UPDATED: APC Northern Governors Meet Buhari, Insist On Southern Presidential Candidate

The northern governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have insisted that they would back a southerner to emerge as the presidential candidate of the ruling party in the 2023 general elections.

Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, stated this on Monday while briefing State House correspondents in Abuja.

The governors, 13 of them, made their position known following their meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Governor Lalong, in his briefing, clarified that the leaked memo that went viral last Saturday was the true position of the northern governors and they came to officially consult with the President.

According to the governor, President Buhari has not anointed any of the 23 aspirants expected to participate in the party’s primary as the flagbearer of the APC.

Rather, he explained that the President asked the governors to have a meeting with the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to resolve the issue of a consensus candidate through democratic means.

Governor Lalong stated that the decision of the governors to return power to the South was to ensure equity, peace, and unity in the country.

Other governors who attended the meeting include Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, Aminu Masari of Katsina, Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa, and Abubakar Bello of Niger.

Also present were Bello Matawalle of Zamfara, Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe, Babagana Zulum of Borno, Simon Lalong of Plateau, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, and Mai Mala Buni of Yobe.

This photo released by the Presidency shows northern APC governors at a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on June 6, 2022.

 

President Buhari and the northern APC governors met on the day the ruling party said it would commence a special convention to elect its presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections.

A total of 28 aspirants picked the APC presidential nomination and expression of interest forms sold at N100 million. Some of them paid for the forms themselves in some cases while various interest groups purchased the nomination tickets for their preferred aspirants.

Former President Jonathan and the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, were among those whose forms were bought for them, but the duo have since condemned the move and rejected these forms.

Besides both men, the APC also dropped the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva; and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, from aspirants to be screened by its panel.

Thereafter, 23 aspirants appeared before the APC Presidential Screening Committee. In no particular order, they include Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, APC chieftain Bola Tinubu, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti; former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; and oil magnate, Tein Jack Rich.

Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa; former governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; former governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha; popular Pastor Tunde Bakare, former governor of Zamfara State, Sani Yerima; and former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, also appeared before the panel.

Also screened were former Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba; former presidential candidate, Nicholas Felix; a female aspirant, Uju Ken-Ohanenye; Ondo North Senator, Ajayi Boroffice; and a former Senate President, Ken Nnamani.

Others include Governor David Umahi Ebonyi; former Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu; Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi, and former Minister of Information under the late General Sani Abacha regime, Ikeobasi Mokelu.

At the end of the primary, the party is expected to produce its candidate who will contest for the office of the President alongside the flagbearers of other political parties in the 2023 general elections.

Presidential Primary: Buhari, APC Northern Governors Hold Last-Minute Talks

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday held last-minute consultations with northern governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The meeting held inside the President’s office at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Some of the governors who attended the meeting include Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, Aminu Masari of Katsina, Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa, and Abubakar Bello of Niger.

Also present were Bello Matawalle of Zamfara, Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe, Babagana Zulum of Borno, Simon Lalong of Plateau, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, and Mai Mala Buni of Yobe.

President Buhari and the northern APC governors met on the day the ruling party said it would commence a special convention to elect its presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections.

A total of 28 aspirants picked the APC presidential nomination and expression of interest forms sold at N100 million. Some of them paid for the forms themselves in some cases while various interest groups purchased the nomination tickets for their preferred aspirants.

Former President Jonathan and the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, were among those whose forms were bought for them, but the duo have since condemned the move and rejected these forms.

Besides both men, the APC also dropped the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva; and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, from aspirants to be screened by its panel.

Thereafter, 23 aspirants appeared before the APC Presidential Screening Committee. In no particular order, they include Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, APC chieftain Bola Tinubu, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti; former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; and oil magnate, Tein Jack Rich.

Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa; former governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; former governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha; popular Pastor Tunde Bakare, former governor of Zamfara State, Sani Yerima; and former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, also appeared before the panel.

Also screened were former Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba; former presidential candidate, Nicholas Felix; a female aspirant, Uju Ken-Ohanenye; Ondo North Senator, Ajayi Boroffice; and a former Senate President, Ken Nnamani.

