Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday said there is urgent need for regional economic integration of the Southwest.
He spoke in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, at the annual Ojude-Oba Carnival, hosted by the paramount ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona.
The ACN National Leader said the regional integration is critical to the survival of the region under the lopsided federal arrangement.
He paid tribute to Oba Adetona, whom he described as a honest, steadfast, committed and patriotic ruler, recalling his support for the pro-democracy crusaders agitating for the restoration of civil rule during the military era.
Urging other traditional rulers to emulate the Awujale, Tinubu said the monarch has not been in the league of traditional rulers playing bread-and-butter politics.
At the ceremony, which was witnessed by Governors Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Dr Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Chief Rauf Aregbesola (Osun); Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu; and Obi of Onitsha, Offala Okagbue.
Oba Adetona called for the creation of Ijebu State from the present Ogun State, urging the people to remain united and peaceful to enable the area make further progress.
Noting that the Southwest is marginalised, Tinubu, who was the guest of honour, opposed the mainstream politics canvassed by the conservative bloc in Yorubaland. He noted that the region could take its destiny in its hand.
Tinubu said: “Yoruba must come together as a united nation and be the symbol of development. We must build our regional economy. Nobody will give us any handouts. There is a gap between poverty and wealth. Our graduate youths are unemployed. The cost of living is no more bearable.”
To achieve the goal of integration, Tinubu urged the people of the Southwest to shun the antics of the Peopled Democratic party (PDP) and cooperate with the ACN governors, whom he described as the symbol of new hope and progress.
He said: “Yoruba is not lazy. We can make it. We need encouragement so that our Moses will not return to Egypt after crossing the Red Sea.”
The ACN leader congratulated Amosun, who was attending the carnival for the first time as governor, assuring the residents that he would take the state to greater heights.
Tinubu stormed the Ojude Oba arena, a mini-stadium opposite the Awujale’s palace at 9am. He was received by ACN faithful, led by the Lagos State Deputy Chairman, Alhaji Abiodun Sunmola, an Ijebu indigene.
Tinubu was accompanied by Chief Pius Akinyelure; Alhaji Afolabi Salami; Lagos State Assembly Speaker Yemi Ikuforiji; Commissioners for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs Ademorin Kuye; his Housing and Information counterparts – Bosun Jeje and Lateef Ibirogba; Ojuwoye council chairman, Yemi Ali; his Amuwo and Ojokoro counterparts – Ayodele Adewale and Benjamin Olabinjo; Tunde Braimoh; Bayo Osinnowo; Dele Alake; and Toyin Hamzat.
Other dignitaries at the festival were Ogun State Deputy Governor Segun Adesegun, former Ogun State governor, Aremo Segun Osoba, Senator Olabiyi Durojaye, Ounba Subomi Balogun, Alhaji Rasak Okoya, Mrs. Sherifat Aregbesola, Prof. Adebayo Adedeji, Senator Gbenga Kaka, Chief Osca Ibru, Olorogun Sunny Kuku, Justice Oguntade (rtd), Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Judge of Ogun State Justice Tokunbo Olopade, Head of Service Mrs Iyabo Yusuf, Commissioner of Police Nicholas Nkideme, Chief Alex Duduyemi, Chief Bisi Rodipe, Hon. Lanre Oduote, Hon. Ipoola Omisore, Hon. Ade Famurewa, Mrs Modupe Oguntade, Adetola Hassan, Mrs Sina Williams and Mrs. Tade Okoya, among others.The Nation