Twelve years after their last gathering, governors from the Southern part of the country will, on Monday converge on Lagos to deliberate on how to forge stronger ties for the three geo-political zones.
In a statement by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Tunji Bello, the meeting which will be co-hosted by the governors of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode and Akwa Ibom, Emmanuel Udom, will address issues that are germane to the development of the three contiguous zones.
Bello said the meeting was in line with the realisation that the different states in the South have since 2005 developed several areas of comparative advantage which could be harnessed and made mutually beneficial.
According to him, the governors will also be expected to adopt a common position on the issues of robbery, kidnapping, devolution of powers and fiscal federalism which have all gained prominence of late.
“The 2017 Lagos summit of the 17 Southern governors representing the South-South, South-West and South -East zones is expected to come up with a communiqué after the deliberation.
“It is noteworthy to recall that the inaugural meeting of the southern governors took place in Lagos in 2001 under the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu,” Bello said.
The statement added that the “predominance of views is that if the Southern states speak with one voice, they are bound to attract weighty and credible listenership.”
The 17 southern state governors expected at the summit include Governors Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom; Ben Ayade of Cross Rivers State; Godwin Obaseki of Edo State; Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State; Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa and Rochas Okorocha of Imo State.
Others are Willie Obiano of Anambra State; Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State; David Umahi of Ebonyi State; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State; Rauf Aregbesola of State of Osun; Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo; Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun; Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo; Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti and Ambode of Lagos State.