Femi Makinde, Osogbo
The South West Governors’ Forum has tasked the Federal Government to create a railway line from Apapa for transportation of goods from the ports in order to ease the permanent gridlock on the roads in the area.
The governors of the six states in the region said this in a communiqué read at the end of a meeting they held at the Osun State Government House in Osogbo on Monday.
The forum’s meeting which was organised by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria Commission, was attended by Osun State Governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola; his deputy, Mrs. Grace Titi-Laoye Tomori and the Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Idiat Adegbule.
Also in attendance were the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Moses Adeyemo and the Secretary to the Ekiti State Government, Mr Abiodun Oyebamiji while the Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu ( SAN) and Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun were absent.
The governors expressed concern at the devastating effects of the traffic jam in Apapa on the economy of the region and Nigeria as a whole, stressing that the Federal Government needed to also create an alternative road from Apapa to Ibafo in Ogun State to end the nightmare motorists and commuters face daily on the important road.
They said Apapa Port was very key to the nation’s economy and therefore required an urgent intervention in order to decongest the road leading to this very important area.
The communique read, “Nigeria Railway Corporation should be used as an alternative and the Federal Government should increase the capacity of the NRC to support decongestion in Apapa.”
The governors also said states in the South West should come together for regional security arrangements and to tackle educational issues in the region.
They also charged the Oodua Investment Company to champion the food security in the region, saying the region should not be dependent on food imported from outside because there was a large expanse of arable land which could support agricultural production.
Aregbesola had while addressing the session said the Lagos State government already had the design of the alternative road from Apapa to Ibafo, saying the Federal Government should work with the state government to revive the project.
He also called for a total overhauling of Nigeria’s constitution to enhance regional development and remove inhibitions militating against economic and investment drives of the region.
Aregbesola renewed his call for the restructuring of Nigeria, saying that he believed in the federal system of government to accelerate the development of each region.
The Oyo State deputy governor said, “Western Region must come back to the old region which was the first among other regions. We can hinge on agriculture, make use of the land in the absence of oil for the development of our region.
“We are gathered here to deliberate on how to move our region forward. We must go back to the era when the South-West was the first in everything.”