The Beauty In Regionalism By Eric Teniola


Chief E.M.R. Okorodudu was the first Agent General of Western Nigeria in the United Kingdom. Like every Agent General his work covered the whole of Europe. He later became a Commissioner in the Federal Civil Commission between 1968 and 1974 along with Alhaji Sule Katagum(Chairman), Sir Samuel Layinka Ayodeji Manuwa, Alhaji Yusuf Jega and Dr. L.O. Uwechia.

He replaced his friend, Chief Arthur Prest who had served in the Commission since 1960. Chief Okorodudu was succeeded as Agent General by Chief Emmanuel Akinbowale Olasumbo Akintoye Coker (SAN) (1925-2000), the late Apena of Egbaland. Chief Coker was succeeded as Agent General by Prince Delphus Adebayo Odubanjo.

The first Agent General of Northern Nigeria was Alhaji Saadu Ayinla Alanamu alias GBOGBO IWE. Along with Sir Ahmadu Bello, Alhaji Makama Bida and Alhaji Shehu Sarkin, he attended the constitution conference in London on July 7 1953. He was later turbaned as the Waziri of Ilorin (Prime Minister) in November 1979. Alhaji Alanamu was succeeded by Alhaji Baba Gana.

The first agent General for eastern Nigeria was Chief Jonah Chinyere Achara who was a classmate of Dr. Clement Isong at the Methodist College, Uzokali. He was succeeded by Mr. Akpan Ekukinam Bassey from Afah Ikot Abak near Ikot- Ekpene in the present Akwa-Ibom state. He was later made a Judge of the Federal Revenue Court on July 12, 1976.

On October 7, 1977, the Federal Government set up another three-man tribunal to try those involved in foreign exchange racket. The three-man panel was headed by Justice Ekukinam Bassey. Other members of the panel were Group Captain G. A. Esho, of the Air Force and Mr. Mamman Ali Makele of the University of Lagos.

Mr. Justice Ekukinam Bassey died on duty on June 26 1986.
Agents General were like ambassadors for their respective countries and they were to promote tourism and investments for their countries. In addition they were to serve as trade ministers for their regions. They also acted as liaison officers for the regional marketing boards helping to stabilize prices of goods and commodities.

This was during the era of cocoa, groundnut and palm kernel boom. The regions were prudent in the management of their resources and they struggled very hard to get revenue to survive.

On Friday January 28 1966, the then Head of State, Major General Johnson Thomas Umunakwe Aguiyi Ironsi told the nation at a press conference that “ I have abolished the offices of Agent General in London”.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo as Premier of the Western Region noticed that money could be made through cinemas and theatres. So his government formed a company with some Lebanese business men to establish cinema houses in Lagos and some part of the region.

The company later became a subsidiary of Wemabod Estates Limited in 1975 and via the directive of the then Military Governor of the Western Region, Brigadier General Oluwole Rotimi, the shares of the company were transferred to Wemabod Estates Limited. The assets included leasehold, lands and buildings were later sold to Wemabod Estates Limited at mutually agreed prices.

The company as of today has resorted to conversion of the existing structures to shops and halls, while the available lands are being allocated to individuals to put up shops, makeshift kiosks and containers among others. At present the Odua Investment Company headed by Mr. Wale Raji is taking a comprehensive schedule of letting out the properties of the companies to tenants.

The remaining functional Cinema Houses are Casino Cinema on Herbert Macaulay Street, Yaba, Lagos, Corona Cinema, Ita Faji Lagos, Queen Cinema, Ekotedo, Ibadan and Rex Cinema Tewogboye Street, Ondo. Also as Premier of Western Region, Chief Awolowo with his then Minister of Agriculture, Chief Gabriel Akin Deko established farm settlements all over the region.

In 1958 while at Methodist Primary School, Otapete in Ilesha in the present Osun state, it was always the joy of my life to spend weekends with my uncle, Chief Henry Aroloye now the Aruwajoye of Idanre who was then the agric officer in charge of Ijebu Ijesha farm settlement.

Lapal House at Igbosere road in Lagos Island now abandoned, Western house at broad street, Lagos, the 26 storey Cocoa house in Ibadan and lots of other buildings including Ikeja Airport hotel, University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University were built with proceeds from tax and cocoa by the old western region of Nigeria during the tenure of Chief Awolowo and Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola.

Hamdala hotel in Kaduna, Ahmadu Bello University established on October 4 1962, the Northern Nigeria Investment Limited and many other projects in the then Northern Nigeria were built during the era of Sir Ahmadu Bello as Premier of Northern Nigeria.

