GOVERNORS from across the 17 states that make up southern Nigeria held a virtual meeting yesterday during which they expressed concern about the insecurity currently raging across Nigeria and the possible secessionist threat it poses.
More than at any other time in her history, Nigeria is currently in the throes of unprecedented violence with Boko Haram terrorist attacks, kidnapping, rape, banditry and armed robber all daily occurrences. With heavily armed Fulani cattle herdsmen being at the centre of most of the violence, there have been calls from various parts of southern Nigeria for the country to be balkanised as most of the violence is being perpetuated by northerners.
Yesterday, the Southern Nigeria Governors Forum met to discuss the state of the nation, with the governors deliberating how to stop the country from degenerating into anarchy. Apparently the meeting was called at the instance of chairman of the South West Governors’ Forum, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State along with the respective chairmen of the South-South Governors’ Forum and South East Governors’ Forum, Governors Ifeanyi Okowa and David Umahi.
In total, 15 of the 17 governors attended the meeting, including Governor Kayode Fayemi, the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum. Other attendees were governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), David Umahi (Ebonyi), Godswin Obaseki, (Edo), Lolo Cecilia Ezeilo (deputy, Enugu), Douye Diri (Bayelsa), Emmanuel Udom (Akwa Ibom), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Hope Uzodimma (Imo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Babajide Sanwoolu (Lagos).
At the meeting, the governors, who called for commitment and unity in addressing issues affecting the country, stressed the need to put the nation first in the face of trying times. It is believed that part of the governors’ resolution was to meet in Asaba, Delta State, next week to harmonise positions aimed at dousing the tension in the country.
One source close to one of the governors said: “The three governors, especially the chairman of the South West Governors’ Forum, have provided good leadership and direction to the extent that a proper path to confidence building has been laid. It is coming a bit late but it has largely shown that there are still leaders who think of the nation’s unity first before any other.
“The kernel of the meeting was that Nigeria is too important to let into conflagration. It’s a good move, no doubt.”