Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land, Dr Gani Adams has lauded the initiators of the First Southwest Stakeholders Education and Economic development Summit held in Abeokuta on Tuesday, just as he canvassed the summit be rotated around southwest states as hosts.
The summit held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Hall , Abeokuta with Dr Christopher Kolade as the chairman.
Fielding questions from newsmen at the event ,Adams while thanking the Southwest Patriots Movement (SPM) with Awolowo Foundation and other surpoting groups for the initiative , registered his support for the position of speakers at the event that meaningful development could be recorded in the southwest's educational and economic sectors only if its able to secure regional autonomy.
Advocating for the summit to be taken round the southwest states to Sensitise the people of the region on the benefit of the region's autonomy and what would be it's effect on the development of the lives of the people, Gani said the revelations of Chief Afe Babalola and Dr Tokunboh Awolowo Dosumu on the progress recorded under Chief Obafemi Awolowo as the Premier of Western Region are enough reasons for the Southwest to seek a reversal to the good and more rewarding era of regionalism.
According to him,there is no doubt that the Southwest needs cohesion to enable it develop educationally and economically. He said there is also an urgent need to put in place , arrangements that will also make the region blossom in other sectors beyond the one in focus at the summit.
Insisting on the importance of the unity of the southwest to enable cohesion, Adams said the education and economic development of the southwest depend more on the unity of its people.
" We must come together first as a people, the region must come first, and we must have unity of purpose beyond politics, an economic base that we can all be proud of, regardless of our differences"
He said whatever development envisaged in the area of Education and economy is dependent on the policies of the federal government, adding that the current economic crisis confronting many governments in the country is creating severe conflicts in educational sector of many states.
This , he said is a great challenge and the more reason "we must get the economy right so that the education sector can be what it should be. Chief Obafemi Awolowo he said ,continue to be relevant in the country today because of his achievements in the area of education among others, when he was the Premier western Region.
"Apparently, he was able to record those achievements because the government could use its policies as a region to control the economy to accommodate its educational budget.
"This is why it is important we run a regional government. I continue to wonder how possible it will be for the Southwest to drive the kind of education that suits it when it doesn't have control of the economic policies the nation operates on.
"Our inability to get the southwest to get its own region under a restructured Nigeria will mean that we will continue to groan under the current system and tag along with the pace the federal system can afford for our economic and educational development."
Speaking further, he said "because of the premium we place on education in the southwest, i don't see for instance, a wholly Southwest region government , cutting budget on education because of economic downturn".
This he concluded, is one of the reasons he believes, the economic and education development in the Southwest has a lot to do with it running its own budget and policies under a regional government.