By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos—Professor Pat Utomi has said that Lagos State is a crucial catalyst if Nigeria’s economy is to witness a turn-around for the better, even as he urged the South-West states to scale up their economic integration.
This came just as Senator Gbenga Ashafa (APC Lagos East) commended Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration for coming up with a platform where the executive and legislature meet to deliberate on issues affecting the people with the view to pull human and material resources together in the interest of the people.
The duo spoke at the weekend during the just concluded Executive/Legislative retreat for members of the state Executive Council and lawmakers from the Senate, House of Representatives as well as the House of Assembly.
Utomi, in his address, said there were a lot of lessons to be learnt from the Lagos economy, which according to him, is largely driven by its huge investment in infrastructure, vibrant tax collection strategy and an enabling environment for businesses to thrive with less dependence on oil revenue.
In his paper, he cited an example of when Comrade Adams Oshiomhole emerged as the Governor of Edo State, saying, “The first thing Oshiomhole did was to say he needed to learn how Lagos was getting it right. And he came over to Lagos with his team to study the Lagos developmental model. We can see how that worked well in Edo.”
Utomi added that several other states have also followed suit in emulating how the tax and Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, template works in Lagos and how the public service is structured in a way that there is good coordination.
He said the Lagos example should be prescribed for other states and for Nigeria as a whole, because according to him, the momentum would be good for the country, just as he canvassed for the South West states to scale up economic integration.
“This is why I have always advocated for a Lagos-Ibadan megalopolis. Lagos is already a mega city by virtue of its population, but a deliberate economic integration with other South-West states can produce even better results.
Ashafa hails Ambode
Ashafa, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, said he had been assured by the governor that the rail project in Lagos is almost ready, saying that upon completion, it would bring serious dividends of democracy to the people, and employment, which in turn, would hasten Nigeria’s recovery from recession.
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By Olasunkanmi Akoni