During his tenure as Chairman of the Eastern Nigeria Marketing Board, Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu (1909-1966) encouraged the then Eastern Nigeria government to establish numerous companies. The board was established in 1954. The government also established farm settlements at Ohaji, Igbariam, Boki, Ulonna, Erei, Uzo-Uwani and Egbema to encourage agriculture.

Trading of goods was also a major part of the regional economy. In 1954, imports to the region were about 25 million pounds a year which were brought into the country by a few European firms but distributed by thousands of traders within the region. The trade in imported goods such as dried fish, motor parts and textiles goes on along with the trade in local foodstuffs.

In industry, the coal mines of Enugu managed by the Nigerian Coal Corporation and Nigersteel’s rolling mill which used steel scraps to produce mild steel bars were one of the few coal mines and steel plants in operation in West Africa in 1963. During the NCNC government led by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, a cement factory was established at Nkalagu, Nigerian Breweries chose a stout factory at Aba, a tobacco and glass making plant was located at Port Harcourt.

Tinubu Bank was established by a Nigerian Journalist, Mr Ebuka Ezeh in 1944. Following the intervention of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the then Premier of Eastern region, Sir Lois Ojukwu, Chief Mbonu Ojike, the Minister of Finance in the Eastern Region, directed the Eastern Nigeria finance Corporation and the Eastern Nigeria Marketing Board to transform Tinubu Bank into African Continental Bank (ACB).

In the early sixties the bank was well managed under Mr. Adolphus Blankson and Chief Fred McEwen and competed with the big banks then like Barclays bank, Standard bank and Chartered bank. In fact a branch of the bank today is still at Yaba, Lagos very near Domino stores owned by the Father of Senator Ben Bruce. Till the bank got distressed in 1991, it had 107 branches.

No doubt the regions were doing well. Tragically on February 21 1966, General Ironsi told the nation that ”It has become apparent to all Nigerians that rigid adherence to ‘regionalism’, was the bane of the last regime and one of the main factors which contributed to its downfall.

No doubt, the country would welcome a clean break with deficiencies of the system of government to which the country has been subjected in the recent past.” That was the obituary announcement of the death of regionalism in Nigeria. The funeral rites were later made by General Yakubu Gowon when he created the twelve states in 1967 and transferred all the powers of the regions to the centre.

Since then, here we are.


Southwest Youths Condemn Herdsmen Attacks, Insist On One Nigeria

By Sodiq Yusuf

Youths of Nigeria’s Southwest Region have condemned in its entirety the spate of attacks by Fulani Herdsmen in some parts of the country.

They however recommended that efforts be geared towards ending the impending crisis while calling for the entrenchment of the anti-open grazing law in the country.

Rising from the 1st Western Nigeria Regional Youth Summit held at the WOCDIF Centre in Osogbo, capital of the State of Osun, Youths of the Southwest region also want the country to be restructured along true federalism lines.

“That the Youth of Western Nigeria condemn the incessant herdsmen attack on innocent people across the country and appeal to the federal government to act as a matter of urgency to avert massive reprisal attacks. That anti- open grazing laws be enacted throughout the country and commercially driven ranches be established.”

The summit geared towards developing a 25 year masterplan for the development of the region tagged “West 2040; Productivity, Prosperity and Peace” organized by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission also agreed on six key development visions for the region by the year 2040.

The vision are; A region less dependent on fossil fuels, A region that is a hub for tourism and agricultural competitiveness, An educated workforce, A region of technologically developed urban centers, A peaceful and secure region and one with A globally competitive Yoruba Language and culture.

The communiqué reads in part “That the youth of Western Nigeria affirm their belief in one united Nigeria based on fairness, equity and strict adherence of doctrine of federalism, separation of powers and rule of law. The need to enshrine in the Federal constitution a role for plebiscites or referendums on certain issues of public importance.”

“Youths in the region should be encouraged to participate in political governance at both the legislative and executive levels. The NOT TO YOUNG TO RUN proposal should be properly institutionalized at both federal and state elections.”

The Youths also resolved to make the critical sectors of Agriculture, Politics and Governance, Security, Agriculture, Education in the Southwest for greater prosperity while the needful will be done to make the region a step higher in creating opportunities, attracting investment and maximizing ideas across the federation.

At the end of the summit, participants agreed that the 25-year master plan as conceived by the Governments of the Western Nigeria is a step in the right direction and commended the government and people of the State of Osun as well as the DAWN Commission on convening the Regional Youth Summit.

Resolutions of the Summit are expected to be ratified by the six Governors of the Southwest at their next meeting in Ibadan, Oyo State where the next edition will hold in 2019.

