BY PRINCELY ONYENWE, IMO
A few moments ago, the Southern Governors Forum was in a summit that reviewed the situation in the nation generally, focusing on the current security situation, agitations/restructuring, prospect for inter-state collaboration and partnerships as well as on the incidence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The issues raised were based on possible ways to improve governance and save the zone from POLITICAL decadence.
The highlight was anchored on:
Complete ban and enforcement of open grazing
Committed to a United Nigeria built on justice, equity and fairness
Calls on the federal government to as a matter of urgency, convey a national dialogue on the agitations of different groups/peoples
Asks the federal government to move to reflect the federal character in all its appointments especially as regards the country’s security architecture
Urges President Buhari to address the people and profer solution to the worsening security challenges in Nigeria.
Reading out a communique at the end of the meeting, the Chairman, Southern Governors forum and also the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, stated that the forum affirmed that the peoples of Southern Nigeria remain committed to the unity of Nigeria on the basis of Justice, fairness, equity, oneness and peaceful co-existence between and among its people with a focus on the attainment of shared goals for economic development and prosperity.
The forum also observed that the incursion of armed herders, criminals and bandits into the southern part of the country has presented a severe security challenge such that citizens are not able to live their normal lives including pursuing various productive activities leading to a threat to food supply and general security. Consequently, the meeting resolved that open grazing of cattle be banned across southern Nigeria.
They noted that development and population growth has put pressure on available land and increased the prospects of conflict between migrating herders and local populations in the South. Given this scenario, it becomes imperative to enforce the ban on open grazing in the South including cattle movement to the South by foot.
The forum recommended that the Federal Government should support willing states to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems, and agreed that the progress of the nation requires that urgent and bold steps be taken to restructure the Nigerian Federation leading to the evolution of state police, review of revenue allocation formula in favour of the sub-national governments and creation of other institutions which legitimately advance our commitment to and practice of true federalism.
The forum recommended that in view of widespread agitations among our various peoples for greater inclusiveness in existing governance arrangements, the Federal Government should convoke a national dialogue as a matter of urgency.
They recommended that in deference to the sensitiveness of our various peoples, there is a need to review appointments into Federal Government Agencies including Security Agencies to reflect the federal character as Nigeria’s overall population is heterogeneous.
They also resolved to foster cooperation among the southern states and nation at large while expressing concern on the continued gridlock on the Oshodi- Apapa Expressway and the chokehold it has exerted on the nation’s economy being the sole outlet from Apapa Wharf. The meeting, therefore, recommended the activation and establishment of ports in other states of the federation to create new jobs and promote socio-economic activities in the country.
The meeting expressed concern on the economic implications of another lockdown on the country and therefore suggested greater coordination and cooperation between the Federal and State Governments in evolving strategies for dealing with the pandemic.
The forum expressed very great concern on the security challenges currently plaguing the nation and strongly urged that Mr President should address Nigerians on challenges of insecurity and restore the confidence of our people while expressing gratitude to their host, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for his generosity.
The meeting had in attendance, The Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prof. Placid Njoku, Governors of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, Akwa Ibom, Chief Emmanuel Udom, Anambra State, Willie Obiano, Cross River State, Prof. Been Ayade, Ebonyi State, Engr. Dave Umahi, Ekiti State, John Olukayode Fayemi, Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, Oyo State, Oluwaseyi Abiodun Makinde.
Others are the Governors of Bayelsa State, Senator Diri Duoye, Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo- Olu, Osun State, Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola and Rivers State, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike.
It is expected of the outcome of the summit to better the society and Improve the zone.
9News Nigeria (Owerri)
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