Before Things Go South: Governors of Southern Nigeria ‘strike’ a second time | The #YNaijaCover

It’s another day, the beginning of a new week in the second half of 2021, and the Governors from Southern Nigeria are making resolutions more representatively than actual ‘Honourables’ and ‘Senators.’

On May 4, 2021, in one sign of an elite alarm over the putrification of security in Nigeria, representatives from fifteen of the seventeen southern states met virtually. The meeting happened again physically on May 11 in Asaba, the Delta State capital, to “harmonise their positions.”

The resolutions of the latter meeting which is now known as the Asaba Accord included the declaration of a ban on open grazing in their states, as a solution to the incessant herdsmen attacks. Representatives included governors and deputy governors who met under the revived auspices of the Southern Nigerian Governors’ Forum (SNGF).

This time, the meeting focused largely on the still deteriorating security situation, amendment of the Electoral Act and the recently passed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

Those present at the meeting included Chairman of the forum, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos who hosted the meet, Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, and Philip Shaibu, Deputy Governor of Edo, who represented Governor Godwin Obaseki.

Others were Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom, Diri Duoye of Bayelsa, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, David Umahi of Ebonyi, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Hope Uzodimma of Imo, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, and Seyi Makinde of Oyo.

A communique issued at the end of the meeting “reaffirmed the Forum’s commitment to the unity of Nigeria on the pillars of equity, fairness, justice, progress and peaceful co-existence between and amongst its people.”

As a follow-up to resolutions from the previous meeting, the governors set September 1, 2021, as the deadline for the promulgation of anti-open grazing law among its member states and re-emphasised the need for state police. This is as they also “resolved that Funds deducted from the Federation Account for the Nigeria Police Security Trust Fund should be distributed among the States and Federal Government to combat security challenges.

In an apparent reference to the DSS and other security agencies combined raid on Yoruba Activist, Sunday Igboho’s home last week, they “resolved that if for any reason security institutions need to undertake an operation in any State, the Chief Security Officer of the State must be duly informed.”

On the issue of PIB, the governors rejected the proposed 3 percent share of the oil revenue to the host community and supported 5 percent. They rejected the proposed 30 percent share of profit for the exploration of oil and gas in the basins.

According to the communiqué issued “The Forum reiterates its commitment to the politics of equity, fairness and unanimously agrees that the presidency of Nigeria be rotated between Southern and Northern Nigeria and resolved that the next president of Nigeria should emerge from the Southern Region.”

Some conversations raised from this meeting – like the insistence of State Police and the rotation of the President between the South and the North – will stay a while and 2023 may just be an icebreaker for all of this.

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