He noted that this attitude had hindered development in the region.
Igbokwe said the governors were not willing to harness natural resources in their states to generate additional revenue.
The TUC chairman was speaking in an interview with The Punch in Enugu, where he noted that the impact of the decline of the country’s oil revenue would not have been severe on the South-East states if successive administrations since 1999 had not abandoned large scale agricultural enterprises established during the first and second republics.
According to the labour leader, “The problem with the South-East is over-reliance on federal allocation by the state governors.
“Since 1999, the governors have been lazy; no attempt was made to harness abundant and viable natural resources available for revenue generation and development.
“The palm oil and cashew plantations, rice farms, poultries and similar ventures that were established across the South-East at industrial scale during the first and second republics are wasting away. They have all been abandoned.
“They can still be revived but the governors are not thinking about that, they only think of the monthly federal allocation.”
He said the reports that Anambra State had been given a waiver to export scent leaves was a welcome development.
He pointed out that this was a clear indication that there were numerous exportable resources in the states, if only the governors were willing to invest in agriculture.
“I don’t see why the states cannot export palm oil and other agricultural products on a large scale,” he noted.
Igbokwe said claims in some quarters that the South-East was the worst hit by economic recession cannot be true because they share from the federal allocation.
He said, “I can’t say that the South-East is the worst hit by the recession. Are South-East states not getting their allocations from the Federation Account?
“The only concern is that, in bad practice, the South-East has always taken the lead. By bad practice, I mean it is only in the South-East that you will see major contracts being awarded to people who will pocket the money and refuse to execute the projects.
“Our problem in the South-East is not using our natural resources and allocation to develop our people.”