ESSENTIAL infrastructures such as transportation and power projects that propel socio-economic development of a nation such as Nigeria are acknowledged to be grossly inadequate, deficient and in some cases outrightly not available to meet the needs of Nigerians. Unfortunately, the rail transport and power projects provision and development, two critical essential infrastructure, have been the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government until recently when laws regulating these critical infrastructures were amended to allow states governments to legislate on them.
THE Electricity and Railway Acts 2023 signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari decentralized the operation of power and rail among others to remove it move from the exclusive list that gave the federal government the preserve to be the only authority handling them. Therefore, the successes recorded with the regional outfit codenamed Amotekun and other regional initiatives as well as the new laws and the spirit of providing leadership in the provision of infrastructure and basic services in the country may have motivated the Southwest States to come together to launch regional railway and electricity projects.
WESTERN States of Ondo, Ekiti, Osun, Oyo, Ogun and Lagos in their characteristic historical pattern or culture of leading in the provision of essential critical infrastructure and basic facilities following the permission to venture into these facilities came together to brainstorm towards fashioning out a template to pull resources together to ensure sustained provision of rail transport and power projects which are in grossly inadequate supply to people in their jurisdictions.
THE agreement between the states to pursue regional power and rail projects to deliver economic and social benefits to their people was reached at a two day conference organized by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria(DAWN) Commission in collaboration with Oodua Investment Company Ltd and hosted by the Ondo state Investments Promotion Agency (ODSIPA).
THEIR collective proactive initiative is not only commendable but of a great delight coming at a time that the people are suffering greatly from their lack of provision and or poor provision of infrastructural facilities and services that make for good living. It is also a good initiative and the right path to tread to promote synergy among the states to facilitate business, free and better movement of people and commodities that have been hampered by poor road network conditions. This will no doubt also promote agricultural investments and disposal of farm products that are often damaged due to poor road and electricity supply. It will galvanize the economy of the region and her people and ultimately provide job opportunities for the millions of unemployed people in the country.
RECALL that some of the states like Ondo and Ekiti do not have rail transport access at all, while their services are epileptic in other states within the region. Also, the attempts of the Lagos State Government under Asiwaju Bola Tinubu,, now president elect was frustrated by the then Federal because as it was only the Federal Government that had the exclusive preserve to provide such then. It is on this note that we wish to commend the federal for removing the obnoxious law preventing the states getting involved in the provision of rail and power supply that which are germane to the welfare and prosperity of the people of the region.
HOWEVER, the commendable cooperative efforts of the governments of Southwest states should not be allowed to fail or filter away because or partisan politics and other divisive tendencies such as party affiliations and struggle for leadership and poor management. Governments of these states and their people must be fully motivated and committed to the success by timeous release of budget funds and other resources required for the projects.
THE citizens of the region and others that would be invited to undertake one role or the other must show sincerity and commitment to ensure the overall success of the projects. The governments must do everything possible to ensure early implementation of the projects for the benefits of their citizens.
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