COMMUNIQUE At The End Of The 2018 Western Nigeria Regional Youth Summit

THE REGIONAL YOUTH SUMMIT held at the WOCDIF Center, 9th & 10th January 2017 together to discuss the aspirations of the proposed Strategic Western Nigeria Development Roadmap, and chart out innovative initiatives for the future. The theme of the summit is PRODUCTIVITY, PROSPERITY AND PEACE.

At the end of the summit the youth gathering agreed and resolved on the following actions as imperatives for the vision of the Strategic 25 year Western Nigeria Masterplan.

VISION for 2040
A region less dependent on fossil fuels
A region that is a hub for tourism and agricultural competitiveness
An educated workforce
A region of technologically developed urban centers
A peaceful and secure region
A globally competitive Yoruba Language and culture.


That the entire Yoruba youth insist on restructuring of the current warped federal arrangement that stifles the growth of our region.

That from history, the youth agreed that the golden era of the region was in the era of regional governments and we should revert to a system of federalism based on regionalism.

That the youth of Western Nigeria affirm their belief in one united Nigeria based on fairness, equity and strict adherence of doctrine of federalism, separation of powers and rule of law.

The need to enshrine in the Federal constitution a role for plebiscites or referendums on certain issues of public importance.

Youths in the region should be encouraged to participate in political governance at both the legislative and executive levels. The NOT TO YOUNG TO RUN proposal should be properly institutionalized at both federal and state elections.

That the Youth of Western Nigeria condemn the incessant herdsmen attack on innocent people across the country and appeal to the federal government to act as a matter of urgency to avert massive reprisal attacks.

That anti- open grazing laws be enacted throughout the country and commercially driven ranches be established.

That the ultimate goal of education should essentially be to produce the quintessential Omoluabi, both in content and character. Our Education should bring enlightenment to the human mind; prepare people for the world of work; provide the platform for leadership recruitment and provide the means for character building, especially the development of the Total Man

To tackle poor entrepreneurial skills and financial illiteracy, support and policies in Business Development and Entrepreneurial skill Development; and Financial Literacy Training should be deployed in states of the region.

That Legal and Regulatory Frameworks should be put in place to harmonize and simplify the regime of taxes and levies and State governments to make public their services, procedures, cost and redress mechanism to encourage payment of taxes to lessen reliance on federal allocation.

The creative economy and informal economy (film, music, fashion, food, photography etc) should be properly structured to stimulate creativity and economic growth.

That enablers should be put in place so the agriculture value chain be optimized for youth participation

That Joint actions will be pursued and sustained on security threats to guarantee the safety of lives, property and prosperity of the people of the region

At the end of the summit, all participants agreed that 25-year master plan as conceived by the Governments of the Western Nigeria is a step in the right direction and commend the government and people of the State of Osun and DAWN Commission on convening the Regional Youth Summit and look forward to the next edition in Oyo state.

To secure the future and that to articulate the shared values and aspirations of the Region in a living document and translating such to implementable actions and interventions will definitely make Western Nigeria a most preferred place to live, to work and to invest in the near future.

Osinbajo, Aregbesola, Ajimobi Charge Youths On Productivity And Hardwork

Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday proffered hard work and productivity as panacea to Nigeria’s socio-economic and political development.

He said Nigeria would have overcome some of her challenges if not being hindered by endemic corruption.

Osinbajo gave the charge while addressing a congregation of youths that converged on Osogbo for 2018 Southwest Regional Youth Summit, held at WOCDIF Centre, Osogbo, Osun State capital.

He charged Nigerians to champion virtues of integrity and Omoluabi ethos as the only fundamental principle of development.

The Vice President held that Nigerians must begin to look inward on the need to support government’s efforts by being productive and hardworking, noting that a nation could only achieve her aspirations if the people are productive.

Osinbajo canvassed good character among Nigerians, saying talent and potentials mean nothing if character is absent.

According to him, “if we truly want our nation to grow and develop, thus everyone needs to make necessary input and the only way to achieving this is to be productive in all we do.”

“”We must begin to plan for the future of our nation. We must create foundation for values as it is critical to success‎.”

“We must work on the virtues that our founding fathers developed as this is the only way to set our nation on the path of greatness.

“In whatever we do, we must emphasize Omoluabi ethos. We must champion hard work and bear at the back of our minds the need to advance our nation in whatever we do.

“Talent and potential do not mean anything if there is no character, so no matter how talented one is, without character, there is no way to make success.

“Integrity is the key to success. Every business that doesn’t emphasize integrity, always fails, thus everyone must be ready to work and make sacrifice if we truly want development‎.”

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, challenged Nigerian Youths to be productive for the country to come out of its present economic challenges.

