IN any dynamic society, the business of governance is such that, rapid development actually takes place when a political officer holder, in the case of a sitting Governor, thinks outside the box to provide the basic necessities of life to touch the lives of the people. Inarguably, the recent inauguration and subsequent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of the Lagos/Ogun Joint Development Commission by the two governors, Mr. Jide Sanwo-Olu and Prince Dapo Abiodun, was an auspicious move long overdue to look into myriad of problems, and to fast-track various meaningful developments, such as physical planning, traffic and transportation, urban renewal, water supply, sanitations, security, road infrastructure, revenue collections, amongst other opportunities which have eluded residents of border communities between the two states. The commission is a baby of the two governors, no doubt about it. The inauguration and subsequent signing of the agreement would go a long way to signal the accelerated developments of the neglected border communities that have been in dire need owing to several years of conflict.
Oftentimes, revenue collection results in conflict between states which lay claim to the ownership of the territories. It is expected that the comission will saddle itself with the responsibility of resolving boundary disputes that may arise between the two states. Prince Abiodun, in his welcome address, underscored the full operationalisation of the joint success story, culminating in the inauguration, a development, he said, was in the obvious resolve and the deliberate and methodical efforts of the two states. According to him, the official inauguration would further initiate and accelerate more projects necessary to aid ease of doing business, movement of people, goods and services and as well, boosting industrialisation, along all the border communities and ensure a wholesome development of the two states. He noted that the success story was as a result of a formal, structured framework of the bilateral engagement that would soon get the legislative backing to fully come into full operations.
“What we are signing today, is s historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that takes cognizance of what had been envisioned, leading to the establishment of the Prof Akin Mabogunje’s Committee on Redeployment of Lagos Megacity Region Plan 2005-6. Between the two of us-my brother Governor and I, it is a mission accomplished and a dream come true to put into action the thought about our two states forging a common alliance to jointly tackle issues bordering on security, sanitation, traffic and transportation, waste management, water supply, land use planning, infrastructure development and maintenance, urban renewal and slum upgrading for the mutual benefit of our people and the generality of Nigerians.
The governor stressed that Ogun state has a larger percentage of the population over-spill into Lagos State as witnessed in many of the border communities, like Ota, Akute, Alagbole, Lambe, Ojodu; Agbado; Mowe; Warewa; Isheri; and indeed all the eight Local Government Areas that share boundaries with Lagos state. In the same vein, Lagos State governor, Mr Jide Sanwo-Olu, recalled the historical emergence of Lagos as a megacity with a population of well over 22 million people and what the state government has done to realise its dream towards expediting action for greater synergy with other states, especially Ogun for sustainable socio-economic development. He, therefore, described the MoU as a “game changer” that will transform the urban agglomeration that Lagos state has attained. While appraising the novel idea of the two state governors, an investment expert cum a broker, Prince Gboyega Isiaka, an ex gubernatorial candidate in the state, patted the duo on the back for the initiative, a development he said would go a long way to address the myriad of problems occasioned by the long years of neglects of the various border communities between the two states. According to him, the birth of the commission would serve as a catalyst to look at those areas, eight local governments, out of the 20 in Ogun State, that share common boundaries with Lagos state, to have easy access to each other, with the provision of good road network, security and physical planning, owing to their contiguous nature. He said: “Apart from funding, the commission can come up with various forms of sourcing to finance these projects, either through the government’s support or, private sector or, approaching Institution development funds or, special funds, or, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)-ecology and habitat-to buy into the development of this sector.
Besides, Ogun State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo, who is Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) to the Governor, underscored the importance of the MoU, as beneficial to foster collaboration in many areas of interest, such physical planning, slum regeneration, environmental challenges; to engender cooperation in revenue and tax management, especially along the border communities; to ensure effective coordination in transport infrastructure development; security collaboration, such as intelligence sharing and exchange; joint venture and partnership in agriculture and food security, given the size of Ogun state’s vast Arabirin land and huge consumer demand in Lagos; industrialisation and cost-effective logistics development; and efficient port logistics can be achieved in collaboration with Lagos state through a coordinated call-up systems where Ogun state provides holding bays/parks for trailers heading to Apaps ports, in order to reduce traffic congestion in Lsgos, owing to significant vehicular movement within Lagos. Invariably, residents of Igbesa/Ijila in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area and Ibaragun, Akute amongst others in Ifo Local Government Area do not have any cause for worry. If and when the commission gets fully on track, it can adequately cater for the swift development of these border communities.
As the saying goes, “To whom much is given, much is expected”. It behoves the inhabitants to be alive to their civic responsibilities of paying their taxes and revenues promptly and regularly. This gesture brings everybody into the tax net, more than ever before. The revenues that are generated from these areas can be used to provide basic needs, and to ensure even spread of development in the border communities.
Ezekiel writes in from Abeokuta, Ogun State.