Lagos State University of Education
REPOSITIONING EPE DIVISION IN ANNEXING HER COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE IN THE UNFOLDING SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF LAGOS STATE BRINGING ALL HANDS ON DECK.
By Olayinka kazeem olawale:
At the height of the controversy surrounding the location of the main campus of the proposed Lagos State University of Education (LASUED), between MOCOPED-Epe and AOCOED-Ijanikin. A conversation emanated between myself (Olayinka kazeem) and Mr Oluwakemi Hassan (Bashexy), a Senior Legislative Aides to Rep. Wale Raji, on what do we really want as a people and the need for a collaborative efforts among our leaders in the division to really deliver the dividend of democracy to our people across Epe division.
No doubt, youth unemployment is a major problem confronting the division now, despite the huge economic potential, as one of the most fastest growing economic area of the state. Hence, the need to find a lasting solution to issue of youth unemployment, restiveness and confrontational, a mist plenty economic potential of the division.
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One of the identified reason why we lost out in the negotiations of the location of the Lagos State University of Education LASUED main campus was lack of coordination between our major stakeholders in the division. Also is the lack of trust and passive domination of some particular area over the other in sharing of government positions and largess. A problem that have been hurting the division from the time past and still a major issue inhibiting the growth of Epe division.
Epe Students and Indigen React:
The Lagos State University of Education LASUED, the upgrade of MOCOPED to a University status have been seen by many as symbol of growth in the division and so many reasons have been postulated on why the main campus must be in Epe.
Amongst reasons ascribed, is that natural Justice, base on premise that, is only natural to have the Lagos State University of Education main campus in Epe, since Badagry division has the main campus of Lagos State University, in Ojo local government. So it will be out of place for Epe to have the main campus now in the spirit of fairness and equity. Also, is the issue of land availability, it is agreed in some quarters that young MOCOPED still has more room for expansion and development than AOCOED. In similar vein, some have seen foreseeable problem of accessibility, given the problem of traffic congestion which is associated with that corridor of the state.
Why do we lost out?
A major question on the lips of many now and of great concern is why despite highly placed and influential sons and daughters of the division. No doubt, we lost out majorly on the ground of absence of coordination amongst our highly placed personalities in the division and the lack common goals. And this have always be our major challenges in achieving developmental course in Epe division.
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However, there is need for us not to play too much politics with the issue of the location of the Lagos State University of Education LASUED, not to engage in a blame game, we must be smart and diplomatic in our approach, perhaps, having the main campus in Epe gives a sense of pride, but it can not in all totality solve the challenges of unemployment and youth restiveness we are confronted with today.
Hence, we must look on the good side, either way the issue is resolve. We need to stretch out our hands to other divisions in negotiating more government presence and attracting more developmental projects that can provide jobs and employ-ability for our people.
Going forward, just last year in the month of November, parcel B of the Lekki Free was sighed between the Lagos State Government and the host communities. What this tells us, is that we will be having influx of industries and businesses across Epe River (Eyin-osa communities), with spill over effect on ajunt areas of Ibeju, Ejirin, Oriba and the likes.
However, we need to ask ourselves some fundamental questions, how far have we as a people benefited from the economic opportunities that came to been with the parcel A of the Free Trade Zone. There is no gain saying that 80% of the economic potential of the free trade zone are been maximize by outsider and the reason majorly was because was have refuse of giving our youths the right education and we failed to expose our people to the huge potential, economically of what the zone can offer our people.
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The time around, it has become imperative for our leaders to come together to chart a course for our people in the division, a periodic meeting of leaders of thought in the division should be establish. The meeting should set agenda for development for the division, putting the youth in the centre of dialogue. This would go a long way to put all our leaders across traditional, political and economic spectrum on the same page and have first hand information of socio-economic and political development in the division.
Also, for us to carry a greater number of youths in the division on a good economic standing and reduce entitlement mentality among our youths, we must massively invest in education. Most especially, technical and vocational education.
We have a resources of the state that we can annex to our advantage. The Lagos State Technical College at Odomola (MANPOWER), four vocational training facilities at Eredo, Igboye, Papa Epe and Orimedu in Ibeju-lekki. The local governments across the division in their budgetary allocation in the new financial year must devote substantial amount to technical education for our youths and out of schools.
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Investing in this area of education today would make us to take advantage of impending economic potential in the division, gives our youth a sense of direction and the right skills to position ahead in pending opportunities. It is of doubt, it is do able and the end result is mutually beneficial to all.
In 2016, when both Hon. Tobun and Rep. Wale Raji invested in technical education, most of the beneficiaries of that intervention are employed now and some are doing well on their own now. I can only plead to both Honorables, our distinguish senator Abiru and all the Commissioners, SA’s, as well as other highly placed personalities within and outside government, politics, to do more in investing in technical and vocational education, as, it has the potential to take a greater number of our youths out of unemployment.
Perhaps, now that LASPOTECH is been upgraded by the state to a status of university, we can as well galvanize all our political muscles to seek an upgrade of MANPOWER to a polytechnic and a creation of a new technical college in either Ibeju-Lekki or Ikosi-Ejirin LCDA.
More so, Agriculture is another area that the division has a lot of comparative advantage and given the strategic lot of the Free Trade Zone, Lekki Deep Sea Port and the propose Cago Air port. Our attention and focus should be on this area for economic growth. One such ways is to encourage our youth to see potential in agriculture. We can as well, seek the state government to elevate Lagos State Agric Istitute, Epe (Agric-Yes) to a status of an institution like Moore Plantation, in Ibadan.
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This would encourage our youth to take a career part in agriculture, while in the interim, the local governments must come up with a policy that can encourage youth involvement in agriculture by creating an enabling environment and funding.
In like manner, investment in ICT is an area that has a lot of employment opportunities for our youth. No doubt, coding, blockchain technology, software development, mataverse are the language of the youth in the future, if not now. Creating an enabling environment for career development along this area had the potential to make youths in our division to make most sort after in the state. We just need to create strategic ITC incubation centres in the division, a list three – one in Epe, Ibeju- lekki and Ikosi-Ejirin.
One good thing is the fact that it does not require hug amount to set up, and it has potential to create employment of our youths, re-annexing their negative energy for a positive use. Of course a ready made market in division for employment.
Epe local government should as a matter of urgency put to use the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu ITC centre in the local government secretatriat to serve as an incubation centre for ICT development for Epe. This can also be replicate at the youth centre in Popo-oba square.
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Lastly, our Tourism potential in the division is never in doubt, but we need to defined what exactly, of what aspect of tourism are we investing and it has to be peoples driven. Our cultural and traditional institutions in the division owns us a lot of potential in the area of cultural tourism, agro-tourism we can also annex, given the fact that our people’s economic life have always revolved around agriculture.
Our beautiful beaches and waterways hold opportunity for destination tourism. It has become imperative to have a tourism summit in the division in other to come up with a tourism blue prints for the division and it has to be peoples driven.
In summary, Epe division is at a point that it is open to various economic opportunities and the need for leaders in the division to come together to chart a course for our people is now. So our leaders across all level must as matter of importance put aside differences and put the division and her people first for a policy direction both for economically, political and cultural direction.
And personal development on the part of our youth should also take priority on the part of our youth. Positioning our youth. Organizations like Youth Council among others must come to front burner in the chart a course for the youths.
Olayinka kazeem olawale
Former Deputy Coordinator
National Youth Council,
Epe local Branch