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By Olufemi Adediran, Abeokuta

The six states of the South-West geo-political zone on Monday began a four-day conference in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital to facilitate development in the region.

The conference, aimed at bringing innovation to governance with the theme: “Innovative Governance and Effective Service Delivery” attracted participants from all the South West States of Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ondo Ekiti and Ogun. Ogun is the host State.

The conference was organised by “Dawn Commission”, an agency whose core mission is to strengthen the governance process as a fundamental requirement for effective public service delivery across the region in partnership with Department for International Development (DFID) and PERL.

Some of the objectives of the conference, include to set governance framework in the affected States and also present game-changing State level innovations and reforms for improved governance.

All those who spoke at the opening ceremony of the conference agreed that it had become inevitable for the region to put in place a roadmap for accelerated development and regional integration.

They also challenged the States to invest heavily in capacity building of their personnel, insisting that such gesture should cut across political divide. They again called for consistency in policies by all the affected States.

Some of the Speakers were, Chief Executive Officer of Proshare Nigeria Limited, Dr. Olufemi Awoyemi, Dr. Dayo Adelogu, Ogun State Commissioner for Urban and Regional Planning, Mrs. Ronke Sokefun, Rev. Patrick Ngoye and Mrs Olubunmi Fadairo.

The keynote Speaker and Chief Executive Officer of the Proshare Nigeria Limited, Mr. Olufemi Awoyemi said Nigeria lacked innovations that would foster it’s development, saying the country must ensure its citizens had the economic as well as human right.

He insisted that for Nigeria to move forward, it must separate good innovations from routine governance whereby “successive government dropped good innovations by their predecessors”.

Awoyemi said Nigeria committed the greatest error by declaring itself giant of Africa, saying the country had the biggest population in the continent but regrettably had failed to plan for the population’s future.

He explained that though the country could boast of abundant resources “it is still being driven by the unskilled labour”.

“The greatest error Nigeria has made is to declare itself as the giant of Africa, we are giant in emptiness, how many of the population live under one dollar per day. We have to think about development and our tomorrow. We have to invest for the future of this country”

Declaring the event opened, the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, stated that the programme had offered another opportunity for the affected states to give a new direction to the socio-economic development, by harnessing and putting together the “Strengths and comparative advantages of the States for collective development of the South West region”.

The Governor said the entire region shared a long history that cut across spheres of culture, including language and religion hence it made it easier for integration and therefore the affected States should take advantage of it.

According to him, “Providence has been so good to us that the entire region belongs to the O’ odua family, this means that we share a long history of relationship that cuts across spheres of culture which amongst others include language and religion. A geographical contiguity also makes it easier, this allows for easier cooperation. We should, therefore, take advantage of all these opportunities to create a united front to drive the process of the development of the region”

Amosun who was represented by his Deputy, Mrs Yetunde Onanuga said, “But, in all of this the Public Service has a vital role to play, it is about the only ever-living institution in governance, the Executive will come and go but the Public Service remains. It even survived the military rule. The Heads of Service as the leaders have the pivotal role in this regard. I therefore, charge all our Heads of Service to provide the needed leadership for their State Public Service”

“I enjoined you (participants) to use the opportunity of the DAWN Project to cross-fertilize ideas on areas of professionalism, efficiency, commitment, training, discipline and other positive attitudes that will oil the machine of the Public Service for effective synergy and collaboration “

The Governor gave firm assurance that his administration would pursue all policies and programmes that would engender a better life for the people.

His words: “We remain unwaveringly to the successful implementation of our Mission to Rebuild Ogun State”.

Another Speaker at the event, Dr. Dayo Adelogu disclosed that South West must have a Governance standard that they must strictly follow in their developmental efforts.

He added that the South West must have new innovations, framework and benchmark, saying, “there must be fundamental shift that will support all the new innovations in the region”.

Adelogu enjoined the South West States to come up with innovations that would be operational visible, saying not all innovations are operational.

He however urged the Executive and the legislature to partner in bringing out a legal framework that would help the region, saying political leaders must pay attention to new innovations that would help the region.

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