Governor Ajimobi champions Western Nigeria Integration

Leaders from the South West, Nigeria today gathered at Premier Ibadan for the first Legislative summit tagged, “Achieving Regional Collaboration Agenda for Rapid Growth”.

Among the leaders for the three day summit are: Governor Abiola Ajimobi, Rauf Aregbesola, Dr. Kayode Fayemi representing Oyo, Osun and Ekiti States respectively and governor of the Western Region, General Adeyinka Adebayo.

Others are: the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefilure and her Osun State counterpart, Chief Mrs. Tomori, former governor of Ogun State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Chairman Afenifere Renewal Group, Olawale Oshun, senators, members of House of Representatives and states legislators from the region.

All the speakers in one voice emphasized that regional integration is a task that must be achieved to restore the region’s glory and transform it.

Host governor, Abiola Ajimobi expressed the regret that the region, which used to be the hub of development and envy of all in the First Republic, had witnessed “an embarrassing regression’’.

He said, “Since Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s departure from governance, development has been far between in what used to be Awolowo’s Western Nigeria. Rather than building on the firsts of the First Republic, the South West had witnessed an embarrassing regression. It is a shame that, decades after the First Republic, with the advent of technology, sophistication and advancements in knowledge, that republic is still our benchmark of excellence and example of purity of mental sophistication”.

According to him, the challenge before the people of the South-West region today is “to shuttle backwards while shuttling forward”, adding “in order for us to move forward as a region, we need to go back to the foundation of those sparkling performances of our forefathers and examine what gave birth to those evergreen records.

“If the Western region was a pacesetter in infrastructure, quality of human capital and so on, why can’t we recreate this noble pedigree today for the benefit of the oncoming generation? This should be the greatest bother of this august noble gathering”, he said.

The governor identified quality leadership and collaboration as the key to integration and development among states that made up the erstwhile Western Region stressing:

“I mentioned the quality of leadership because, as our revered Papa Awolowo had said, “only the deep can call to the deep.”

”We have had leaders at the state level who never appreciated the need for the integration of the South West for the benefit of our people. Our present initiative has even been criticized by many politicians in the opposition party, which means if such people find themselves in power, they will never pursue the integration agenda, in spite of its immense benefits”.

The governor urged the states within the region to literally collapse all the walls – social, political or legal – that might be militating against integration and development.

Senator Ajimobi said that the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), being a party driven by a sense of history and commitment to the ultimate good of the people, had identified the integration of the area that formerly constituted the old Western Region as a major factor for the wellbeing of our people, within the context of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He, however, said that the dream would remain a pipe dream unless the legislatures in the states buy into the idea and promulgate legislations that would translate the dream into reality.

In the course of integration, Gov. Ajimobi said that areas of cooperation among states and share benefits of states’ comparative advantages must be looked at adding, “As things stand now, the former Western region is merely the proverbial fruits in a pod of walnut, scattered like an island unto one another while trapped inside one major encasement. We must break the walls and relate with one another as the brothers and sisters that we are. Because we share mutual cultural, historical, political history, retracing our steps into this common ancestry of ours would not be a big problem”.

He particularly emphasized that the need for economic integration.

“How do we ensure an economy of scale in our economic relations as a region? How do we provide the integrative glue to an extensive network of professionals who would perfect the contours of our economic growth and ensure that the Western region sprouts forth from the ashes of decades of inertia? This overall blueprint would necessitate us having an economic consortium which, if put into operation, will drastically improve on our infrastructural development, education, security and so on in the region and thus lifting the economies of our states.

Gov. Ajimobi also said that agriculture, in its diversity, was a major economic component for which the states of the Western Region could collaborate for higher productivity”, he said.

“I envision a Western Nigeria where the 20 million people in Lagos state can be daily served with vegetables from the riverine areas of Ogun State, cassava from the vast land of Oyo State, Dodo Ikire from Osun State, fish from the mangrove of Ondo State and the popular pounded yam of Ekiti State”.

This, he said, could also be replicated in other spheres of human endeavors like health, education, sports and other areas where the states could partner for the boosting of their economies.

The governor affirmed that the quest for regional integration should include educational and cultural integration of the people, pointing out that “although we speak the same language and share the same culture, the balkanization of the states has introduced many policies that have sought to push us afar from one another.

For instance, he noted that all the states in the South-West, except Oyo, have a state university each, adding that Oyo had also initiated the process to commence a state university by September this year.

“But these are universities that can all come under the same roof of a South West University. The University of Cairo in Egypt has over 100,000 students on its roll”, he disclosed.

“Why can’t a South West Nigeria University have such a profile and enjoy the economies of scale that will put us among the foremost universities in the world rather than bicker over the management of a jointly owned LAUTECH between Oyo and Osun States?” he said.

He called for regular meetings among South-West governors with a view to comparing notes and leveraging on their comparative experiences.