Others include Governor David Umahi Ebonyi; former Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu; Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi, and former Minister of Information under the late General Sani Abacha regime, Ikeobasi Mokelu.

At the end of the primary, the party is expected to produce its candidate who will contest for the office of the President alongside the flagbearers of other political parties in the 2023 general elections.

‘Zoning Is Unconstitutional,’ Northern Governors Oppose Power Shift To South

 

Governors of the 19 states in the North have opposed the call by their southern counterparts that the Presidency should be zoned to the South in 2023.

This formed part of the resolutions reached on Monday when the governors held an emergency meeting with traditional rulers in the region at the Government House in Kaduna State.

Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, read out the communique containing the resolutions on behalf of his colleagues.

According to the governors, zoning the office of the President as being agitated by southern governors is against the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

Governors of the northern states meet with traditional rulers in the region in Kaduna State on September 27, 2021.

 

They stated that any president elected must meet the constitutional requirements which include scoring the majority votes, and polling at least 25 per cent of the votes cast in two-thirds of the 36 states of the Federation.

Governor Lalong noted that although some northern governors had endorsed power shift to the South, the regional governors collectively condemned such calls.

He also briefed reporters on the position of the governors regarding the lingering dispute between the Federal Government and states over the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT).

The northern governors, Lalong said, are aware that the case is before the court, and it will amount to sub-judice to take a decision on the matter.

Some of the traditional leaders at the meeting held in Kaduna State on September 27, 2021.

 

He, however, explained that VAT should not be mistaken by state governments as a sales tax, saying allowing every state to enact its VAT law would result in multiple taxations, increases in prices of goods and services, as well as a collapse in inter-state trade.

On the security of the region, the northern governors commended the ongoing military onslaught against bandits and insurgents in parts of the North.

Despite the progress made, they decried the alleged high level of conspiracies perpetrated by some judicial officers in releasing and granting bail to arrested criminals.

Northern Governors, Traditional Rulers Meet In Kaduna Over VAT, Insecurity And Others

A cross section of northern leaders during the meeting.

 

The Northern Governors’ Forum and traditional rulers from the region are holding an emergency meeting in Kaduna State. 

Top on the agenda at the meeting are issues relating to the Value Added Tax (VAT), insecurity and economic problems confronting the region.

The meeting, which is taking place at the Executive Council Chamber of the Kaduna State Government House, is chaired by the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong. 

Those in attendance include the governors of Katsina, Sokoto, Kaduna, Borno, Nasarawa, Jigawa and Gombe.

The governors of Niger, Kogi, Benue, Niger, Zamfara and Taraba states are represented by their deputies.

The deputy governor of Kogi State, Edward Onoja and others during the meeting.

 

Also present are the Sultan of Sokoto and the Chairman of Northern Traditional Rulers Council, Abubakar Saad.

The Shehu of Borno, the Emir of Zazzau, Nuhu Bamali, Estu Nupe, Emir of Kano and other royal fathers are also attending the meeting. 

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The governors and traditional rulers are expected to take a string of decisions during the meeting.

 

In his remark, the host governor, Nasir El-Rufai said the northern region is facing severe economic and security challenges that require the convening of the emergency meeting between the governors and traditional rulers.

According to El-Rufai, the forum will help chart a way forward to deal with these issues. 

While highlighting the agenda for the meeting, the chairman of the forum, Simon Lalong, disclosed that the governors will take a common position on VAT collection and the surrounding controversies.

Some of the traditional rulers at the meeting.

 

Last month, the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt had in a judgement held that Rivers State has the power to collect VAT within its jurisdiction.

However, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) challenged the judgement of the lower court at the Appeal Court.

At the Court of Appeal, Lagos State also filed an application to be joined with Rivers State as co-defendant in the appeal filed by FIRS.

After debates and deliberations, the Appeal Court ordered parties in the suit to maintain status quo pending the determination of the appeal.

Northern Governors Forum Calls For Dialogue Over Kaduna, NLC Crisis

Chairman of the Northern Governors' Forum, Mr Simon Lalong made an appearance on Channels Television on February 9, 2021.
Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Mr Simon Lalong made an appearance on Channels Television on February 9, 2021.

