Lagos State Government on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ogun Government in setting up Lagos-Ogun Joint Development Commission.
Speaking at the ceremony held at the Presidential Lodge, Abeokuta, Lagos State Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the establishment of the commission would ensure collaborative development between the two states.
Sanwo-Olu said that the emergence of Lagos as a megacity reaffirmed the need for greater synergy with other states, especially immediate neighbours, for sustainable socio-economic development.
He said that such collaboration would harness the continued growth of the cities and the co-creation of value that would encompass good governance and urban regeneration.
According to him, the MoU is a game-changer that will transform the urban agglomeration that Lagos State has become.
”We are driven by the desire to stimulate socio-economic growth, bridge development gaps and ensure that Lagos State mega city status is complemented by pervasive infrastructure development even in boundary towns.
“The MoU precedes the joint development commission that will be established to mutually tackle some of the issues prevalent in key economic sectors such as transportation, environment, housing, health, infrastructure and security.
“Regardless of the challenges, we are determined to build more livable and stable cities.
“Our goal is to build sustainable urban cities, where residents of Lagos and Ogun states have a sense of belonging, embrace participatory governance and recognise their roles in achieving solid urban economies in both states.
“In light of current global practices in managing megacities, it has become obvious that the best way to accelerate socio-economic development in Lagos and Ogun states is by embracing a more collaborative approach for growth, development, and urban sustainability,” he said.
The governor said that the MoU was a sustainable development agenda under which Lagos and Ogun states would combine resources to meet present socio-economic needs and prepare for the future.
“We have nothing to lose but a lot to gain by synergising efforts with Ogun State in the areas of infrastructure development (development of boundary town roads, waterworks, mass transportation) as well as revenue and taxation (including PAYE remittances and boundary town revenue management and collection),” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that other areas encapsulated in the MoU included trade and investment, resolution of boundary disputes, and security (including intelligence sharing and gathering).
The areas also include environmental and physical planning activities (including urban renewal, emergency and disaster management, inland waterways management and traffic management) and agriculture/food security.
He said that the next step would be to establish a joint committee that would implement the terms of the MoU until the states would formally establish a joint development commission with the approval of the Houses of Assembly of both states.
Sanwo-Olu called for greater collaboration among the 36 states of the federation so as to foster development in the country.
In his remarks, Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, described the establishment of the commission as a deliberate effort of two forward-thinking governors.
Abiodun said that the collaboration was a success story because it was the first time that there would be a formal, structured framework of bilateral engagement by the two states, that would have legislative backing
”It is undeniable that we share historical and cultural affinities, and long before now, successive administrations have mouthed and attempted to have some omnibus or spatial arrangement to have Lagos and Ogun states to work together.
”But, again, never had there been a time that this was encoded or a law-backed structure, institutional arrangement; human and funding resource requirements formalised to actualise what and what remains the right way to uplift our people and improve their prosperity.
“So, what we are signing today is a historic memorandum of understanding that takes cognizance of what had been envisioned, leading to the establishment of the Prof. Akin Mabogunje’s Committee on Redeployment of Lagos Megacity Region Plan in 2005-6,” he said.
Gov. Abiodun said that before now, he and Sanwo-Olu had jointly formally written to President Muhammadu Buhari to release the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta and the Ikorodu-Sagamu roads for Lagos and Ogun states to jointly reconstruct.
He said that another manifestation of their working together was the Adiyan Water Works that, though, was in Ogun State supplied water to the people of Lagos State and would also be supplying water to Ogun State.
“One thing is clear: people do not care who and who is to execute a project just as there are no federal people, state people nor local government people.
“What matters to the people is to get the job done. The two states are, therefore, important stakeholders in this development agenda.
“If we jointly do this, there will be a development which will continue to increase employment generation, poverty alleviation and food security.
“The official launch of this commission today will further initiate and accelerate more projects necessary to aid ease of movement of our people, goods and services as well as increase industrialisation along with all our border communities and ensure wholesome development of our dear states.
“Therefore, I call on the private sector to support and collaborate with governments in the success story of the Lagos-Ogun Joint Development Commission,” Abiodun said.