by Tosin Adesina
Bayo Adeyinka in an open letter expressed his anger at the south west Governors in his recent widely circulated article titled “Dear Southwest Governors, this house has fallen.” He painted the level of decay being experienced in South Western states recently and why the governors have refused to tackle the drift and provide solutions where necessary.
The continuous delay being experienced in executing the Lagos-Ibadan expressway project by successive governments in Nigeria including the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo has brought to fore questions about the functions and the effectiveness of the South West Governors.
In saner climes, the governors would have been at the forefront of those championing the construction of the road through their South Western Govenors forum and their direct access to the Presidency but the Governors of the region seem to be docile in their approach to development.
The decision of Julius Berger and RCC to withdraw from the construction site of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway has shown how non-influential Southwest Governors have become. Their influence has whittled to a level where the Governors cannot mobilize and lobby National Assembly members in their regions to move against the slashing of the fiscal proposal for the Lagos-Ibadan expressway as being done by Northern Governors for their region.
A recent 12-hour journey embarked on from Nassarawa to Adamawa revealed few thing to me. It was the longest I’ve embarked in my life and also the first time of seeing a standard well tarred road in the country. It was revealing to me – from towns to bushes, from villages to hamlets, the trip was on tarred roads compared to what is found in the Southwest where bad roads exist everywhere. The good road network is an example of the unity existing among the Northern Governors and legislators to attract development to their zones as most of the roads are federal roads as attested to by a co-passenger.
The rot in the Southwest has degenerated from failing health care system as found in general hospitals, teaching hospitals to education, infrastructure, tourism and even to agriculture which can all be traced to the poor performance of Southwest Governors.
The federal government itself is culpable in some of these under development but the bulk stops at the table of the Governors for not using their enormous influence to attract development to the region – moreso, that 5 out of 6 of them are members of the ruling APC. They have neglected and failed to champion the course of the development of the region.