South-South/South-East Governors Meet: Seek Regional Development

South-South/South-East Governors Meet: Seek Regional Development
 Precious Dikewoha, Port Harcourt
 
Governors of the South-South and South East geo-political zones on Sunday  met    at Government House Port Harcourt where they  discussed regional and economic integration to enhance  the development  of the area  .
 
In attendance  are:  Chairman of the South-South and South-East Governors Forum and Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, Governor Rochas Okorocha  of Imo State and Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State 
 
Others in attendance include: Acting  Governor of Bayelsa State, Rear Admiral  Gboribiogha John Jonah , Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Nkem Okeke, Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu and Cross River StateProf. Ivara Esu.


In his welcome  address, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike stated that the people of the two geo-political  zones have always shared common heritage  and affinity. 
 
 
He said: “Even in contemporary Nigeria, we still share the same or similar challenges, including insecurity, poverty and under-development despite the best of efforts by the constituent State governments. Today, the two regions are the most politically and economically marginalized within the nation, environmentally degraded and deliberated neglected by the federal government in appointments and provisions of basic development infrastructures.”
 
The governor noted that none of the airports and seaports located in the  regions is reasonably functional, while  the few federal roads are not in good shape, neither are the two regions linked by any rail services. 
 
Governor Wike said: “From geo-strategic economic perspective therefore, there is an 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.
 
“Also, we are all aware that economic growth and social progress are possible only in a peaceful and secure environment. And much as we try to tackle this menace in our respective States by 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.”
 
He said as neighbours, the two regions 
must strive to overcome challenges  through regional efforts by sharing resources, intelligence and denying sanctuaries to criminal elements in the areas.
 
According to him: “As we go into the business of this meeting, let us be confident in the rightness of our course and clear in our considerations that we have been and would continue to be worse off without the will to exploit our political and economic complementarities to drive our ways into political, economic and social prosperity.
 
“Above all, we must continue to demand for the devolution of powers and resources to the states as well as the institutionalization of State Police, now that there is national consensus on these issues.”
 
Chairman of the South-South and South-East Governors Forum and Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel urged the governors of the two regions to form a common front for socio-economic  development. 
 
He described  the meeting as a new beginning  for  the two geo-political zones for the  good of  her people.
 
The governor  expressed delight that  the governors  have set aside impediments  to chart a new direction. He charged the two regions to work together for prosperity  .
 
He said: “Federal presence in the  region is minimal and only seen in the presence  of policemen”.
 
He called for the development  of  an industrial  framework  that will enhance  development.  He said the regions are better of united than  divided.
 
He pleaded with Nigerians to continue to strive for the  unity of the country.