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Govs Udom, Ayade call for South-south economic integration

Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State and his Cross River State counterpart, Ben Ayade, have stressed the need to reconvene a forum for leaders in Nigeria’s South-South region.

Both governors said the meeting would enable governors and political leaders in the region to discuss ways of fostering peace, unity and development of the Niger Delta region, which they said would have a multiplier effect on the growth of the region.

Mr. Ayade noted that some identified areas of possible discuss among the South-South states would focus on agriculture, solid minerals, oil and gas, as well as manufacturing sub-sector.

He said this on Tuesday while briefing reporters in Calabar, after a closed door meeting with Governor Udom Emmanuel and the Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, who paid him a visit.

Ayade stated that the enlarged meeting is in line with the current economic realities, as the outcome of galvanising the economic potentials in the region would be for the good of its citizens.

“We have raised concerns about frontier explorations because very little is being done in the direction of trying to expand the oil reserves and production, in the direction of Cross River State and other parts of the Niger Delta.

“I must say also that our discussion was on how to deepen the unity between us and how to strengthen the South-South love in relationship to the Nigerian Question, and we have also agreed that very soon we would call a meeting with the South-South leaders.

“We must have a South-South forum where the governors of the South-South and the National Assembly members, as well as other leaders must sit and discuss the National Question,” he stressed.


On his part, Governor Udom said rather than engaging in war, the people should unite together and tackle the threat of poverty in the region.

“We are looking at possible economic frontiers between Akwa Ibom and Cross River States to develop the two states.

“Rather than engage in war, we want to channel the vast energies into useful ventures to better the lots of our people, because we can’t continue to pay lip service to poverty alleviation,” he said.

Also speaking, Senator Akpabio expressed delight at the meeting which he described as the beginning of greater unity in the South-South geo-political zone, starting with states that have common heritage.

“Cross River has a vast land mass that if properly harnessed, is capable of employing a large army of unemployed youths and take them off the streets.

“If we are able to engage in commercial farming, apart from employing our people, we can also become the food belt of this great nation and it will go a long way to deepen the unity of these two great states,” he noted.

The leaders however, warned those fermenting trouble along the border lines of the two states to have a change of mind of face the wrath of the law.

— Culled from Channels Tv

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