For some years now, our National Assembly has done little or nothing to resolutely address both the economic and political woes betiding our dear Nation, Nigeria.
However, things seem to be taking another form; by the look of thing today, Nigeria might have started her journey to both economic prosperity and political tranquility.
While Government is daily running helter-skelter to encourage foreign investors with a view to boosting our economy, the ultimate question is to what extent has the Government catalyzed local participation in the development of our God given resources for our collective comfort ?
Politically, we were all living witnesses to the forces of secession that almost brought Nigeria to the brink of dismemberment just before the last general election as the cacophony for Nations rent the air in every corner.
The multi-dollar question is: What is the incumbent Government really doing to address this awful spate or do we just pretend all is well and continue as usual? Kanu and Igboho may be in solitary confinement today but is that enough assurance for our political tranquility?
These two cogent factors are the main reason why His Excellency, distinguished Senator, Otunba Gbenga Daniel must be highly commended for his foresight and forthrightness in moving the motion for the South West Development Commission.
Till today, while we conventionally recognized six geographical zones; only two of the six zones have a Development Commission that can have the helicopter view of their political and economic problems and proffer solutions. The two are the South-South zone and the North-East zone.
The question that readily comes to mind is: What is confronting these two zones that is not confronting other zones in the Country? What is their peculiarity that will not have its ripple effect in other parts of the Country?
The justification for Development Commission in any part of the Nation is the justification for the Commission in other part of the Country. Nigeria is a system where whatever affects a part affects the entirety.
Come to think of it, if the Commission is truly for development as its name connotes which of the zones does not deserve that? I mean which zone is too comfortable for development?
It can only be topsy-tovy of any Government to think that only particular zones in the Country are due for development egal the circumstances; even the most developed Nations of the World have not relented on their oars, development is a daily and continuous process.
How can a development Commission really spur true development? There is wisdom in that saying that many hands make work lighter and that is the major advantage of any development Commission.
Truth is that the decimation of our region into unviable States has to large extent retarded and crippled our development, so much that today we relish the nostalgia of the good old days of the Western Region. We look in retrospect and pride ourselves as the first in everything, not only in Nigeria but in the entire Continent.
This is what a unified commission like South West Development Commission can rejuvenate; a viable South West drawing strength from a monolithic zonal Development Commission . The fact is that so many things are lying idle and unattended to because of the slenderness of the State resources.
Ever since the Government of Otunba Gbenga Daniel in Ogun State, the Gateway State has been identified as oil rich State but what has genuinely come out of the oil? Lagos as well. Ondo’s bitumen is also suffering the same fate, Osun’s gold and many more.
The problem is that States lack the financial capacity to transform their natural resources to economic benefits; this however can be put to check if States could come together to jointly develop the resources within their jurisdiction.
Same situation prevails in South East. Whereas developed Nations like USA, Australia, Russia etc are still living on coal till tomorrow; the same resource is lying untapped in Enugu ever since the civil war in the Country despite the Federal Government lip service to the reactivation of coal exportation. No doubt, a South East Development Commission will do better in this regard.
What about iron ore in Jos Plateau? Gold in Zamfara, Uranium in Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue and many more? These are what individual State can not single handedly economically transform that a joint development commission can bring to financial prosperity at ease.
Government and news media will go gaga for any foreign investment of 100 billion Naira in any of the the six geographical zones but the Federal Government five billion Naira promise to each State will amount to 30 billion Naira in South West.
What has come out of this huge amount of money except bags of rice allotting to the people in cups? Imagine such amount in the purse of a development commission, additional subvention from member States would have brought out the investment we often look for from the foreign investors. What is Federal Government doing in this regard?
I need not write epistle, I need not be sophisticated; with the memory of Western Region with us, even with my amateurish analysis you already understood my position.
Aside from the economic gain, bringing zonal States together under a Development Commission will whittle down the urge and demand for self determination as States in any zone can collectively impact on their people meaningful development. A true Development Commission may not be a full fledged Region; atleast, a quasi framework and platform for quick transformation.
This why l am happy and commend Otunba Justus Gbenga Daniel for moving the motion for the South West Development Commission. We must be able to work positively and cleverly within the ambit of law without necessarily committing any treasonable offence. One Nigeria, six Development Commissions is highly commendable; simply the way to go.
Prince Taiwo Nodiru
Ago-Iwoye Ijebu, Ogun State.