Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, on Thursday described his counterpart in Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, as the Governor General of Nigeria, saying the position of Lagos as the economic nerve center of the country and the brilliant performance of the Governor in office could not be downplayed in any form.
Speaking while receiving Governor Ambode on a courtesy visit at Government House in Oke-Fia Osogbo, Mr. Aregbesola said considering the fact that the economy of Lagos was the summation of economies of thirty States in Nigeria, one would be denying the obvious not to recognize the vantage position of the State and its Governor in the scheme of affairs in the country.
“I recognize the Governor of Lagos State who by my own assessment is the Governor General of Nigeria. I say so for a very good reason. It is not a question of the age of the occupant of that office or his tenure. It is simply an attestation to the fact that the economy of Lagos is the summation of the economies of thirty States in Nigeria. One will be deceiving himself not to recognize that fact,” Habib Aruna, the chief press secretary to Governor Ambode quoted Mr. Aregbesola as saying.
While recalling similar visit to former Governor of Osun State, Bisi Akande, by the then Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Mr. Aregbesola described Governor Ambode’s visit as historic and apt coming at a time when the State lost some illustrious indigenes and in the wake of Democratic assault which he recently suffered, saying he had been greatly encouraged, motivated and given calm disposition by the visit.
He particularly commended Governor Ambode for his clear expression of commitment to economic integration and development of the south west, saying beyond rhetorics, concrete steps must now be taken to actualize the vision in the overall interest and benefit of the people.
He said it would be disastrous for any State in the region to assume it can make any meaningful progress without integration, adding that it is in the interest of all the six states in the region to work together.
“The only state with the clout and the muzzle to shun collaboration and integration superficially is Lagos and that too will be to its eternal regret because if the adjoining states to Lagos are underdeveloped, the consequence on Lagos is tragic. If it requires trekking from any part of the region to get to Lagos, people will do it and Lagos will have a huge number of internally displaced people who you cannot send away because they speak the same language with you anyway.
“Even going national, there is no tribe or section of the country that is not properly represented in Lagos. So, if people come from as far North as Biu to Lagos, what more of Ikole, Ipetumodu and Arigidi. People will move and Lagos will have an unending challenge of at least catering for their municipal needs. So, it is in the interest of Lagos as it is in the interest of other states to pursue with vigor this clamor for effective integration of not only our economy but our political, social, commercial and educational relationship, among others,” Mr. Aregbesola said.