By Folasade Adeniran
Lagos and Kano States continue today the exploration of possible economic collaboration between them at a summit holding in Epe, west of Lagos.
The summit has the theme: ” States Partnership as a Tool for Sustainable Economic Development.”
At the opening yesterday, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said that the Federal Government would continue to encourage partnership among states for their development.
Osinbajo said that the Federal Government would not undermine the economy of any state, adding that the era of doing so was over.
“On our own part, the Federal Government will support the efforts of all state governments to reform their economies, to attract investment and to collaborate with one another.
“The days where the Federal Government will sit to undermine governors and their administrations are now behind us,” he said.
He said that the state governments could attest to the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari was deeply committed to helping every state achieve its full economic potential.
“As a government, we have been careful not to hold back information from the states, because we realised that development can only happen in an atmosphere of trust and collaboration,” Osinbajo said.
The Vice-President noted that if the nation’s economy must be reviewed, there was need for states to leverage and synergise on their comparative advantages to improve their economy.
“This development will as well rub on the nation’s economy and in the overall benefit of the citizenry,” he said.
He commended both state governments for the initiative, saying that it was in line with the federal government’s economic recovery growth plan.
He said that the Federal Government would pay serious attention to the outcome of the summit to help guide and direct its engagement with the two states.
Osinbajo said that going by the current and projected rate of urbanisation, cities, not countries would propel the economy of the future.
“Cities around the world existed longer than the countries to which they belong.
“Lagos and Kano are as much cities as they are states. Long before Nigeria existed, both cities existed as important regional centres of trade and commerce,” he said.
He said that the summit would provide the opportunity for both states to accept themselves economically.
Osinbajo said it would also give room for them to see rapidly emerging opportunities, as well as ride the ways of investments and innovation to become truly globally competitive, and to show the way to other states.
In his remarks, Gov. Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State called for more inter-regional trade and cooperation among states.
According to Ambode, Nigeria should start thinking ahead, because the country’s economy still remains dependent on oil.
He said that Lagos State would partner Kano State in areas of transport infrastructure, road, rail lines, education, market development, security, among others.
His Kano state counterpart, Alhaji Umar Ganduje, who listed several similarities between his state and Lagos, was optimistic that the summit would generate perspectives that would lead to future prosperity for the two states.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi, Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos, Gov. Abubarkar Bagudu of Kebbi State, were among dignataries at the summit.