 

The Northern Governors Forum has called for calm and dialogue in resolving the ongoing face-off between the Kaduna State Government and the organised labour over purported plans by the Government to right-size its workforce.

Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau State Simon Bako Lalong in a statement said the Forum is concerned about the impact of the strike on the State and its citizens.

While calling for dialogue and negotiations which is a long-standing dispute mechanism in labour relations, the Northern Governors has called for restraint and de-escalation of the situation to enable for amicable settlement of the issues in question.

He said this is only possible when both parties operate within the law and approved conventions in ventilating their grievances as well as avoid making comments or taking actions that will further exacerbate the situation thereby heightening tension.

The Northern Governors Forum also asked the labour leaders to guard against the hijack of its protests by hoodlums who may want to take advantage of the situation and cause destruction to lives and properties.

The forum asked security agencies to also be up and doing to ensure that law and order prevail so as to protect innocent citizens.

 

PHOTOS: Buhari, Northern Governors Meet Over Insecurity

Buhari flanked by some northern governors during the meeting: Photo: Presidency.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday met with governors from the northern part of Nigeria as the country seeks ways to contain its numerous security challenges. 

The governors were led to the meeting by the Plateau State Governor and the Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Simon Lalong, and were also joined by the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari during the meeting held at the President Villa, Abuja.

Part of the leaders’ resolution is to work with the Federal Government to address insecurity. Photo: Presidency

 

According to the governors, the meeting was convened to review the region’s security situation and seek ways to address it.

READ ALSO: Buhari’s Administration Stands Behind Pantami – Presidency

They also pledged to work with the Federal Government in a bid to tackle the issue which they described as stifling development in the region.

Some of the governors who attended the meeting included those of Kebbi, Atiku Bagudu; Kaduna, Nasir El-Rufai; Yobe, Mai Mala-Buni; Niger, Abubakar Bello and Nasarawa, Abdullahi Sule.

The governors during the meeting. Photo: Presidency.

 

Nigeria’s northern region as well as several parts of the country have been battling various forms of security challenges including banditry, kidnapping, and herders-farmers clashes among others.

‘Not Good Enough’

Although the Federal Government had changed the security chiefs and adopted several measures to tackle the issues, criminality appears to be on the rise and critics believe the government has not done the right thing.

The governors want an end to all forms of insecurity in the region. Photo: Presidency.

 

Buhari himself had admitted that though the country is doing its best in taming the situation, the efforts are not good enough.

“I assure you, we are doing our best, our best hasn’t proved to be good enough, and we are getting desperate,” the 78-year-old admitted.

 

The governors believe insecurity is hampering development in the region. Photo: Presidency.

 

He, however,  gave orders to the military to ensure that in a few weeks the nation must experience a difference.

 

 

Crisis: Northern Governors, Seyi Makinde Visit Shasha Market

Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde and some northern governors during the visit to Shasha market on Tuesday, February 16, 2020.

 

Some northern governors alongside Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde on Tuesday visited Shasha Market in Ibadan the state capital to assess the destruction at the scene of the clash between Yoruba and Hausa communities.

The governors include Abdulahi Ganduje of Kano State; Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, Bello Matawalle of Zamfara and Abubakar Sanni of Niger States.

They were accompanied by security agents as they went round the market to assess the level of damage done.

READ ALSO: Shasha Crisis: Northern Governors Arrive Oyo, Meet Makinde Behind Closed Doors

The delegation later went into consultations with the Seriki Alhaji Haruna Maiyasin after which they would also visit the Baale of Shasha to appeal to both sides to stop hostilities and forge a more formidable bond for peaceful coexistence.

The delegation had earlier came into Ibadan on Monday night to visit the area where violence raged last Friday leading to the destruction of lives and property.

See photos from their visit below…

FG Delegation, Service Chiefs Meet Northern Governors And Leaders Over Security Challenges

Service chiefs and northern governors at the meeting.

 

A delegation of the Federal Government and the newly appointed service chiefs on Monday met with northern governors.

The meeting which was held in Kaduna State had in attendance governors of Kaduna, Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina, Jigawa, Kano, Sokoto, and Plateau states.

