Funke Osibodu, a notable figure in the Nigerian banking sector, who had served as Chief Executive Officer of Merchant Banking Corporation (MBC), Ecobank Nigeria and Union Bank Plc, has urged youths in Lagos State to actively participate in the Lagos Economic Summit, Ehingbeti.
Osibodu, who was the Chairperson of the private committee at the inaugural Ehingbeti Summit in 2000 said with the achievements of the last 20 years, it could not be dispute the positive influence Ehingbeti has had on the general outlook of Lagos State.
“We now have roads linking some of the remote parts of the State to the Central Business Districts. This singular action, which was one of the major deliberations in the early days of Ehingbeti, has opened up commercial activities in those corridors and eased intra-city commuting”.
“Aside from finding these roads in Alimosho, Ikotun, Iyana Paja and other areas, the heaps of garbage that once littered our streets are almost becoming non-existent. At least, when you drive around Lagos these days, you find women and men sweeping and cleaning the streets. This was unlike what the situation was then, even though, it is not where we wanted to be yet”, she added.
In appraisal of the situation, she said that things have really changed. “A lot of planning, sacrifice and mental investment went into creating Ehingbeti, the private-public sector collaboration structure that now drives the socio-economic and infrastructural advancement of Lagos State”.
“Several late-night meetings, presentations and discussions crated the structure. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who was the Governor and his Cabinet, with several private sector leaders put in a whole lot into creating the process”, enthused Osibodu.
“Looking back, I will say it has been twenty years of success for Ehingbeti. However, the next 20 years will only be successful if our youths get more involved in the socio-economic and infrastructural planning of the State”
“It is important for to them to get actively involved in Ehingbeti and other socio-economic planning activities because the society that will evolve then is more for them. They should step forward and customise it for themselves. We have created a solid platform for them to build on”.
Ehingbeti has been variously described as an ingenuous socio-economic apparatus that has contributed significantly to the transformation of Lagos State into a major economy in sub-Saharan Africa and an admirable megacity. This description seemed to find justification in the role attributed to Ehingbeti in the planning of the Lekki-Ajah corridor of Lagos Sate and the emerging structure to intra-city transportation in the State.
Over the past twenty years, Lagos State has witnessed significant infrastructural growth in line with its Development Plan fed largely by deliberations at Ehingbeti and other stakeholders engagements.
The quest for development to meet the infrastructural need of its growing population has made successive administrations in Lagos State since the beginning of the 4th republic host Ehingbeti to strengthen the dynamics of public-private sector collaboration towards the growth agenda of the State.
Acknowledged as the first institutionalized economic forum by any state in Nigeria, Ehingbeti is a public-private sector roundtable that started as a collaborative effort between Lagos State Government and Business Club Ikeja. Since the inaugural summit in 2000, the summit has gained useful insights from innumerable business and political leaders, renowned economists, notable development experts and outstanding scholars, who have participated from different parts of the world.