• Umahi emerges new chairman
By Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
For the first time in over a year, five governors of the South-east states met yesterday in Enugu with a resolution to work together for the interest of the people of the zone.
The closed-door meeting which was held at the Government House, Enugu, had all the five governors present without any representation unlike in the past when some would send their deputies.
The governors included Victor Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Willie Obiano (Anambra) and Rochas Okorocha (Imo)
The governors who elected Ebonyi State Governor, Umahi, as their new Chairman, the first since the former Governor of Abia State, Senator Theodore Orji, left the position in 2015 also received briefings from the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, on the activities of the socio-cultural organisation and also from the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, on provisions of infrastructural development for the zone in the 2017 Appropriation Bill.
Briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, the new chairman of the forum said the governors had resolved to work together henceforth in order to improve the lots of the people of the zone and also took a critical look at a number of burning issues.
He said the meeting was mainly focused on security and economic integration of the zone in order to improve on the security of the five states and also tap from the abundant economic potential in the area.
On security, the governor said: “We’ve agreed to compare notes. We agreed to talk to the Commissioners of Police in our respective states on security integration so that such issues as kidnapping, armed robbery and other insecurities are look at together with a view to addressing them.
“We’ve noticed that whenever a kidnap occurs say in Ebonyi State, the victim is taken to another state, vice versa, the only way to arrest the situation is for us to work together, team up, that way, we’ll be able to secure lives and property of our people,” he said.
On economic integration, Governor Umahi said they also agreed on the imperativeness of working together, adding “we agreed that each of the governors will direct his commissioner for economic planning to also begin to compare notes and come up with a blueprint on how we will come up with proper integration of the zone. We have abundant wealth in our area and we can harness them if we come together.
“We also agreed to work together to compare notes and imbibe the spirit of peer review mechanism. Ebonyi learns from Imo, Abia, learns from Enugu, Anambra learns from Ebonyi. With that way, we will be able to come together for the good of our people. We also declared our support for the new leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and ask our people to give them all the necessary support,” he said.
He said he accepted his election as the new chairman of the forum with a pledge to provide effective leadership during his reign.
Earlier, while introducing their new Chairman, Abia State Governor, Ikpeazu explained that the choice of Umahi was because Abia and Anambra had earlier occupied the position through Orji and Peter Obi respectively.
Also, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nwodo expressed satisfaction that the governors had finally resolved to work together, noting that it portends good omen for the Igbo people in Nigeria.
He therefore urged them not to allow anything distract them in their new resolve to work together in the overall interest of Ndigbo, expressing hope that the renewed unity of the governors would eventually translate to better fortune for the people of the area.