PDP Chieftain Tasks South-south Govs on Revival of BRACED Commission

Sylvester Idowu in Warri

A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Delta State gubernatorial aspirant, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, has appealed to governors of the states in South-south geo-political zone to revive the moribund BRACED (Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta) Commission for economic development,  integration and regional security.

The commission was formed in 2010 after a week-long first South-South Economic Summit held at Tinapa in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, which was attended by all the governors of the six states of the region in 2009.

It was established to foster regional economic cooperation and integration to achieve sustainable development through the development of a strong regional economy for the collective benefit of the people of the South-south, and invigorate the process of regional economic cooperation and integration.

Appealing for the revival of the commission in a statement yesterday, Onuesoke noted that the objectives and importance of the commission could not be overemphasised in view of the present economic reality in Nigeria.

The chairman of DAS Energy Services Limited, Udu near Warri, maintained that if revived, it will harness the socio-economic potential of the region and also initiate policies and programmes to encourage south-south economic cooperation and regional integration.

He said the South-south states needed a strong regional integration like the Odua in the South-western states of Nigeria by jointly contributing funds because the more fund they gathered, the easier they could buy shares in the oil companies and other corporate organisations.

According to him, “They can even raise funds and build a refinery. They can build roads and turn the roads into toll gates to raise funds. They can build railway lines to link the states. For example, Shell wants to depart Nigeria. Why can’t the BRACED states buy over Shell shares? It will become a regional economic strong force. The more they join financial forces they can fund cement companies, fund breweries, insurance companies which will increase employment within the South-south states.”

The PDP chieftain suggested that the BRACED states should collaborate with the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as well as the Sub Sovereign Future Fund to undertake mega projects and turn the Niger Delta states into Eldorado.

“It is workable so far we can conceive the idea. It has happened in other places and it is presently happening in other climes so why not in BRACED states,” he argued.

Onuesoke stated further that the reason for the creation of the commission was beyond politics, adding that even if different political parties emerged in the region as we have today, it wouldn’t affect the objectives behind the creation of the body.

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