By Kehinde Olatunji
As the 2023 general elections inch closer, Southwest Development Stakeholders Forum (SWDSF) has canvassed an audience with the leading presidential candidates to negotiate Yoruba agenda.
Representatives of civil society groups, professional bodies, religious and market leaders made the call during a visit to the Rutam House Headquarters of The Guardian, yesterday, stating that it has become imperative to engage the standard-bearers on what the region wants and extract commitments from them.
Chairman of the group, Alao Adedayo, said their demands had been documented by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission and approved by the governors of the geo-political zone.
Consequently, he hinted that the group had invited the presidential candidates of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi; African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore; New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso; Social Democratic Party (SDP), Adewole Adebayo and People’s Redemption Party (PRP), Kola Abiola.
The SWDSF chairman clarified that the parley, which would have in attendance Southwest leaders, is to hold in Ibadan, Oyo State.
He said it has been the desire of the zone to have a regional railway system, electricity security and other development programmes that could allow for maximum exploration of the region’s abundant human and natural resources.
Adedayo stressed that the meeting was important in realisation that the Southwest remains the industrial and commercial engine room of Nigeria, and such, deserves to know from the aspirants exactly how they intend to incorporate the zone in their agenda for a united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.
He said: “All matrix clearly shows that the Nigerian economy is driven by economic activities in the Southwest. Given its growing population of more than 50 million residents, its historical trajectory as the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria, its strategic political importance and huge potential in driving national growth and development, the region deserves to know from the presidential candidates exactly how they intend to incorporate the Southwest in their agenda for a united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.
The Southwest can also boast of having residents from most, if not all, ethnic nationalities of Nigeria. We are the biggest, non-discriminatory, melting pot for Nigerians and their social, commercial and other development activities, and therefore, deserve the critical consideration of all candidates.”
Source: The Guardian