Nigeria’s South-West Governors Adopt Common Agenda, Renew Call for State Police

Regional economic integration, food production, and security topped the agenda at the meeting of the South-West Governors’ Forum held in Lagos on Monday.

At the meeting held behind closed-doors in Alausa, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the host, was unanimously elected to lead the forum as chairman.

According to a statement by the forum, Sanwo-Olu stepped into the position following the vacancy occasioned by the death of former Governor of Ondo State, ArakunrinRotimi Akeredolu, who chaired the regional caucus.

Governors Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Lucky Aiyedatiwa (Ondo), Ademola Adeleke (Osun), Biodun Oyebanji (Ekiti), and Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) were all physically present at the meeting, which lasted four hours.

They all paid their last respects to the memory of the late Akeredolu, who passed away last December.

The forum reviewed security across the region, and pointed out that the South-west had been relatively peaceful.

The governors renewed their call for creation of state police to further strengthen security in the region. They agreed on the need to forge a security cooperation in order to enhance economic development and free movement within the region.

The governors also called for more collaboration between security agencies and Western Nigeria Security Network, known as Amotekun Corps. 

The forum commended the House of Representatives and members of the South-westcaucus in the National Assembly for their efforts in passing the South-West Development Commission Bill, urging the upper chamber of the federal legislature to speed up the bill’s passage.

To increase food production and agricultural development, the forum directed their respective states’ Commissioners for Agriculture to immediately come together and develop a comprehensive agricultural template that would leverage on each state’s comparative advantage.

At the end of the meeting, the South-West Governors’ Forum, through its chairman, Sanwo-Olu, read an 11-point resolution adopted in the communique signed by all the six governors.

Sanwo-Olu said, “The Southwest Governors’ Forum, at its meeting today, June 10, 2024, deliberated extensively on contemporary issues in the South-west states and resolved to commend President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on the ground-breaking of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road, and the proposed Lagos to Sokoto road.

“We, however, encourage the federal government to rehabilitate other federal infrastructure in the region.

“On security, the forum commends the relative peace in the South-west region and notes the collaboration between all security agencies and the Amotekun Corps.

“We reaffirm our full support for State Police. We acknowledge the efforts of the federal government to strengthen food security. We decide that Commissioners for Agriculture of all the South-west states should begin to meet and set up a working template, which will ensure collaboration based on each state’s comparative advantage.”

On the lingering disagreement over minimum wage, the forum said it was in support of the efforts of the federal government, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), and the organised private sector to resolve the wage dispute, while urging continued engagement with the labour unions.

The governors said they believed the outcome of the negotiations for better wages would reflect true fiscal federalism.

The forum hailed the federal government’s efforts on exploration policies with regard to mineral resources, but called for collaboration with states in the process of granting leases to investors.

The South-west governors adopted a popular song composed by Afenifere, a Yoruba socio-cultural group, titled, “Ise wa fun ile wa,” as the common anthem for the six states in the zone.

According to the communique, “They condemned, in strong terms, nefarious activities of a group of people agitating for Yoruba nation, stating that the region remained an integral part of the country.

“The forum agrees to strengthen the DAWN Commission on operational efficiency and charges the commission to focus on economic integration, cooperation and investment promotion of South-west states. To that end, each state is mandated to appoint a state focal person.”

Segun James 

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