Governors in the South West zone met yesterday in Ibadan, Oyo State, and pledged to work towards a common goal of promoting economic development of the region, which would improve the lives of the people. At the meeting hosted by Governor Abiola Ajimobi and attended by Governors Rauf Aregbesola of Osun, Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti, Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun and Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos, with Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State absent, they said their decision had become more imperative against the backdrop of the economic recession.
Addressing reporters at the end of the meeting Fayose said the agenda of the meeting was in the main on economic development of the region. He added that they would henceforth speak with one voice regardless of their political differences.
Fayose stated that the focal point of the forum was how to put appropriate measures in place to reduce the hunger and poverty in the land as a result of the economic recession. According to Fayose, “We need to work together for unity regardless of our political differences. It was also agreed that continuity, regularity and urgency of interaction is important.” Ajimobi lamented the biting economic hardship in the country, which has resulted in their inability to pay workers’ salaries. He said: “It bears no rehashing the story of the difficult times that we are all facing. We are currently battling with financial and sustainability challenges on a scale that has probably not been seen in a long time. “
Ajimobi maintained: “It is obvious that we can no longer continue and carry on the way we have over the years. There must be the beginning of that new journey to bring our people out of creeping poverty, to empower the youths by training and equipping them with requisite skills, seek common ways of boosting our agriculture, deal with the security challenges assailing us and make our region ready for investments.” After addressing reporters, Amosun left while others went into the inner chamber for further discussions.
Ambode, who arrived at the meeting venue in a luxury bus with his entourage later left in Aregbesola’s car. Meanwhile, the 23 APC governors have held a two-day meeting in Kano to discuss input on the country’s proposed constitutional amendment.
Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum and Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, said: “There is a need for consistent institutional engagement for a smooth democratic process. It is in line with this that we deem it necessary to hold this very crucial meeting at this point in time.”