The first meeting of the southern governors in the 4th Republic was held in Lagos in October 2000. The Southern Governors Summit was used to coordinate the fight for resource control and more importantly, the fight against the onshore/offshore dichotomy. It was also used to demand for devolution of powers (state police, etc.).
The 1999 constitution stated that a percentage of mineral revenue that was derived from a state should be given to that state. It also stated that the National Assembly should meet to determine what the percentage would be, but it must not be less than 13%.
The Federal Government led by President Olusegun Obasanjo paid the states 13% of the revenue derived from minerals in their states. This was because the National Assembly did not set any percentage, so the Federal Government simply used the percentage that was mentioned in the constitution.
However, there was a problem.
The Federal Government stated that any mineral (that is, crude oil) that was found in the ocean, off the continental shelf of a state, belonged to the Federal Government and it would not pay any derivation funds to any state for it.
The states argued that they must have a share of the revenue from such minerals, regardless of the fact that they are in the ocean.
The battle was waged in the National Assembly and in the courts. State governments sued the Federal Government. The state governors were meeting to coordinate their strategy, but then there was a division. A few northern state governments took the side of the Federal Government and so the Southern governors then decided to coordinate their strategy through the Southern Governors Forum.
Politics crept in ahead of the 2007 elections and the Southern Governors Forum did not meet between 2005 and 2017. Their wives continued to hold meetings, but the Southern Governors Forum did not meet.
Until recently, the host governor usually acted as chairman and spokesman of the forum.
List of Southern Governors Forum meetings
Southern Governors Forum meeting, Lagos, October 2000.
Southern Governors Forum meeting, Enugu, January 2001.
Conclave of Governors (report of the Southern Governors Summit in Enugu)
Southern Governors Forum meeting, Benin, March 2001.
Southern Governors Forum meeting, Ibadan, September 2001.
Southern Governors Forum meeting, Owerri, November 2001.
Southern Governors Forum meeting, Port Harcourt, March 2002
7th Southern Governors Forum meeting, Akure, July 2002.
Southern Governors Forum meeting, February 2004
Southern Governors Forum meeting, Benin, December 2004
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Southern Governors Forum meeting, Lagos, February 2005
Udenwa makes case for southern governors forum. March 2005.
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Southern Governors Forum meeting, Asaba, May 2021
Southern Governors Forum meeting, Lagos, July 2021