Udora Orizu in Abuja
The House of Representatives at the plenary yesterday passed for second reading, a Bill for an Act to establish the South West Development Commission.
The Bill, which spelt out the functions of the commission, provides that the commission shall, “formulate policies and guidelines for the development of the South-west states, conceive, plan and implement, in accordance with the set rules and regulations, projects and programmes for the sustainable development of the South-west states in the fields of transportation, health, education, employment, agriculture, industrialisation, housing and urban development, water supply, electricity, solid mineral exploitation and telecommunications and cause the South-west states to be surveyed in order to ascertain measures which are necessary to promote its physical and socio-economic development.”
The commission is also saddled with the responsibility of execution of such other works and functions, which are required for the sustainable development of the South-west states and its people as well as receive donations and gifts from any legitimate, documented source aimed at the advancement of its set goals, provided such donations shall be reported to the relevant federal authorities.
The Bill, which was sponsored by Hon. Femi Fakeye and 80 other lawmakers, was quickly passed after it received majority support from the lawmakers.
Leading the debate on the Bill, Fakeye said the Bill seeks to legislatively explore how to cure some of the ailments in the South-west, just as has been done and would still probably be done for other political zones.
“The Bill seeks to redirect federal budgetary attention to some areas of growth that could have multiplier effect of geometric proportions, such as agriculture, transportation, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Environment, etc., on the overall economy. Therefore, this aspiration is the rationale for all the honourable members from the six States of the Southwest, along with some of their colleagues who are not even native to any of the South-west states, proposing this historic Bill.”
“By passing this Bill, we would be demonstrating the courage as national leaders to lift a linger towards turning the current sordid socioeconomic fortunes of the zone (and therefore of the country) around, so that our youths could confidently channel their collective energy into productive endeavors that would yield for us a better future, rather than them, out of frustration and misguided desperation, engaging in antisocial practices that tend towards criminality.”
In his contribution in support of the bill, Hon. Shehu Koko from Kebbi State, expressed optimism on the prospect of ensuring the development of Lagos State, which is the commercial nerve centre of the country.
He said that the development of Lagos, which is host to the country’s key ports would surely have a positive impact on the well-being of Nigerians.
Also Hon. Yusuf Buba from Adamawa State described Lagos as a melting pot, which is home to Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic and religious inclinations.
He added that if we develop our commercial nerve centre, it is as good as good as enhancing the revenues into the federation account which would be used to develop other states.
On his part, Hon. Eke Bede Uchenne from Imo State said a development commission for the South-west was an idea whose time has come, adding that there was need to pile pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Bill after going through the National Assembly.