The people in the South-West, South-South and Southeast of Nigeria has applauded the coming together and cooperation between the governors in the southern part of Nigeria to put an end to the insecurity situation troubling the region. That it is a wake-up call and it’s a timely call. Although, prior to this time, the masses had perceived their governors to be lethargic in their approach to curb and stop the incessant killings by herdsmen, which has been one of the major talking points.
What the governors in the southern regions had done before now is to meet with the federal government to help them fight the insecurity menace in their various states but it seems the government at the centre was too busy to attend to their plights, and this facilitated the coming together of the governors to fight together in unity and also demand what they feel should be the right of the southerners. One of these is zoning Presidency back to the South come 2023.
The Northerners, especially their politicians have been talking tough since the communique by the governors was released a few weeks back.
To say that the 17 Southern states governors have woken up from their slumber is an understatement, they are now demanding to bargain for more as they are battle ready to tackle the insecurity In their regions/domains.
During the last President Buhari interview on Arise TV in Abuja, The President then berated state governors and said they were not doing enough to stop armed Fulani herdsmen’s invaders in their states, and revealed how recently two South-West governors visited him to complain about herdsmen encroaching on farmers’ lands in their regions. He told them: “You know these people more than I do, and you are democratically elected to protect your people. Don’t sit idly expecting me to do everything. Take action. Go back and fix it, give your people a sense of belonging.
“I don’t like it when people campaign to become governors and people trusted them with their votes and after winning, they can’t perform, they’re trying to push responsibilities to others.”
These are some of the utterances that empowered the governors to act together in unity and protect their regions. But it’s now a threat to the north as many of them think it’s a gang up against the Buhari regime.
People in the Southern part are a bit relieved and have applauded these laudable steps. And for the first time they can be proud of their governors for having their backs. Prior to this time, people in the regions have been calling on governors to fight for them against Fulani encroachments, invaders.
The 17 states governors in the southern regions have been holding meetings in the last few months and have been sending strong messages to the federal government.
A few weeks back, they met under the aegis of the Southern Governors’ Forum to deliberate on the state of the nation, weeks after a similar gathering at Asaba, the Delta capital. In a statement issued at the end of the parley, the governors stated their position on several issues, including insecurity in Nigeria.
(1) Re-affirmed their commitment to the unity of Nigeria on the pillars of equity, fairness, justice, progress and peaceful co-existence between and amongst its people.
(2) The Forum reiterates its commitment to the politics of equity, fairness and unanimously agree 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.
(3) Security: a.The Forum reviewed the security situation in the country and commends security operatives for their relentless efforts in restoring security and safety and commiserates with families and loved ones of those who have fallen in the line of duty;
(b) Re-emphasised the need for State Police;
(c) 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;
(d) the forum frowns at selective criminal administration of Justice and resolved that arrests should be made within the ambit of the Law and fundamental human rights;
(e) Set a timeline of Wednesday, 1st September 2021 for the promulgation of the anti-open grazing law in all Member States; and
(f) 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.
(4) Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) Law: i. The Forum commends the National Assembly for the progress made in the passage of the PIB;
ii. the Forum rejects the proposed 3% and support the 5% share of the oil revenue to the host community as recommended by the House of Representatives;
iii. the forum also rejects the proposed 30% share of profit for the exploration of oil and gas in the basins;
iv. However, the forum rejects the ownership structure of the proposed Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC). The Forum disagrees that the company be vested in the Federal Ministry of Finance but should be held in trust by Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) since all tiers of Government have stakes in that vehicle.
5. In order to consolidate our democracy and strengthen the electoral process, the Southern Governors’ Forum reject the removal of the Electronic transmission of the election result from the electoral act; and also rejects the confirmation of exclusive jurisdiction in pre-election matters on the Federal High Court.
6. The Forum unanimously chose Lagos State as its permanent secretariat and appreciated the Governor of Lagos for the wonderful hosting of this meeting while commending him for his good work in the State.
A few days back the South-West governors also had another meeting in Abuja where Governors in the South-West geopolitical zone have proposed conversion of the present six geopolitical zones into federating units, as part of the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution by the National Assembly.
The South West Governors’ Forum, in a document presented to members of the National Assembly from the geopolitical zone also made other proposals to weaken central government, while allocating more powers to the federating units and states.
It was reported that a document containing the proposals by the governors, which was presented to the South-West caucus of the National Assembly on Tuesday. The governors had met with the lawmakers in Abuja behind closed doors last week.
The governors at the meeting were Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo State), who is also the Chairman of the South West Governors’ Forum; Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti State), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun).
After the meeting, Akeredolu had said the South-West would be approaching the constitution amendment with a common front.
He added that the meeting had set a committee made of up senators led by the caucus chairman (Opeyemi Bamidele) and House of Representatives Caucus Chairman (Femi Fakeye) and attorneys-generals of the South-West states.
The committee is to harmonise our position so that we can present it when necessary before the two Houses and at the end of the day, have a constitutional amendment and have our serious input. Thank you all,” he had said.
These moves by the governors in the southern part of Nigeria has been commended and applauded by well-meaning Nigerians, that it’s the way forward for Nigeria to attain its greatness.