July 5, 2021

Southern Governors Forum: Again, Cross River, Anambra states governors absent

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Governors of the Southern States of Nigeria on Monday met in Lagos to deliberate on matters affecting the region just as the governors of Cross River and Anambra states were again absent from the crucial gathering.

The Governors, in the meeting, reiterated the call for true federalism and devolution of powers to states.

Governor, Ondo State and Chairman, Southern Governors’ Forum, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, stated these among others while reading communique issues at end of the meeting of the Southern Governors of Nigeria, held at the State House, Alausa, Ikeja.

 Governors present include: Delta-Ifeayin Okowa, Rivers-Nyensom Wike, Ogun-Dapo Abiodun, Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Osun-Gboyega Oyetola, Akwa Ibom- Emmanuel Udom, Ekiti Kayode Fayemi, Bayelsa-Douye Diri, Oyo- Seyi Makinde, Enugu – Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

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Represented, include: Edo, deputy Governor, Philip Shuaibu, Imo Deputy Governor, Placid Njokwu, Abia State, Oko Chukwu, Eboyin, Kelechi Igwe

While those absent are: Anambra and the Cross River States.

The Governors, in a communique at the end of the meeting read by Akeredolu, at about 4 pm, resolved: “The Southern Governors Forum at the end of the meeting held on Monday, 5th July 2021 reviewed the situation in the Country and focused on the current security situation, constitutional amendment, Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

“Rising from the meeting, the Forum agreed on the following:  Re-affirmed their commitment to the unity of Nigeria on the pillars of equity, fairness, justice, progress and peaceful co-existence between and amongst its people.

“The Forum reiterates its commitment to the politics of equity, fairness and unanimously agrees that the presidency of Nigeria be rotated between Southern and Northern Nigeria and resolved that the next president of Nigeria should emerge from the Southern Region.

“On security, the forum reviewed the security situation in the country and commends security operatives for their relentless efforts in restoring security and safety and commiserates with families and loved ones of those who have fallen in the line of duty;

“Re-emphasised the need for State Police;

“Resolved that if for any reason security institutions need to undertake an operation in any state, the Chief Security Officer of the State must be duly informed.

“The forum frowns at selective criminal administration of Justice and resolved that arrests should be made within the ambit of the Law and fundamental human rights; Set a timeline of Wednesday, 1st September 2021 for the promulgation of the anti-open grazing law in all Member States; and

“Resolved that Funds deducted from the Federation Account for the Nigeria Police Security Trust Fund should be distributed among the States and Federal Government to combat security challenges.

Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) Law: The Forum commends the National Assembly for the progress made in the passage of the PIB.

The Forum rejects the proposed 3% and supports the 5% share of the oil revenue to the host community as recommended by the House of Representatives.

“The forum also rejects the proposed 30 per cent share of profit for the exploration of oil and gas in the basins.

“However, the forum rejects the ownership structure of the proposed Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC). The Forum disagrees that the company be vested in the Federal Ministry of Finance but should be held in trust by Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) since all tiers of Government have stakes in that vehicle.

“In order to consolidate our democracy and strengthen the Electoral process, the Southern Governors’ Forum rejects the removal of the Electronic transmission of the election result from the electoral act; and also rejects the confirmation of exclusive jurisdiction in pre-election matters on the Federal High Court.

“The Forum unanimously chose Lagos State as its permanent secretariat and appreciated the Governor of Lagos State for the wonderful hosting of this meeting while commending him for his good work in the State.”

Vanguard News Nigeria