By Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his Ogun State counterpart, Governor Dapo Abiodun have, signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) and inaugurated a commission to fast-track development in the borderline of the two states.
The signing of MoU by two governors for the purpose and inauguration of the commission was done at an elaborate event held at the Presidential Lodge, Ogun State.
The event was also attended by top government functionaries from the two states, traditional rulers and All Progressive Congress (APC) chieftains.
The commission is saddled with the responsibility of seeing to the development of infrastructure in border towns between the two states.
According to Sanwo-Olu, the megacity status of Lagos State necessitated the need for synergy between Lagos and neighbouring Ogun in the area of development.
According to him, ‘Lagos, as a megacity with a population of over 22 million people reaffirms the need for greater synergy with other states especially our immediate neighbors for sustainable socio economic development.
‘Our commitment to ensuring that Lagos becomes a 21st century economy makes it imperative for us to strategically collaborate with our closest neighbor, Ogun State, for the joint development of our states, the continued growth of our cities and the co-creation of value that encompasses good governance and urban regeneration,’ Sanwo-Olu said.
The governor described the MOU as ‘a game changer that will transform the urban agglomeration that Lagos State has become.
‘We are driven by the desire to stimulate socio-economic growth, bridge development gaps and ensure that Lagos State’s megacity status is complemented by pervasive infrastructural development even in boundary towns.
The MoU precedes the joint development commission that will be established to mutually tackle some of the issues prevalent in key economic sectors like: transportation, the environment, housing, health, infrastructure, among others.
As a way of realising the objectives of the commission, Sanwo-Olu said ‘the two states will combine resources to develop border towns as well as ensure security of the two states.
In his address, Abiodun stated: ‘Indeed, I congratulate all of us that are witnesses to the full operationalization of this joint success story of the Lagos-Ogun Joint Development Commission that we are inaugurating today, this is the obvious resolve and the deliberate and methodical efforts of two forward thinking Governors.
‘I called this bilateral event a success story because whereas in the past, there might have been some initiatives between our two States but this is the first time that we will have a formal, structured framework of bilateral engagement that will be legislative backed.
‘Yes, it is undeniable that we share historical and cultural affinities and long before now, successive administrations have mouthed and attempted to have some omnibus or spatial arrangement to have Lagos and Ogun States to work together.
‘But, again, never had there been a time that this was concertized or encoded nor a law-backed structure, institutional arrangement; human and funding resource requirements formalized to actualize what and remains the right way to uplift our people improve their prosperity.
‘So, what we are signing today, is a historic Memorandum of Understanding 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 in 2005-6.
‘Between the two of us – my brother governor and I – it is a mission accomplished and 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.
‘All these development imperatives have to be streamlined for us to be serious and focused. Law is not just a mere tool for development, this Joint Development Commission will function better to sustain these common goals and there is no better time than now to deepen not only the relationship between our two states but within any contiguous states in the country.
‘What is more, this MoU we are signing is a culmination of various efforts by state and non-state actors who have seen beyond the geographical delineation of our states. Already a number of state-owned institutions like the Nigeria Police, Nigerian Customs Service and others have always recognized the twin or Siamese relationship between our two Ssates and have always grouped Lagos and Ogun as one zone under their respective high commands.
‘We are cognisant of the fact that Ogun State is the only neighbour that Lagos has and that we are a natural overflow of Lagos. There is no how development in Lagos would not have a spiral effect or vice versa.
‘Ogun and Lagos States are like two rivers flowing onto each other. It is very difficult to identify which of the rivers is actually flowing onto the other. That is, at our various border communities, there is no actual way of separating the peoples living in the two states of Lagos and Ogun.
‘Whichever way we look at it, Ogun State has a larger percentage of the population over-spill into Lagos State as witnessed in many of our border communities in Ota; Akute Alagboole; Lambe; Ojodu; Agbado; Mowe; Warewa; Isheri and indeed all the eight Local Government Areas that share boundaries with Lagos State.
‘In actual fact, what concerns our people, particularly from the two States, is to make a living and increase their individual prosperity.This MoU is therefore a manifestation of the common dream that the Nation’s largest economy and the nation’s industrial capital are forging because both are deliberate, focused and methodical to governance.
‘Again, I must thank my brother governor, His Excellency Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his own cooperation, enthusiasm and support for this initiative.
‘Before now, together, we had jointly written, formally to President Muhammadu Buhari to release the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta and the Ikorodu-Sagamu Roads for us to jointly reconstruct. Another manifestation of our working together is the Adiyan Water Works that, though, is in Ogun State, supplying water to the people of Lagos State. And will also be supplying water to Ogun State.’