S’East/S’South Governor’s Forum: We are One

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Governors of the South East and South-South geopolitical zones decided that the two regions share a common heritage, culture and affinity.

They subsequently agreed to enter into political and economic integration of the two regions, pledging to work together and realign as a people that share similarities.

Nine of the eleven governors comprising the two regions were present at the meeting, namely; Governors Nysome Wike of Rivers, Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom, Prof Ben Ayade of Cross River, Chief David Umahi of Ebonyi, Owelle Rochas Okorocha of Imo, Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia and Anambra state Deputy Governor Nkem Okeke.

After four hours of intense deliberation, an agreement was made to pursue regional co-operation of integration for the economic benefit of the two geopolitical zones and unanimously adopted Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom state their interim chairman.

In a communiqué read by the interim chairman of the forum and Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Udom Emmanuel, the Governors said that “having reviewed the state of the nation, particularly as it affects us in the south-South and South East regions, we have agreed as follows:- “To pursue inter regional cooperation of integration for the economic benefit of the two regions; to politically work together and realign as a people that share common heritage, culture and affinities.”

Governor Emmanuel also announced his appointment as the interim chairman of the forum, disclosing that the also agreed that their next meeting would hold in Port Harcourt, Rivers state on August 27, 2017.

Host Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi in his welcome address described the meeting, the first in the current dispensation, as “the dawn of a new thinking that will lead to a mutual cooperation between the governments of South East and South-South zones.”

According to Ugwuanyi, “What God has joined together, not even the Niger or delineation for administrative convenience will put asunder. We are essentially one, we are brothers joined by geography, one brotherhood and one friendship.

“We also have common challenges, we believe that this meeting will fundamentally help us to understand ourselves better, rekindle the spirit of brotherhood, strengthen ties and cooperation with common vision and agenda for economic and political development of our regions,” he said.

Ugwuanyi sought the cooperation of South-South governors for the establishment of South East Development Commission, to address peculiar needs of the zone, just Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.

Ugwuanyi sought the cooperation of South-South governors for the establishment of South East Development Commission, to address peculiar needs of the zone, just Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.

Lamenting the breakdown of roads and other infrastructure in the two zones which he said hamper their economic development, he added that it was regrettable that only 5 percent of electricity generated in the country is allocated to the two regions and also called on South-South Governors to support South East call for the restructuring of the country to ensure equity, justice and equality.

The forum scheduled to continue their meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers state on August 27 2017

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