When I see people discuss restructuring or regional integration in the south west region I just laugh. That sounds like putting a whole bunch of Ghettos together to form one giant messy ghetto.
When I look back at yoruba history. I see greatness. Great men like Obafemi Awolowo, Bola Ige, Lateef Jakande, Abraham Adesanya, Ayo Adebanjo, Bisi Onabanjo etc etc.
Men that I will forever be proud of. These men lived a life of principle. They invested in people and believed in the greatness of the yoruba race.
They did no just say the words, they lived it every single day.
None of these men that I have mentioned is stupendously wealthy. None of them flew in private jets or lived in sprawling mansions. None of them drove around sharing unexplained wealth from bullion Van’s.
None of them elevated thugs and criminals and made them senators and governors.
Instead Obafemi Awolowo could boast of establishing the first TV station in Africa, Liberty Stadium in Ibadan, a housing estate in Ibadan, and industrial complex in Ikeja, free education and healthcare and the Odua group of companies all from a viable cocoa business. Not Oil.
All this was achieved between 1954 and 1959. A five year period.
Some will argue that Awolowo was only able to achieve this because he was premier of the Western region and so this is the reason why they feel that the regional integration or restructuring is the answer to the problem.
May I remind them of the strides of Lateef Jakande in Lagos between 1979 and 1983?
Jakande completed the construction of General Hospitals in Gbagada and Ikorodu and built about 20 health centres within the state. He started a metroline project to facilitate mass transit. The project was halted and his tenure as Governor ended when the military seized power on 31 December 1983.
When one considers that since we returned to democracy in 1999, we have had 20 years of unbroken democracy. TWENTY YEARS!
Many of our SW governors have spent 8 years in office and received much more than Jakande ever did. None of them can point to these types of Legacies. Not a single one.
It took the city of Dubai less than 20 years to become what it is today. So why are Lagos or Abeokuta not like Dubai or Atlanta. Why do we not even have an LGA or even a single Ward that compete with some of the better cities in the world.
Even the so called Banana Island is nothing but a pseudo paradise slum.
Here are the hard facts: South west leaders since 1999 have all failed. Failed woefully. They have failed to show us what this much talked about regional integration will look like by giving us one little city, village or even a street or community that we can use as a proof of concept. This for me must be the starting block for any call for regional integration.
We need a prototype!!!!