Southeast Governors Forum: Task before Umahi

Last Sunday in Enugu, two good things happened to the Igbo Nation. They were the resuscitation of the comatose Southeast Governors Forum and the reconciliation of Governors Willie Obiano and Rochas Okorocha of Anambra and Imo States. These are two events that will no doubt go a long way in repositioning the Southeast at this critical time in her history.
Before now, many people from these parts had expressed concern about the lack of cooperation among the Southeast governors, a lack which had contrived to relegate the zone to the background. This anomaly had been more pronounced given the activeness of the zone in the immediate past.
Indeed, it had seemed as if the zone would be perennially doomed by lack of leadership as no efforts were made towards re-activating the leadership machinery of the zone.
It was in the midst of this gloom that the governors of Anambra and Imo States engaged in a media war of words over an issue that should not have warranted such. Many saw that spat as the final nail on the coffin of leadership in the Southeast Zone.
However, a light has appeared at the end of the tunnel, with the lifting of the gloom at last Sunday’s meeting of the governors of the Southeast in Enugu which threw up the governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, as the forum’s chairman and now, it all looks like the forum will be back on its feet. It is even better also now that all the governors will be operating with open minds – thanks to the reconciliation between Obiano and Okorocha.
Although details of the reconciliation were not ascertained, both Obiano and Okorocha were pictured in a warm embrace, signifying the return of friendship between them.
With that ugly chapter in their relations gone, and the governors forum revitalised, the expectations are that the Southeast Zone will move fast to recover lost ground. This is the task before Gov Umahi. The forum should also strive to entrench itself in the national consciousness by making itself relevant. It should be seen as a forum that is truly representative of Igbo aspirations and should work closely with the Ohaneze Ndigbo, an umbrella body of all Igbo groups.
The forum should map out a comprehensive agenda for the Igbo Nation which must be conclusively pursued and implemented. It should clearly not leave the rest of the country in doubt as to what the Igbo want from Nigeria. Above all, the governors must always speak in one voice, despite belonging to different political parties. In essence, Igbo interest should be their manifesto and their party, Igbo. The era of just forming a forum for the sake of such is over.
We are happy that it is already showing signs of collaborating with the Ohaneze, given the presence of Ohaneze’s leader at the meeting and the encouraging discussion they held.
They also promised to work towards boosting the economy of the Southeast Zone, as well as working in concert to ensure better security in the zone.
We however urge them to also work towards resuscitating the moribund Nigercem Cement Factory at Nkalagu which was one of the mainstays of the Southeast economy while it operated.
There is no gainsaying the fact that reviving it will offer countless job opportunities to people in this zone.
The new set of governors should start from where their predecessors stopped and ensure there is no lacuna again. This is the only way anything meaningful can be achieved