Southwest development bill scales first reading
•Every zone deserves federal attention ― Amosun
A bill, South West Development Commission (SWEDCO) passed first reading on the floor of the Senate at Thursday plenary.
The bill listed as the eleventh bill for Senate consideration was sponsored by the immediate past Ogun State governor and senator representing, Ogun Central, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and 36 other Senators.
A similar bill, South-East Development Commission which was passed by the Eight Senate but failed to receive presidential assent was on Wednesday re-introduced and passed first reading.
It was sponsored by Senator Stella Oduah (PDP, Anambra North).
The South West Development Commission Bill according to Senator Amosun was meant to bring to the fore the huge infrastructure deficit suffered by the southwest region, frustrating the zone from reaching its full potential by ultimately bringing development to the Southwest.
He said: “Clearly it is for the development of our people and our area. If a part of a whole is not well then the whole will not be well. Clearly, every part of Nigeria should feel concerned about the need to develop their place. And if all of us develop our place, of course, we will have a beautiful country that everybody will be proud of.
“If you look at even the population of Nigeria, just look at how many are we from the South West? I am saying this with all sense of responsibility, there is no part of Nigeria that is not important. All of us are.
“Everybody has something that they are bringing on the table but of course you will notice that there is no way the Nigerian Nation can be described without some kind of prominent mention to those from the South West and what we contribute to Nigeria as a nation.
“Look at the contribution of Lagos State alone to Nigeria as a nation. I think there should be some kind of special status but not just for Lagos alone now.
“Of course we are saying whatever happens in Lagos happens in Ogun State. For me, Ogun State is the industrial hub of Nigeria. You know the population that we have and what we are contributing to Nigeria.
“There are some parts of Nigeria that we know – this is not probably by their doing – for example, our people from the North East, everybody, there is no sane person that will not want to support particularly with the destruction that has happened there.
“We don’t want any place to be left behind. But in doing that we should not be oblivious of the fact that we need to continue to develop too and that is why we are bringing this Bill. Indeed we had a meeting and every one of us from the Southwest agreed that it is a good Bill that must quickly be put in place and that is why this morning it was read for the first time.
“I know that anywhere in the South West, if it is good in Lagos, Ekiti or in Osun, I will be happy and I am sure that there is no way it will be good in those places that it will not be okay for us in Ogun State. ”
He said the quest for the Commission by the region was by no means a mere request for a similar institution from another region to be located in the South West but to drive infrastructure development with some special attention especially as it will impact the region.
“This is not because similar agencies have been created in the North East or South-South, everybody should look out for how they can improve the well-being of our people.”