BY EMMANUEL MGBEHURUIKE, Owerri –
Governors of the South East and their South South counterparts have resolved to go as a bloc in one direction on issues bordering on the political development in the country as the nation moves closer to 2019.
They said their position will protect the two zones and will as well be beneficial to the political future and interest of the people of the zones.
Their position is contained in a communique issued at the end of their meeting in Owerri, the Imo State capital, where national issues, especially as they relate to the zones were discussed at the weekend.
The meeting, which was chaired by governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, had in attendance eight governors and one deputy governor.
Governors present at the meeting were Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and Ben Ayade of Cross River State. The deputy governor of Anambra State, Dr. Nkem Okeke, represented the governor.
At the end of the meeting, the governors who met under the auspices of South-south/South-east Governors Forum, in statement signed by Udom, stated that what unites the people of the two zones is much more than political party and other considerations.
The Forum also expressed worry over “the dearth of infrastructure and unjustified lack of significant federal presence in the South-East and South-South regions and called for more attention to be paid to the infrastructural and other needs of the regions by the Federal Government”.
It also “discussed extensively on the proposed amendment of the 1999 constitution and resolved to take a position that will be in the best interest of the people of the two regions”.
The Forum commended the role played by some patriots in instituting broad-based negotiations between the regions of the North and South-East which led to the setting aside of the so-called ‘quit notice’ issued the Igbos resident in that part of the country by the Arewa youths.
The governors also expressed the hope that it will be the last time “any person or group of persons will make any statement or take actions that suggests that any part of the country is a no-go area to other Nigerians”.
The governors acknowledged “the efforts of the security agencies which has brought relative peace to the regions and across the country, and has consequently contributed immensely to an increased and sustained oil production with the attendant benefits to the country and commended the efforts of all stakeholders who have worked to ensure that the regions remain calm and safe”.
In the same vein, the Forum expressed the hope that “these efforts by the governors and other stakeholders to maintain peace and stability in the two regions will translate to the two regions reaping increased dividends in the form of greater attention paid to the urgent infrastructural and other needs of the regions”.
It also commended the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, for organizing security summits in the different geo-political zones of the country, even as it hoped that the outcome of the summits would lead to better policing of the country in the interest of the citizenry.
The Forum also re-echoed their faith in one indivisible and indissoluble Nigeria, just as it is expected to re-convene in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on Sunday November 26, 2017.