In continuation of the search for solution to the numerous challenges facing the Igbo, the South East Governors’ Forum (SEGF) working with the Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Nzuko Umunna; an Igbo think tank, will before December, organise a maiden leadership retreat in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state.
Ebonyi State Governor and Chairman SEGF, Chief David Umahi, stated this at the weekend, when a delegation of Nzuko Umunna led by the immediate past President General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural body, Chief Gary Igariwey, met with him in Government House, Abakaliki, to discuss critical issues relating to the development of the region.
He urged Nzuko Umunna to continue to work for the unity and progress of Ndigbo, warning that it should never allow itself to be used to promote any partisan political interest.
In accepting to host the retreat, Umahi promised to get the South-East Governors to support it.
He disclosed that the governors had gone far and would soon roll out a comprehensive regional cooperation roadmap that would lift the economy, security and general wellbeing of people of the South East.
Earlier, Igariwey told Umahi that there was urgent need for regional cooperation in the South East in virtually every area of life, stressing that only such progressive move would guarantee the future of the zone in Nigeria.
“It is extremely important that the development plan of each of the South East states be integrated into a comprehensive blueprint of the South East region rather than States countering one another or becoming unnecessarily competitive against ourselves.
“Let the benefits of each state be extended to other states as an economic block. These should be the thrust of our integration,” he said.
On the retreat, Igariwey explained that it will have all the South East Governors, National Assembly caucus, principal officers of the Houses of Assembly as well as members of the state executive councils of the five states, in attendance.
“It will be the first of its kind as we believe it will go a long way in helping us organize our family.
“The retreat will help to jointly address the critical issue of security, as well as the concept of cooperation on such issues as, regional education, economic roadmap focusing on such things as new areas of science and technology, setting up South East tech hubs and intelligence information network,” he stated.
According to him, from this project will emerge the impetus towards an eventual complete package of South East integration; be it on security, economy, education, politics and socio-cultural reinvention.
The group commended Umahi for the numerous infrastructural projects he has delivered in the state; and identified the cement road model and use of direct labour, as what should be copied by other sister states.