Other speakers at the summit such as Chief Bisi Akande, the national chairman of the Action Congress Party of Nigeria, Chief Osoba and General Adebayo also stressed the need for the region to come together so that it would continue to wax stronger.

They charged all the legislators representing the region in the National Assembly to lobby their colleagues to repeal all the obsolete and obnoxious laws which had prevented all the regions to develop at their own pace.


  1. Boli Atepa

    The first thing that needs to happen is to make state citizenship useless in the west. An indigene of Osun should be able to get any work in Ondo. Once that artificial barrier is removed, the states become one and integration can continue. Without doing that, it is a service of their fat lips. If I live in a state for 1 year, I should be able to gain unqualified benefits from that state. Show Nigeria how nationhood should be done.

  2. Omo-Oba Jangbadi

    Omo Eko or what do you call yourself, people like you with this type of 17th Century primitive thinking are the problems Nigeria is still where it is. Common, we are in the 21st Century. What are we still arguing about in Nigeria, if regional intesgration is still a problem, how can inter-regional integration between the sW, SE and SS be possible for God’s sake, talk less of national unity between the North and the South? Why cannt we forget our differences and work for the betterment of our fatherland so that our children, grand children and greatgrandchildren will have a country they shall be proud of. These Governors should be encouraged in this progressive idea as it will benefit all Nigerians inthe SW irrespective of their states of origin and before you know it, the spirit will spread to other regions and the whole country at large.No person, group of of persons , state or country is an island of knowledge, the world is now a global village, and there are far more benefits in regional integration compared with drawbacks.

    1. OMO EKO

      @Jangbadi. I call myself Omo Eko. You can call urself ara eko. I wont oppose that. It is people like you rural dwellers who have turned Eko to what it is now. Before the migration of the phillistines to Lagos, Ijora b power station was sufficient for our needs, we had sanitation inspectors looking after and spraying the gutters to prevent mosquito breeding,our education system was better than western region’s. homeowners cleaned the front and back of their houses everyday, Lagos was the jewel in nigeria’s crown. The culture and tradition of lagos is different from western region. We can not move forward if major differences are not highlighted. The military was trying to create a new Lagos capital in Abuja but it hasnt worked so far. To call ur self a Lagosian is an accolade

  3. Godwin

    We can all see the result for the unprofitable cries for non viable state creations. If Nigeria had remain 3 or just 6 regions, we would have gone far. But the self desires for micro-identity, posts and perquisites of office were the main propelling spirit behind all those agitations for states. We should know that creating thoses only add to gross national administrative cost. Those that should be engaged in productive ventures will be parading themselves up and down as civil servant. Look at the problem OGD had created for Amosun in Ogun State. Why on earth did he think of another state university when the first one still find it difficult to operate? Two were there no people in Ogun State that had voice that could have openly objected.
    I pray that this integration of a thin will work. Oyo should therefore take a lead by not starting another State University. Collaborate with Osun or Ogun to run one. Ondo and Ekiti should stop playing partisan politics. These states can also have joint investment in agricultural settlements/ projects with opportunities for backward and forward integration. Also building of new inter state road and rail projects. God bless Omo Oduduwa.

  4. OMO EKO

    Eko(Lagos) the former capital of nigeria will never be part of an ethnic western region. The old colony province of defunct western nigeria should be decoupled from lagos as it is not part of Eko. Lagos stands on its own ” Gedegbe l’eko wa” Pidgin yoruba is spoken in lagos with borrowed words from english and other ethnic tribes. Yoruba leaders tried it in the fifties, it led nowhere, their offsprings now think they can do the same by trying to force lagos to become part of their south west dream. Our allegiance is to Oba of Lagos and his white cap chiefs.

    1. Godwin

      Omo Eko, let us be realistic. Its better for even Lagos to collaborate with Ogun and Oyo. I think BRF is thinking along that line. That is why he talked of buying land outside Lagos for agricultural projects. If some of the population crowding in lagos can have good transportation system and road network, am too sure they wont mind coming from even Ibadan to work or transact business in Lagos.

  5. Ibukunoluwa-Micah Kayode

    Great idea, very laudable if pushed to a logical end. But beyond the speech making I had anticipated that a committee or implementation team be put in place that would develop a blue-print to actualize this idea.
    If this is done then the meeting would have moved from the normal press briefing to actionable gathering.
    The time is ripe for the West to forge a common front and move ahead again.
    God bless Nigeria, God bless the western States

  6. Ekundayo

    l cherish a good spirit in Oyo state Governor, he is a man with masses concern, keep it up, the Lord will the with you.

  7. afolabi

    It is a good step in a right direction. If they can pursue it to the letter, south west would become envy of other regions in Nigeria. May God help them in a right way.

  8. afolabi

    It is a good step in a right direction. If they can pursue it to the letter, south west would become envy of other regions in Nigeria. May God help them in a right way.

Comments are closed.

More from PM NEWS