Nigerian Governors’ Forum Holds Retreat In Sokoto

The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) has found the need to review its activities as a group, and the progress made by the country, with a view to chart the way forward for the country.

Rivers State Governor and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, alongside his Sokoto State counterpart, Aliyu Wammako shed light on the forum’s retreat while appearing on a special edition of Channels Television’s breakfast programme Sunrise, from the ancient city of Sokoto.

The host governor, Aliyu Wammako stated that general belief in the forum on the need to have a dialogue geared towards moving Nigeria forward was the major motivation for him volunteering to host all the 36 Nigerian governors in Sokoto State for the Nigeria Governors’ Forum retreat.

He stated that this is the second time the Governors’ Forum will be meeting outside Abuja, having met in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state before stressing that the forum has now resolved to henceforth rotate their meetings across the states to enable them know more about the country and know the truth based on facts and figures and not just on emotions.

He reeled out topics outlined for the retreat to include good governance, economy, security, and rule of law which are all very important to the Nigerian Governors’ Forum. He also stressed that focus will be on taking stock of how they have performed with a view to agree on how to move forward.


Excess Crude Account Is Illegal

While responding to a question on the perceived lack of understanding for the NGF’s purpose among Nigerians, Governor Amaechi referred to the NGF’s role in the Oil Subsidy debate. According to him, “if we didn’t step in, oil subsidy would have hit 3 Trillion. That we are talking about 2.3 Trillion now is because the NGF stepped in.”

“We refused to collect our monthly allocation more than 4 times in 4 different months because it was ridiculous to hear that oil subsidy that was 300 billion Naira when Yar’adua was alive or when Obasanjo was President had astronomically risen to trillions…and Governors had to step in. And when we stepped in, things had to stop.”

He also mentioned that the Governors’ Forum stepped in on the issues of the excess crude account. “Since January, before the second term election of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum Chairman, what was left in the excess crude account was between 8 and 9 billion dollars, as at last month only 4 billion dollars from 9. So you can begin to see the role we play, the absence of the Governors’ Forum will worsen the case.”

He went further to emphasize the alleged illegality of the Excess Crude Account, “if the Supreme Court has said it is illegal, the fact that they’re still keeping that account shows how much respect we have for our judiciary.”

“The more they (Federal Government) keep that money, the more the account is mismanaged. We don’t know how the money is managed, we will just wake up one day and they will say its 9 billion, the next meeting in 2 months, 4 to 5 billion would have disappeared. Who is doing that?”

Governor Wammako referred to the Excess Crude Account issue as very painful for the Governors. “We all spoke against this account and we believe that this money is supposed to be invested in the future of Nigeria by way of creating jobs for our youths, by way of investing more in the areas of infrastructure but keeping the money doesn’t make sense, Nigerians are not as happy as they should be.”


Governors And Corruption

On the alleged corruption of some governors, Governor Amaechi highlighted that things have changed from what it used to be in the past. He said that in this generation, it is the governors who are complaining about corruption and Nigerians should have noticed that this is because there is a new sense of responsibility among the governors.

He complained that the Federal Government’s approach towards corruption has been inadequate.

The interview also touched on several issues like Nigeria’s electoral process, the reduction in states’ monthly allocation, allegations of corruption in the NNPC, the Senate’s report of 500billion Naira being stolen from the SURE-P account and the National Assembly’s report that 2.3trillion Naira has been stolen from the oil subsidy account.

Governor Wammako also seized the opportunity to talk about the developmental projects embarked on by his administration, claiming that the state is already reaping from its good roads and other infrastructures in terms of investment coming into the state from the agro-allied sector, mining and so many other sectors. He also emphasized the peaceful state of Sokoto as a major achievement of the administration.

Invited as resource persons for the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, are Professor Wole Shoyinka, Professor Chidi OdinKalu, Professor Junaid Mohammed, Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais, and many other prominent Nigerians.

NGF Crisis: Reconciliation Moves Begin As Senate Delegation Visits Amaechi

Worried by the current challenges plaguing the country and the crisis in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Senators’ Forum of Nigeria paid the Rivers state governor and Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, a visit as part of its effort to resolve the crisis.

The Acting Chairman of the Senators’ Forum of Nigeria, Senator John .K. Brambaifa who led the delegation on a visit to the  Government house in Port Harcourt said they were “very concerned about the current political developments that is threatening the national polity and peaceful co-existence”.

According to him, the Forum in the discharge of its mandate resolved to consult major stakeholders in the country with a view to strengthening and consolidating the nation’s democracy.

On the NGF crisis, Senator Brambaifa recalled that the Senators’ Forum had already met with Plateau state Governor, Jonah Jang for peaceful resolution of the crisis.

While thanking the senators, Governor Chibuike Amaechi described them as patriots and spoke on the need to uphold democracy in the country where aspirants should simply accept victory or concede defeat, adding that he clearly won the NGF election.

Members of the delegation included Senators Nnamdi Ereobuna, Haruna Zigwaziz, M. T. Ombu (Jnr.), Abubakar Muadi, Ibrahim Mohammed, Ifeanyi Ararume, Sylvanus Ingele and Dogwa Jibril.

NGF Crisis: I Am Not Leaving PDP – Gov. Aliyu

Governor Muazu  Aliyu of Niger State has noted with concern, an insinuation in the media purporting that he is part of a splinter group ready to dump the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for another in the aftermath of last week’s election of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).

In a statement, Doctor Aliyu  said such reports were being planted by those who are seeking to disintegrate the PDP, describing the insinuation as wishful thinking of the sponsors of the report.

“The story of planned defection of Governor Aliyu is a figment of imagination of persons who are either threatened by the successes the party has made in the last 14 years or are afraid of squaring up with the party in 2015 general elections,” the statement said.

He mentioned that  as the leader of the PDP in his state, he is one of the pillars of the party and would continue to work to make it stronger and united in the larger interest of the nation.

The statement urged the general public to disregard any report purporting to suggest that Governor Aliyu is planning to leave the PDP.

Pundit Says Jonathan Too Busy To Be Interested In Governors’ Crisis

A Public Affairs and Management Consultant, Fabian Ihekweme has defended President Goodluck Jonathan’s confession about his non-involvement in the Nigeria Governor’s Forum election and the crisis which now dominates the group.

He said he had to give the president the benefit of doubt, “I have to believe my president first,” he said.

While speaking on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Ihekweme said that the politics involved in choosing a chairman for the forum is ‘overheated because of 2015.’

He said, “If you ask me whether the President has a hand in what is playing out, I would tell you emphatic no. I don’t think the President would bother himself about who becomes the chairman about Nigeria Governors Forum, in his busy schedule would he leave his work to bother about who become the chairman of an NGO?”

Mr Ihekweme said the NGF conflict is a distraction for President Jonathan, who has two more years before his tenure ends.

“The President has just done two years out of 4 years… and two years is a lot of time to help Nigeria and Nigerians; and if these distractions continue, then I don’t know where we are heading to,” he said.

He described the crisis as a manifestation that there are no good leaders in the country. The crisis is as a result of “the caliber of people our (Nigeria’s) democracy ushered in from 1999 till date,” he said.

The analyst referred to the NGF which was established to be a productive assembly of governors which affords them the opportunity to share ideas, as a mere NGO, which “has no force of law.”

The crisis “is a manifestation that… we don’t have the best people as leaders in this country” because the governors are fighting over who becomes chairman while other serious issues, such as security, embattle the nation.

“If …36 strong men could not select one person as their chairman, you can imagine what Nigerians are going through in the hands of these people,” he said.