Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Wednesday, 30th April, 2014, reiterated his call for regional integration as a development model across the globe.
Hosting the Head of European Union delegation in Nigeria, Mr. Michel Arrion at the State House, Marina, Fashola stressed the need for cooperation among nations of the world saying such cooperation would produce amazing results if well managed.
The Governor told his host, “It is interesting that you hold the view that regional integration will soon catch up with the rest of the world. Well size is important, collaboration is also important and team work can produce amazing result”.
He, however, noted that the success of such collaboration would depend largely on the integrating nations playing their individual roles well and acting in the interest of the team adding that such arrangements sometimes run into murky waters when some of the collaborating nations feel that others are not playing their own roles well.
“I know that in some of these arrangements some people are feeling that they are doing more than they should and some are feeling that they are doing less than they should”, the Governor said adding that such notions create domestic problems for some of them,” he said.
Using the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as example of regional integration, the Governor declared, “I should know because Nigeria is not just a member of the ECOWAS but she is a driver of ECOWAS itself. The integration of West African States is not without its own problems and of course its own benefits. Of course it is a model in the making; there is nothing in the world which is perfect”.
Welcoming the envoy to the state, he promised that his administration would do whatever they could to assist him during his tenure to make his assignment “much more successful, much more enjoyable and much more eventful” adding, “So we look forward to doing business with you”.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the diplomat had told the Governor that he was in Lagos to explore means of fostering greater relationships between the State and the EU adding that he has got some experience in West African affairs having served over the years in such countries as Mali, Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia.
Mr. Michel Arrion, who said he was ready to share with Lagos the experiences of the European Union which he described as “the most achieved integration union in the world”, said regional integration represents the future for many regions across the globe.
Also present at the occasion were the state Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Ben Akabueze, and his Commerce and Industry counterpart, Mrs. Olusola Oworu, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Foreign Affairs, Ms Toyin Caxton-Martins and Special Adviser on Media to the Governor, Mr. Hakeem Bello, on the State Government side while the Head of EU delegation was accompanied by First Secretary, Head of Trade and Economic Section, Mr. Massimo De Luca, and the Economic Officer, Mr. Ibi Ikpoki.