By Mike Jones
PORT HARCOURT/Nigeria: The governors of South-South and South-East regions of Nigeria have expressed their displeasure with the federal government over the deliberate neglect of the two regions and appealed to President Mohammadu Buhari to take proactive and practical urgent steps to revive the seaports, provide railway network and other vital infrastructure development.
The governors in a communiqué issued after extensive deliberations in Port Harcourt on Sunday resolved to perfect common socioeconomic synergy to compel the federal government to commence development of critical infrastructure so as to ameliorate poverty, hunger, joblessness and frustration in the two regions that is producing over 90% of the nation’s wealth.
The forum while condemning “hate speech” noted that its capable of eroding the unity of Nigeria and urged politicians and Nigerians in general to refrain from crafting hate speeches during national discuss, political communication and electioneering campaign messages.
The governors agreed to immediately establish enduring and result oriented regional integration and cooperation for the good and benefit of the People of the two regions.
The Communiqué Of The Meeting Of South-East/ South-South Governors Forum In Government House, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, On Sunday 27 August, 2017.
August 28, 2017
The Governors of the South-East and South-South States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria met in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Sunday 27 August, 2017 to deliberate on critical economic and political issues common to the interests of the States in the Nation’s affairs.
The Meeting, which was chaired by Mr. Udom Emmanuel, Governor of Akwa Ibom State, had in attendance 7 Governors and 4 Deputy Governors. Other Governors present at the meeting were Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State. Deputy Governors who represented their Governors were Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah, Acting Governor of Bayelsa, Dr. Nkem Okeke, Deputy Governor of Anambra, Philip Shaibu, Deputy Governor of Edo State and Prof. Ivara Esu, Deputy Governor of Cross River State.
Determined to reinforce resolutions taken at the inaugural meeting of the forum and take practical steps to identify and define the different strands of cooperation and integration as well as establishing the institutional framework to advancing and consolidating the drive towards achieving these noble objectives;
Recognizing that from time immemorial, the South-South and the South-East regions share progressive historical ties, culture, religion and geography;
Acknowledging the urgent need to establish and link our cities with railways and super highways; to provide viable and affordable flight services between our cities, and to ensure that cargoes are brought into the country and the regions through our seaports, jetties and ferry services as a veritable means of stimulating economic growth and social progress across our two regions;
Aware that economic growth and social progress are possible only in a peaceful and secure environment;
Concerned that despite providing the necessary logistic support to the security agencies, perceptions of insecurity are on the rise, doing significant damage to our investment climate thereby preventing reasonable inflow of direct foreign and local investment into the regions;
Determined to overcome, through regional efforts, by sharing resources, intelligence and denying sanctuaries to criminal elements in our respective territories;
Determined as Governors, to develop our respective States and improve the living conditions of our people with the meagre resources at our disposal;
Acknowledging that we can do better planning and achieve more progress working together, especially in the overlapping areas of national politics, economic growth, human security, transport infrastructure, as well as food and energy security.
Concerned about the reality of the dearth of infrastructure, the Forum noted with dismay:
- The deplorable state of federal roads in the two regions. That none of the airports and seaports located in our regions is reasonably functional, and that neither of the two regions are linked by any rail services.
- That the Federal presence in the regions is very minimal and only noticeable in the presence of policemen.
- The emerging trend where approvals for investments in the oil and gas industry are granted for siting in other parts of Nigeria with laying of pipelines in deep waters rather than siting the projects in the areas that produce the resources.
The forum resolved:
- To pursue inter-regional cooperation and integration for the common good of the regions’ people.
- To work together politically, align and re-align as a people that share common heritage, culture and affinity.
- To articulate and advocate for issues affecting the wellbeing of the regions. The issues may not necessarily materialize immediately, but for the benefits of future generations.
- To continue to subscribe our faith to the destiny and greatness of Nigeria and call upon Nigerians to put their hands on the plough and rise to claim our rightful place in the Comity of Nations.
- To condemn hate speech in national discourse whether in individual communication, or utterances of political actors or parties.
- To urge security agencies to set up joint border patrols and develop more proactive strategies in combating crime and criminality.
- To urge the Federal Government to come up with a clear policy on concession of Federal roads and to fast-track the process in order to ameliorate the sufferings of the people of the regions.
- To urge the Federal Government to encourage investors in the oil and gas industry to operate from within the regions and also make the investments in the sector in the region.
The forum will reconvene in Owerri, Imo State on Sunday, the 8th of October, 2017.
GOVERNOR UDOM EMMANUEL