Governors’ Forum: Faction Cannot Derail Mission – Govenor Fashola

Governor FasholaGovernor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on Friday said that the existence of factions in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum cannot stop the group from achieving the core purpose for which it was established – peer review.

Fashola said this while on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

The Governor, who was hosting the Nigeria Governors’ Forum Retreat identified peer review as the substance of the institution. “Peer review is note-sharing, idea-sharing, inspiration, healthy competition building, healthy rivalry; and underlying all of that is the reason why the retreat itself was designed as a mobile retreat. It moves from state to state depending on the convenience at the time to host,” he said.

Admitting that “The factionalisation of the forum as it were is unfortunate”, he stated that the goals of the forum could still be achieved despite the fact that another faction of the Forum exists.

Fashola, howver, further expressed fears on the kind of Forum the present governors would hand over when their terms are over. He disclosed that they were in touch with the aggrieved persons as “we have also personal relationships with one another.”

“We are still in contact with one another even if we disagree on fundamental principles. It hasn’t in any way affected personal relationships, at least not as far as I am concerned.”

Asked if the governors task themselves on their fight against corruption within each state, Fashola said “Each Governor is independent” and so governors cannot question their colleagues on issues but “there are ways you speak to each other.”

He stressed that there are exchange programmes between states towards development and information sharing but that many of these initiatives were not publicised.

“I sent a team from my state to Rivers to go and understudy their primary and secondary school system because when I went there, I saw what I liked.”

On efforts being made by his administration to increase Lagos State’s potential in agriculture, the Governor stressed that Lagos was the smallest land mass in the country but the most densely populated. “We are a quarter of the size of Ogun, for instance.”

“If you want to do agriculture in terms of cropping, it has to be on some very extensive mechanized scale in order to build sufficiency” he said, but maintained that “that has not limited our venture into some type of relative sufficiency and we are targeting 30% self-sufficiency in case there was a crisis.”

He further stated that the land in Lagos was much more valuable for real estate than for agriculture, mentioning that the State was acquiring land in Ogun, Osun, Ekiti states. “We also have farmland of about 50 hectares in Abuja which we have started processing for farming.”

He added, “There are also moves by the State to acquire lands in some Northern states to help encourage local economies as well as small and medium scale farming.”