By Emeka Mama & Dennis Agbo
ENUGU – Eight out of Eleven Governors of were, on Sunday present at the maiden meeting of South East/South South Governors taking place in Enugu.
Those who were present included Governors of Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ebonyi, Imo, Bayelsa, Enugu and Anambra state, represented by the Deputy Governor.
Three Governors including that Edo, Delta and Abia states were still to come as at the time the meeting started at Nike Lake Resort Hotel at about 7: 45pm.
In his welcome address, host Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi expressed happiness that the meeting was coming at a time when the eastern railway corridor was excluded from the national railway network to be constructed with a $5 billion loan from Chinese Exim Bank.
Ugwuanyi said that at the last South East Leaders meeting that centered on separatist agitation, they voted for a restructured but united country and hoped that today’s meeting will adopt the same position.
He also noted that there was nobody that could connect any flight from Port Hartcourt or Cross River without or any other place in the zone without first connecting Lagos.
“This meeting is not only an epochal reunion but home coming for all of us including Edo and Delta states which where in former Mid Western region.
“This meeting will fundamentally help us to understand and set a common regional agenda.
“The essence of government is the welfare of the people….
“It is against this background that this meeting becomes not only providential but essential as both South East and south south cooperation will engender economic prosperity.
“Working together, we stand to gain our due share from the country.
“As at today, only 9 percent of power generated is allocated to both south east and south south and tourism is under developed.
“I believe that progressive ideas will flow as we progress in this meeting, that there will be a dawn of new Era arising from the the new cooperation between the south south and the south east,” Ugwuanyi said.
Chairman of South South Governors’ forum and Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Udom Emmanuel noted that since it was an inaugural meeting, a chairman will emerge at the end of the deliberations.