For the first time in 12 years, governors from the southern Nigeria will on Monday meet in Lagos to deliberate on how to forge stronger ties between the three geo-political zones – Southwest, Southsouth and Southeast.
Secretary to the Lagos State Government (SSG), Mr Tunji Bello, in a statement, said the meeting which will be co-hosted by the Governors of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode and Akwa Ibom, Emmanuel Udom will address issues that are germane to the development of the three zones.
Bello said the meeting is in line with the realisation that the different states in the south have since 2005 developed several areas of comparative advantage which could be harnessed and become mutually beneficial.
He said the 17 governors would be expected to adopt a common position on the issues of armed robbery, kidnapping, devolution of powers and issue of fiscal federalism which have all gained prominence of late.
He said: “The 2017 Lagos summit of the 17 Southern Governors representing the South South, South West and South East zones is expected to come up with a communiqué after the deliberation.
“It is noteworthy to recall that the inaugural meeting of the Southern Governors took place in Lagos in 2001 under the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu”
The statement added that the predominance of views is that if the Southern States speak with one voice, they are bound to attract weighty and credible listenership.
The governors expected at the summit include Governors Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom; Ben Ayade- Cross Rivers State; Godwin Obaseki – Edo State; Nyesom Wike – Rivers State; Ifeanyi Okowa – Delta State; Seriake Dickson- Bayelsa and Rochas Okorocha- Imo State.
Others are Willie Obiano – Anambra State; Okezie Ikpeazu – Abia State; David Umahi – Ebonyi State; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi -Enugu State; Rauf Aregbesola – State of Osun; Abiola Ajimobi – Oyo; Ibikunle Amosun –Ogun; Oluwarotimi Akeredolu – Ondo; Ayodele Fayose – Ekiti and Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State.
The last meeting of southern governors held 12 years ago.