Renowned political economist, Professor Pat Utomi at the weekend urged the Federal Government to give priority attention to infrastructural development, saying huge investments in infrastructure is required in the country to revamp the economy.
Utomi said this at the Executive, Legislative retreat organised by the Lagos State government for members of the State Executive Council and lawmakers from the Senate, House of Representatives as well as the House of Assembly.
He added that there were lots of lessons to be learnt from the Lagos economy, that is largely driven by its huge investment in infrastructure, vibrant tax collection strategy and an enabling environment for businessses to thrive with less dependence on oil revenue.
Utomi whose paper dwelt largely on the nation’s economic situation noted that Lagos State is a crucial catalyst if Nigeria’s economy is to witness a turn around for the better.
The academic cited an example of when Comrade Adams Oshiomhole emerged as the Governor of Edo State and alluded to the fact that he needed to learn how Lagos was getting it right and then replicate same in Edo.
“The first thing he (Oshiomhole) did was to say he needed to learn how Lagos was getting it right. And he came over to Lagos with his core team to understudy the Lagos developmental model. We can see how that worked well in Edo,” Utomi said.
He said that several other states have also followed suit in emulating how the tax and IGR template works in Lagos and how the public service is structured in a way that there is good coordination.
According to him, the Lagos example should be prescribed for other states and for Nigeria as a whole, saying the momentum would be good for the country.
While canvassing for the South West States to scale up their economic integration, he said: “This is why I have always advocated for a Lagos-Ibadan megalopolis. Lagos is already a mega city by virtue of its population, but a deliberate economic integration with other South-West states can produce even better results.
“This won’t be a new template. In fact it will be taking us back to the template of the old federal structure in a way, when the three regions had a healthy competitive spirit that brought about development.’’
Also Speaking, Senator representing Lagos East at the Senate, Gbenga Ashafa lauded the Governor for coming up with a platform where the executive and legislature meet to deliberate on issues affecting the people with the view to pull human and material resources together in the interest of the people.
Ashafa, who is the Chairman of Senate Committee on Land Transport, said he had been assured by Governor Ambode that the rail project of Lagos is almost ready, saying that upon completion, the Light Rail would bring serious dividends of democracy to the people, as well as employment, which in turn would hasten Nigeria’s recovery from recession.