Recently the Southern Governor’s Forum had a meeting in Enugu to basically address issues of common interest among the people of the affected zones comprising Southeast, South South and South West.
The governors of Lagos, Ondo, Osun and Ogun states were physically present. They include Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Rotimi Akeredolu, Adegboyega Oyetola and Dapo Abiodun, respectively.
The rest who did not come sent their deputies. But of all the five Southeast governors, only the host, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, of Enugu State, was the governor from the Southeast to be physically present.
The other Southeast states of Imo, Abia and Ebonyi, sent their deputies for a meeting held in their backyard. But as though that was not bad enough, Anambra was the only state that failed to attend or send a representation.
The action of the Southeast governors is not only shameful but has proved right, the claims of those that are of the opinion that the Southeast governors have lost focus, as well as the respect of the people they lead.
It is this perception of the Southeast governors by their own people that has given rise to the takeover of the zone by non-state actors who now dictate what happens in the Southeast Zone. A very sad development, no doubt.
Again, while many South West governors have signed into law, the Anti-Open Grazing Bill, many Southeast governors are not only still dragging their feet but giving no indication of signing the bill any time soon. It is only the governors of Enugu and Abia States that have done the needful. Anambra, Imo and Ebonyi are yet to do so.
Why the rest of the Southeast governors have not signed the bill is what many cannot comprehend, especially when signing it is aimed at protecting their own people from clashing with herdsmen and saving their crops.
Some people believe that the failure of some of these governors to sign the bill is because they are either currying favour from Abuja to feather their political nests or because they are afraid.
Whatever reason that may be attributed to these governors not assenting to the bill, the fact remains that the governors are letting their people down at a very critical moment in the nation’s history.
It will also be remembered that while the South West governors have since floated and been running their regional security outfit successfully, the one (Ebube Agu) formed by the Southeast governors died on arrival, leaving the zone with nothing to protect themselves.
It was the lacuna formed by that failure that the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, exploited to form theirs. Regardless of whether Eastern Security Network formed by IPOB is doing a good job or not, the fact that they were able to form theirs again portrayed the governors as unfeeling and lacking focus; even balls, to take charge of their zones.
Worse still, the developments in the Anambra State House of Assembly which saw five members defect to the All Progressives Congress, APC, mean that the Anambra State governor may not be able to sign the bill again, having lost the majority in the legislature. This is the price to pay for dilly dallying.
It is a pity that the Southeast governors are scared or disinterested in embracing measures that are beneficial to their people and so long as this attitude continues, the governors will continue ceding power, willy-nilly, to non-state actors.