The Governor held that education can be effective for national growth if it induces productivity, saying the youth should see the only way to success as hard work.

He noted that youths should see agriculture as a viable business as against the belief that it is meant for the uneducated. Aregbesola stated it is disheartening that despite the fact that Nigeria is the leading cassava producing nation in the world, the country is unable to feed itself because her productivity level is low on the crop, compared to India and Thailand.

He said, “We must first discover ourselves and apply our discovery to advance our nation. There is no short cut to success other than hard work and productivity.

“One cannot go to anywhere if he or she only believes in advance fee fraud and other vices.

“It’s unfortunate that we don’t produce what we consume as a nation, but we rely on rent. Though we are educated but our education lacks critical thinking.

“We are the largest producer of cassava in the world but it is unfortunate that we are not bringing out anything positive from that effort”, the Governor emphasised.

Also, the Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, while charging youths to be hard-working noted that the only way to succeed in life is through hard work and not luck, like many youths of today now believe.

While challenging the youths to begin to see themselves as the set of people who will drive the future, Governor Ajimobi maintained that all the youth must decide to succeed in life through hard work.

Speaking on the purpose of the summit, the Oyo State Governor said it is about promoting and enhancing the future through the youth of today, stressing that the patriotic sentiment is to forge the future of the South West through the youth.

The Governor said it is important to maximize the opportunity of the summit as he called on the youths to see it as an opportunity to come together and chart a way forward for the youths in the South West and the nation at large.

He said active participation in the summit is a means of ensuring that the dreams and aspirations for the future are met.

According to Ajimobi, “the patriotic sentiment is to forge the future of the South West through this all important youth summit at this time when the nation at large needs to plan for the future.

“I see the youths as the next set of people who will drive our destiny and take our race to the next level through hard work and creativity.

“It is important to maximise the opportunity of this summit to chart a way for the growth and development of the South West, when youths come together, something good must come out of such deliberation.

“It is by investing in the youth that we have a future and our dreams and aspirations as a people will be met.”. Ajimobi stressed.‎

Earlier, the Acting Director General of the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN), Mr Sheye Oyeleye explained that the importance of the summit is to have the inputs of the youth in the master plan of Nigeria’s development starting with the South West.

He charged youths in the South West to always conceptualize their thoughts towards how to have a better future and take the region to its pride of place in the scheme of things that concerns Nigeria as a whole.

Oyeleye challenged youths in the South West to start thinking out of the box as the
world is now technology driven, noting that the time has come for the West to start seeing themselves as the rallying point of the development of Nigeria.

“I think the time has come for the youth in the South West to come out of their shells and begin to see themselves as the cradle of development of Nigeria.

“I know that our youths are intelligent and very vibrant, but it is time for them to start taking charge and put it into action.

“We should seize the opportunity of the crop of governors we have today who are ready to drive the development of Nigeria, stating with the South-West. I think the present South West governors are very passionate about the growth of the region.

In a goodwill message, the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, commended the foresight of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for appointing more youths into his cabinet, while calling on other South West governors to follow suit.

He maintained that if more governors in the region give more youth opportunities in their cabinets, the youth will be begin to have a sense of responsibility and the feeling that they own the future.

The royal father used the occasion to charge youths to join the present administration in the fight against corruption, saying it is one of the ways the country can move forward and also guarantee a corrupt free future.

“My Governor in Osun has always set the tone for the youths to take charge of the future through the appointment of a lot of youth into his cabinet.

“Osun has always been youth-driven and I want other South West governors to take a cue from this”.‎

Osun Hosts Regional Youth Summit

By Nofisat Marindoti

The much awaited Western Nigeria Regional Youth Summit hosted by the State of Osun is taking place today (Tuesday) at the WOCDIF center in Osogbo, the State capital.

The summit is hosted by The State Government of Osun on the grounds of the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission.

The State Commissioner for Regional Integration, Hon. Bola Ilori while addressing journalists, had explained that the purpose of the Summit was to bring youths across the Western Region together to generate ideas that would take the region to greater heights.

“The summit is to provide platform for the youths of western region, to come together and plan the future of the region. The script will be written by them on how this region will be by 20 years and that is why we call it “West 2040”. So it is to involve the youths in the planning of how the region will be by year 2040.

“We want to build the culture of adding to the society, we want our youths to become productive and to generate ideas. We encourage our youths to come loaded with ideas because there be will official endorsement for their ideas at the Summit.”

Dignitaries at the Summit include The Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo who will open it, a Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Nobel Laureate , Prof. Wole Soyinka, Gen. Alani Akinrinade, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II among others.