Amid agitations for Biafra and calls for the restructuring of Nigeria’s political structure, Governors of the South-East and the South-South, Sunday night met in Enugu.
The crucial meeting, which was still on at the time of filling this report included Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Enugu, Dave Elechi, Ebonyi, Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia, Rochas Okorocha, Imo, Nyesom Wike, Rivers, Seriake Dickson, Bayelsa, Udom Emmanuel, Akwa-Ibom, Prof. Ben Ayade, Cross River, and Deputy Governor of Anambra, Nkem Okeke.
Governors of Edo and Delta, Godwin Obaseki and Ifeanyi Okowa respectively, were absent.
This came barely one week after South-East leaders, including Governors from the zone met at the same State and declared their unflinching support for Nigeria’s unity.
In his welcome speech at the opening ceremony of the meeting, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State lamented the dearth of infrastructure in the South-East, South-South region.
While recalling the historic relationship between the two regions, he “what God has joined together, not even the Niger nor delineation for administrative convenience will put asunder.
“We are essentially one people, one brotherhood, one friendship.
“We also have common challenges and believe that this meeting will fundamentally help to understand ourselves better and rekindle the spirit of brotherhood, strengthen ties and cooperation with common vision and agenda for the economic and political development of the region.
“The cardinal essence of government is the welfare of the people. We are better together.
“Exactly one week ago, the South-East caucus met in Enugu to review the state of the nation, especially the agitations in the land. We agreed that united and restructured Nigeria where peace, love, equity and equality of opportunities are paramount regardless of identity, ethniciy, gender, and political affiliation.
“They also condemned all hate speeches emanating from any part of the nation and sued for peace.”
He added that the South-East had also re-echoes calls for the implementation of the 2014 national conference resolutions.
The Governor said it was regrettable that the entire South-East has only 5 percent allocation out of the entire power generated in the country.
He equally lamented that “you can also not fly from one State in the South-East to the South-South. You either go to Lagos or Abuja and look for a connecting flight or take a chartered flight.”
While equally bemoaning lack of industrial clusters, Ugwuanyi said “with regional integration we will be able to speak with one voice.”
He urged the Federal Government to include the Eastern Railway Corridor in the proposed loan from China.
“This will make our area more attractive to both local and foreign investors.
“We need to inter-regional cooperation and to share ideas on security challenges facing our areas.
“It is well known that these criminals are well sophisticated and mobile as they move from one State to another.
“Whenever the heat turn on them, with general cooperation, we will be able to harvest ideas into framework and power technology, technical know-how and it will substantially reduce crime in our region.”
”This will make our zones more attractive to foreign investors.
“Let me seize this opportunity to seek you cooperation in the on-going for the creation of South-East Development Commission.
“Like the NDDC, it will go a long way in addressing peculiar challenges of our people.
“This is the dawn of a new thinking that will lead to mutual cooperation between the government of South-East and South-South”, the Enugu Governor stated.
Also speaking, chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum, David Umahi said “We are meeting for the first time as governors of South South and South East to brainstorm on various but salient issues affecting the two zones.
“We are meeting as brothers to talk about regional integration and find lasting solution to intermittent outbreak of interstate clashes arising from boundary disputes among the two regions.
“We are also talking about economic survival of the two regions and look at possible ways of bringing our ingenuity and making use of our huge deposit of both human and natural resources to attain economic viable zones in Nigeria.
“There is also need to discuss security, peace and unity of the two regions and find lasting solution to various salient issues that affect our unity in Nigeria.
“It is a meeting born out of love and desire to find cohesion among the two regions and I am happy that my brother governors responded to the call even at the short notice given to them.
“In other words, we are discussing regional and national interest.”