrial hub.
Governor Babajide Sanwoolu set the context for discussions by stating that the Federal Government in 2005 tried to initiate a Lagos-Ogun Commission, but failed.
Sanwoolu was optimistic that with Lagos and Ogun states now under the same political party, the commission had great prospects of becoming a reality.
The Lagos state Governor said the activities of the Commission would be driven by the Deputy Governors and would look into critical areas like;
The Governors commended the Federal Government for the recent "Border Closure" decision which has helped to rejuvenate the agricultural sector in terms of domestic production.
Governor Dapo Abiodun also noted the fact that the Commission would help ramp up activities in the infrastructure space, as major roads that linked the two states to other parts of the country and neighbouring countries, were in deplorable conditions.
The Governors informed the business community that efforts have been made through discussions with the Federal Government, to explore partnerships to address and speed up work on roads like the Lagos-Abeokuta road and the Ikorodu -Shagamu road.
Both Governors believed that States should be allowed to rehabilitate designated federal highways that affect the livelihood of citizens and increase the cost of doing business.
Looking at the prospects of improving the transportation network between the states, Governor Sanwoolu identified the Epe to Ijebu Ode and Ebute Metta to Agbado rail corridors as areas to explore and improve access with a view to ease commuting.
In the area of public finance the Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, used the occasion to commend his Lagos state counterpart, for prompt remittance of taxes due to Ogun state.
On Education both states singled out Edo State as a template for peer review to improve learning and participation of pupils and students, by deploying technology.
Abiodun also announced that a major Inland Terminal will be developed to help ease the gridlock at the busiest Seaport in Nigeria, the Apapa Port in Lagos State.
Sanwoolu and Abiodun both solicited the support of the private sector in actualizing their economic strategies.
Chairman of the occasion, and serial industrialist, Dr Oba Otudeko, Chairman Honeywell Flour Mills, called for a pragmatic political approach from both state Governors in the discharge of their duties.
He encouraged them to focus on completing projects that they inherited from their predecessors, which include infrastructure projects that will have far-reaching socio-economic benefits for the citizens of their respective states.
The signing of the agreement on the joint Commission between both states is expected in a few days, with the private sector expecting that there will be legislation to back up the Commission and institutionalizing the partnership.