By Tope Musowo
Twelve years after their last gathering, governors from the Southern part of Nigeria will today converge on Lagos to deliberate on how to forge stronger ties among the three geo-political zones.
In a statement signed by the Secretary to the Lagos State Government (SSG), Mr Tunji Bello, 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 contiguous 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.
According to him, the governors are also 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 lately.
“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,” Bello said.
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 17 Southern States 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.