- Group seeks inter-regional cooperation
By Raphael Onyekachukwu, Enugu – Governors of the South-East and South-South geo-political zones have appointed Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom as their Forum’s Interim Chairman, even as they endorse inter-regional cooperation for integration and economic benefits of both regions.
Governor Udom, who read the Forum’s three point communiqué at end of its meeting at Nike Lake Hotel, Enugu, said the governors also decided to collaborate politically and re-align as a people with shared and common heritage, culture and affinity.
“The governors of the south-east and south-south after their maiden meeting held today the 9th of July, 2017 have agreed on inter-regional cooperation for integration, for the economic benefit of the two regions. To politically work together and realign as a people that share common heritage, culture and affinity.
“The meeting also agreed to appoint Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State as the interim chairman of the body. We also agreed that our next meeting will be held in Port-Harcourt in August, 2017”.
Earlier in his welcome address, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuqnyi of Enugu state declared that no force or political intrigues can divide the South East and South South zones given their existing bond and cultural affinity.
Ugwuanyi described the meeting, the first ever 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 him, “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 one 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
The meeting kicked off at 7.45pm Sunday, with eight governors and one deputy governor in attendance while two governors were absent. The governors present, include David Umahi of Ebonyi state and chairman of South East Governors Forium; his Akwa Ibom counterpart, Emmanuel Udom; Enugu Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; Imo Governor, Rochas Okocha; Abia Governor, Okezie Ikpazu and Cross River Governor, Ben Ayade.
Others are Rivers Sate Governor, Nyesom Nwike, Bayelsa Governor, Seriake Dickson, and Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Nkem Okeke, who represented his Governor, Willie Obiano. However, conspicuously absent at the meeting were Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa and his Edo counterpart, Godwin Obaseki, who did not send in any representatives.