By Collins Chukwu
Enugu: Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and his Edo state neighbour, Governor Godwin Obaseki, where conspicuously absent in the just ended South-East, South-South Governors meeting in Enugu on Sunday, 9 July, 2017.
The meeting which was organised to discuss national issues that are currently affecting the entire country, and to rekindle the regional common heritage, culture and affinity that exists between the south-East and South-South.
The Forum which installed Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom as its chairman, after three-hour meeting, also agreed on political cooperation.
The meeting was attended by eight governors and a deputy governor; while two governors were absent.
In a communiqué read by the chairman 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.”
Host of the meeting, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had 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.”
Chairman of South East Governors forum and Governor of Ebonyi state, Chief David Umahi in his address released by his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, said that they were meeting for the first time as governors of South-South and South East to brainstorm on various but salient issues affecting the two zones.
Umahi said, “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.”
The governors present were, Igwenyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), David Umahi (Ebonyi), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa-Ibom), Ben Ayade (Cross River), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), and Nyesom Nike (Rivers).
Also in the meeting were Okezie Ikpazu (Abia), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa) and Anambra Deputy Governor, Nkem Okeke, who represented Governor Willie Obiano.
No reason was giving for the absent of the two governors, as their representatives were not also present.
They agreed to hold their next meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on August 27, 2017.