In a bid to find common grounds for the region’s security and socio-economic development, South-West Development Stakeholders Forum (SWDSF) has invited leading presidential candidates to a parley in Ibadan.
This is contained in a statement issued by SWDSF’s Spokesperson, Alhaji Olalekan Ajia, and made available to newsmen on Tuesday in Ibadan.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that SWDSF is representing more than 30 grassroots southwest interest groups and associations across party lines as well as religious and ethnic affiliations.
SWDSF includes Yoruba World Centre, ODUACCIMA, Egbe Omo Yoruba in North America, Professional Women’s Group, Yoruba Ko’ya Leadership and Training Foundation, and Majeobaje.
Others are the Oranmiyan Hunters Association, Farmers Groups, Town Development Unions, the academia, Chambers of Commerce, and Diaspora associations.
NAN also reports that the parley aims to promote the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN), a non-partisan blueprint prepared jointly by the six southwest states, for the region’s security and socio-economic development.
The forum said that the parley was aimed at championing the development plans of the southwest people and finding common grounds among the presidential manifestoes.
It listed the presidential candidates invited for the parley as Bola Tinubu (APC), Atiku Abubakar (PDP), Peter Obi (LP), Omoyele Sowore (AAC), Kolawole Abiola (PRP), Rabiu Kwankwaso (NNPP) and Adewole Adebayo (SDP).
SWDSF said that the parley would also increase voters’ understanding and turnout in the southwest during the 2023 general elections.
According to it, the southwest has received little or no strategic consideration in the manifestoes of the various presidential candidates.
The forum said that the historical trajectory of the zone as the commercial nerve center of Nigeria had strategic political importance for a united, peaceful, and prosperous Nigeria.
It said that the southwest region had huge potential in driving national growth and development.
“Beyond party affiliations, religious and ethnic disparities, the over 50 million people of the southwest of Nigeria need to hear directly from the presidential candidates.
“The need to know how they will work with the Yoruba people and indeed all Nigerians living in the south-west, to address issues of insecurity and worsening quality of life in the zone,” it said.
The forum said that the parley with the leading presidential candidates would hold at Jogor Centre between Jan. 17 and Jan. 18.
It said that the forum would be represented at the discussions by its Chairman, Mr. Alao Adedayo, and Secretary, Rev. Muyiwa Bamgbose.
Others are: Sir Gbenga Adebusuyi, Chief Deji Osibogun, Prince Kayode Adeyemi, Sen. Tokunbo Ogunbajo, Chief Akintayo Akin-Deko, Dr Yemi Adegoke, Mr Ayo Oyerinde and Mr Femi Oniyide.