By Akanimo Kufre, Uyo
Governors of the South East and South South of Nigeria have insisted that the Federal government should pay better revenue allocation to states in their regions in line with the current realities to guarantee the expectations of citizens.
Their call for increased revenue allocation was stated in a communiqué issued at the end of their meeting held at Government House in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state on Sunday.
The Governors under the aegis of South East and South South Governors’ Forum expressed dissatisfaction over what they described as the dwindling revenue accruable to states from the federation account despite increase in prices and production capacity of oil in the country.
In attendance at the Uyo meeting of the Forum were governors; Rochas Okorocha of Imo state, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.
The Deputy Governors of Cross River State, Prof Ivara Esu and that of Anambra State, Dr Nkem Okeke represented their principals at the meeting.
According to the communiqué, the awful state of road infrastructure in the South-East and South-South zones necessitated the Forum to suggest that the Federal Government should release all federal roads to states where they are located and facilitate legislation that would ease concession of such roads.
The Governors also appealed for urgent intervention by the Federal Government on some critical infrastructure located in the zones such as: the Port Harcourt International Airport, Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu and Sam Mbakwe International Airport, Owerri as well as several other dilapidated roads in the two zones.
Worried by the perceived shoddy approach to development infrastructure by some agencies of the Federal Government operating in the regions, the Forum appealed to the Federal Government to impress upon the agencies to liaise with the respective state governments in the identification and execution of projects.
According to the Forum, such approach will ensure that the projects embarked upon by the intervention agencies are in line with the developmental agenda of the respective states.
The communique, signed by the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel who is the chairman of the body, reiterated the forum’s earlier decision to move in the same direction that would be beneficial to the political and economic interests of the two zones.
Earlier in a welcome remark, the host and Chairman of the Forum, Governor Udom Emmanuel, said the commitment and zeal his colleagues have demonstrated to address the myriad of challenges that beset the two regions indicates that the formation of the forum was long overdue.
Governor Emmanuel noted that the regional cooperation they were building and the forthrightness exuded by them in tackling collective challenges will be of immense benefit to their people now and in the future.
He expressed satisfaction with the pragmatic way his colleagues were approaching the rising tide of agitations in the country, the call for restructuring and security, noting that the approach will deepen understanding and encourage a collective search for lasting solutions.
The Forum illustrated members’ collective resolve for an indivisible and indissoluble Nigeria as a cherished principle, it meanwhile appealed to the Federal Government to demonstrate transparency in the area of allocation of resources to different parts of the country.
It expressed the hope that the cooperation would yield positive results for the people and ease the process of meeting their hopes and aspirations.
The Forum congratulated Governor Willie Obiano on his successful re-election as Governor of Anambra State, noting that his success at the polls speaks eloquently of the trust the people of the state have in his ability to build a safe, united and prosperous state for them.