By Ime Silas, theprofilenewspaper.com
The member representing Etinan/Nsit Ibom/Nsit Ubium Federal Constituency at the green chamber of the National Assembly, Rt. Hon Onofiok Luke, said he received with joy the news of governors of South South region of Nigeria coming together to form a regional security outfit to cater for the safety of the region’s citizens.
Onofiok, who is a two-time member and immediate-past Speaker of the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly, was elected in 2019 to represent his federal constituency.
Speaking through a release which came on the heels of the meeting of six governors of Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta states, which he personally signed and was made available to our paper, the federal lawmaker noted that he had earlier suggested the idea of a regional security outfit in his article published in 2012, saying that such would enhance economic development of the oil-rich region.
The release reads thus in full:
“I received with joy the news of the outcome of the South South Governors Forum meeting that held in the Government House Asaba, Delta State, where the six leaders of our region resolved on two paramount issues:
1.The urgent need to have a regional security outfit for the South-South 2. Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers, Edo and Delta (BRACED) Commission, the economic think-tank of the region, to work out the details of the proposed security outfit.
This action has clearly demonstrated that the Governors of the South South region are deeply passionate about repositioning the economically viable zone for greatness through a profitable regional integration agenda.
Eight years ago, in my published article titled “Consolidating on the gains of the South South Summit” following the 2012 South-South Economic Summit, I wrote in support of the idea that it was time that the region took seriously the pressing need to harmonise their economic interests and consolidate on their inherent potentials in order to better meet the economic needs of their states.
“I voiced out that since we had a national economic emergency at our hands, the formation of the BRACED (Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo, Delta states) Commission was a timely move to act as a region in order to take our destiny in our own hands. There has never been an urgent need for the political cooperation among the regions of the federation than now.
“The state governments should rather look at the possibility of tapping from their various comparative advantages than compete or express fear of one another’s credentials. There must be cooperation across party lines. This is the time to begin joint projects across the region. During the last economic summit of the region, a proposal for a regional bank was made among other laudable resolutions. I do sincerely hope that actions are being taken to actualise them.
“Leaders in the south-south must begin to consider such thing as the building of a railway network to cut across the commercial nerve centres of the region for ease of transportation for the citizenry and movement of goods. Forging a way to depend less on federal handouts will enable governments at the regional level to explore avenues within their region in which they could generate revenue to embark on tangible people-oriented projects”
“I shared those opinions on the importance of the BRACED Commission to begin to live up to the responsibility of proffering regional development solutions in the quest for the South South to attain the commensurate economic prosperity that it deserves.
“The meeting in Asaba by the Governors of the region is very commendable and as a bonafide son of the South South region, I couldnt be more proud of the Governors for taking the necessary action to confront the socio economic challenges facing our people in the region. This renewed spirit of brotherliness and togetherness must be sustained and pursued to a productive end.
Once again, I congratulate the South South Governors for this noble initiative. Posterity will hold your Excellencies in grace, and reverence for this service to our region”.