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* Calls For Expeditious Action On Anti-Open Grazing Law, Re-commits To Fiscal Federalism

By Valentine Nnamani (Bureau Chief South East, in Enugu)

The Nigerian Southern Governors’ Forum, on Thursday, met in Enugu and reviewed the state of the nation and the progress of implementation of the decisions reached in their previous meetings and further resolved, among others, that it re-affirms its earlier position that the 2023 Presidency must come to the South.

The governors who held their meeting at the Lion Building Government House in Enugu, also expressed satisfaction with the rate at which the States in the Southern Nigeria are enacting or amending the Anti- Open Grazing Laws. The Forum observed this aligns with the uniform template and aspiration of the Southern Governors. They encouraged the States that are yet to enact this law to do so expeditiously.

Among the resolution of the Southern Governor's as contained in a communique they issued shortly after the conclave, is the encouragement of the full operationalization of the already agreed regional security outfits, which, they said, would meet, share intelligence and collaborate, to ensure the security and safety of the region.

The governor's also re-affirmed its earlier commitment to fiscal federalism as already resolved at their inaugural meeting of Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at Asaba, Delta State. At that meeting, they had emphasized the need for the Southern States to leverage the legislative competence of their respective State Houses of Assembly as well as representation in the National assembly to pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian Constitution through the ongoing constitutional amendment.

The communique further stated that following from paragraph “3” above, the meeting resolved to support the position that the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the States. It expressed satisfaction with the handling of issues around the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and ownership of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by the larger Nigerian Governors’ Forum.

They also reiterated their earlier position that the next President of Nigeria must come from the Southern part of Nigeria in line with politics of equity, justice and fairness. The Forum however thanked the host Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and chose Rivers State as the next host for the Southern Governors’ Forum meeting in November 2021.

The Enugu meeting was attended by eight state governors and seven deputy governors who represented their governors.

The governors in attendance were those of Ondo (Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN) who is the Chairman of the Forum; host governor, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State; Gboyega Oyetola (Osun State); Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta State); Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos State); Sen. Douye Diri (Bayelsa State) and
Udom Emmnuel (Akwa Ibom State).

Other governors including deputies are: Nyesom Wike (Rivers State); Prince Dapo Abiodun (Ogun State); Hon. Shaibu Philip (Dep. Governor, Edo State); Prof. Placid Njoku (Dep. Governor, Imo State); Sir Ude Oko Chukwu (Dep. Governor, Abia State); Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi (Dep. Governor, Ekiti State); Dr. Eric Kelechi Igwe (Dep. Governor, Ebonyi State); Rauf Olaniyan (Dep. Governor, Oyo State) and Prof. Ivara Ejemot Esu (Dep.

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