Appraising the South/South and South/East Economic summit
By Nwokedi Nworisara

As the efforts to forge a greater economic cooperation between the South South and South East billed for April 2017 gathers momentum,there is need to point out dangers in the approach emerging. This is not a political platform for any body and should not be seen as a cover for separatism or political victimisation of any group or even ascendency of anyone because it would play us into the hands of the devil itself.

What we are gathered here to do is establish a framework for greater economic union of the two neighbour zones in Nigeria. Whatever we propose must be workable under the present imperfect political configuration. So the economic union is to be seen as a temporary solution geared to giving the area better livelihood to enable it pursue better political positioning in the Nigerian context. Political changes are to be undertaken as laid down under the Nigerian context not outside it. What we are doing is only relevant under the existing political configuration. We have to work within it not outside it if we are to get to an end in this exercise. Political considerations must then be secondary especially if it anticipates fundamental changes outside the popular demand for true Federalism. In that case this platform cannot be used for separatist pursuits for it defeats the whole objective from the outset. It should also not be used for destructive criticism because it may detract from the solution framework that we have started to pursue. If things were not horrible we wouldn't have come together. So we need solutions within this framework rather than recalling unduly the past that is about to pass away.

Spiritually it saps the creative energy we need to move forward here. So if I have to suggest,let us go forwards to suggesting how an economic union can bring back the power that was this region historically and I dare say that all other things will be added unto that. When the Region can benefit from her resources,when she can invest within not without to further strengthen what she has then she can no longer be just a political bride as she is today but a source of that political strength as well needed to lift Nigeria and Africa. The major challenge we face is that the present economy does not proportionally benefit these areas because of wrong economic realignment arising because of the civil war,something that has never been attended to up till now.

This wrong alignment gives the South East and South South the wrong impression that they need not work together to be prosperous.With the illusion of revenue allocation already laid to rest by today's depression the two zones are beginning to understand that they are shortchanging themselves working at cross purpose economically. Instead of the States building highways to link themselves, they prefer to fund highways linking them to the North or West since financial allocation on which the artificial economy is dependent comes from these areas.In the same vein we invest there as if we do not have deep sea ports and expertise within. So we end up spending all the allocation trying to keep afloat awaiting the next payout under heavy taxation. That is the challenge we face today. If we can develop our joint regions and make it self sufficient economically then we can have something to reposition our political placing as well.