South East Governors Forum, after its meeting in Enugu, yesterday named a 10-man economic team to kick start its proposed regional economic integration aimed at boosting the local economy of the zone.
Addressing newsmen shortly after the meeting, chairman of the Forum, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State noted that each of the five states of the zone nominated two names to make up the 10-man economic team.
The members of the team as listed by the Enonyi governor are Dr. Chukwuma Agu, Dr. Ene Okoro, Ifeatu Onejeme, Mark Okoye, Prof. Bernard Odo, Mr. Denis Ekumankama, Prof. Barth Nnaji, Prof. Osita Ogbu, Barr. Obinna Mbata and Chief Iyke Njoku.
They will be inaugurated during their next meeting of the forum scheduled for June 4th at the Nike Lake Hotel, Enugu.
The governors who had a session with the Deputy President of the Senate, Chief Ike Ekweremadu disclosed that the Nike Lake meeting will involve members of the National Assembly for their contributions in the zonal economic agenda.
Umahi told newsmen that the forum discussed extensively about the economic agenda for South East; “last time we told you about some integration of the states, like the railways, the power, the commerce, seaport among others.
“And so we have taken some necessary steps forward by referring these our intentions to our economic team so that they will do the preliminary studies, invite some consultants and then be able to do some presentations to us in the next meeting.
“We also interfaced with the South East economic Corporation. We had extensive meetings with them. Earlier on, they had a meeting with our economic team and we are expecting to know the areas of cooperation and the necessary assistance they will be giving to the forum.
“We also interfaced with the Bank of Agriculture; they are very important in the Agric Programme of the South East. They gave us some briefing and we asked them to put down; what their capacities and operations they can give to each of our states. I have also made presentations to the economic team so that they understand their areas of operations, what we can benefit from them.
“But one thing very important is that the anchor borrowers of the Central Bank is being handled by them, so we want to get the much we can from them. Of course they are not happy that the funds to South East is not as it should be so they are very happy with the governors for this initiative’’.
that through the governors we should be able to get our due share of the Agric funds
“We also discussed the power needs in the South East which is the catalyst for our development and we have invited the team of Geometrics. You know Geometrics set up a power plant in Aba, we want to know the reasons why these are not injected into the system. We believe that the injection will help the entire South East; it can power the entire south east and further assist us in the area of our cement, breweries as well as our commerce.
“We have also invited the Enugu Electricity Distribution Compmay, EEDC, and in due course we will be interacting with a team from EEDC to know their challenges and ways and means we can improve on power distribution in the zone.”
The governors further discussed the proper setting up of its secretariat hoping to get nominees from the state, “and we would give the nominees to DFID who will do the due diligence and then make some recommendation to us.
“The other staff of the forum will be sourced; already there are existing staff of the forum from Enugu State. They will be properly put together so that our robust secretariat will take off in ernest.
“The same process of selecting our Director General will also be the same process of selecting our media consultant,” Umahi concluded.
The governors that attended yesterday meeting were Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia State, Willy Obiano, Anambra, and Dave Umuahia of Ebonyi State.
Deputy governor of Imo State Prince Eze Madumere represented Governor Rochas Okorocha.