From Chidi Nnadi and Petrus Obi, Enugu
South-East Governors’s Forum, yesterday, elected Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Dave Umahi as its new chairman.
The last chairman of the forum was former Abia State governor, Chief T.A. Orji and since his exit, the governors of the zone have not met under one umbrella.
Abia State Governor, Chief Okezie Ikpeazu, who disclosed this to newsmen at the Enugu Government House after their meeting said Anambra, under former governor Peter Obi and Abia under T.A. Orji had served their terms as chairmen, saying it is now the turn of Ebonyi State.
Ikpeazu, therefore, handed the microphone to the new chairman, Umahi to brief the press on the outcome of their meeting.
According to the new chairman, one of the decisions they took was to support the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, which the governors in the zone had neglected over the years.
The governors, who also met for the first time with all of them in attendance, may have also resolved the differences between Governors Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and Willie Obiano of Anambra State who had engaged in war of words.
The two governors had greeted each other in a friendly manner at the meeting, which also had the Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu and Ohanaeze Ndigbo President General, Chief Nnia Nwodo in attendance.
Umahi disclosed that Ekweremadu briefed the governors on the state of infrastructure in the zone, particularly, as it concerns the 2017 budget. He also said they discussed security integration and the need for the governors to always compare notes, so as to reduce kidnapping, armed robbery and other security challenges.
Umahi said they also discussed the economic integration of the region with a mandate to the relevant state commissioners to develop a blueprint on how to achieve the new initiative.
He noted that with the abundant wealth scattered in the region, they could work together to enhance the wealth of the people.
He said they also agreed to work together by adopting the peer group mechanism, whereby the governors would learn from what is happening in sister states, saying “through that means, we will be able to copy and paste what is happening in the states for the betterment of our people.”