The National Security Adviser (NSA) Babagana Monguno, northern traditional rulers, clerics were also part of the meeting.

In his remarks, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor said the meeting is to intimate the governors and other leaders that the security situation in the North West is of great concern to the Federal Government.

READ ALSO: Leaders Call for Calm in Shasha Market

He also assured that the Armed Forces is rejigging the nation’s security architecture in order to effectively tackle the security challenges in the zone and other parts of the country.

NSA Monguno, said the meeting is a fallout of his dialogue with service chiefs, heads of law enforcement, security, and intelligence agencies to discuss the threats of kidnapping, terrorism, and other security issues threatening the lives and property of Nigerians.

He added that the Federal Government is deeply committed to tackling the security challenges confronting the entire country especially with the appointment of new Service Chiefs.

He also urged all stakeholders including political and religious leaders to collaborate with the government towards finding lasting solutions to the problem.

Popular cleric, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi, in his remarks described the recent conflict in the southwest zone as the handiwork of a few miscreants whose intention is to cause an ethnic crisis.

He, however, called on all citizens especially those from the North to shun any form of reprisal and promote things that will further unite the country.

Northern Governors Forum Not Against Disbandment Of SARS – Lalong

Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and Plateau Governor, Simon Lalong speaks in Kaduna on November 18, 2020.

 

The Northern Governors Forum on Wednesday said contrary to some misconceptions in some quarters, it is not against the recent scrapping of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

Chairman of the forum and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong made the clarification in Kaduna during the inauguration of a committee on Youths and Civil Societies.

“The Northern Governors Forum is not against the disbandment of SARS as misconstrued in some quarters. We rather caution against the blanket condemnation of the police that can erode the confidence and zeal of the hardworking and honest ones in performing their duties of protecting lives and properties,” he said.

Governor Lalong also reiterated the commitment of the forum to tackling the several challenges facing the region.

For the governor, the forum will collaborate with Federal Government and security agencies to address the issues of banditry, terrorism, kidnapping, and other criminal activities.

“We must tackle the current challenges of insecurity in the region which is dominated by insurgency, kidnapping, banditry, rape, child abuse and trafficking and other conflicts.

“We shall continue to work with the Federal Government and security agencies to tackle crime and criminality. That is why we have supported a comprehensive reform of police architecture in the country,” he said.

Speaking further, Lalong said the committee has a responsibility of creating a robust and conducive environment for the youths to flourish and tackle the current security and economic challenges in the region.

The committee is headed by the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Nuhu Bamali, and has the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, and representatives of youths from the 19 northern states and FCT, religious groups, and civil societies as members.

The committee’s terms of reference include working out various ways of engaging the youths in the north at all levels, prioritize different programmes for youth development and identify and develop different platforms for youth inclusion in the governance in Nigeria and the north in particular.

 

SERAP Threatens To Sue Northern Governors, NASS Over Social Media Bill

SERAP Threatens To Sue UI, AAUA Over Increased Fees
A logo of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has threatened to sue the Northern Governors’ Forum and the National Assembly and the social media bill is passed

SERAP said this in a tweet on Tuesday while reacting to the call by the northern governors for more social media regulations in the wake of the #EndSARS protests.

“We’ll sue the Northern Governors’ Forum and @nassnigeria if any Social Media bill is passed and signed by President Buhari. Nigerians have a right to freedom of expression online.

“We won’t accept any illegal attempts to interfere with that right #NoToSocialMediaBill,” the human rights group tweeted.

 

Northern governor’s had earlier on Monday after a meeting with northern traditional and political leaders called for censorship and control of social media.

Their decision was contained in a communique read by the Chairman of the forum who is the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong.

The northern governors lamented over what they described as the devastating effect of uncontrolled social media in spreading of fake news and in turn, fuelling crisis.

The Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill, popularly known as the Social Media Bill was sponsored in 2019 by Senator Mohammed Sani Musa.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan earlier in 2020 said that the National Assembly would not arrogate to itself the power of exclusively passing the social media bill into law without inputs from Nigerians.

Lawan stated this in an address delivered to declare open a Public Hearing on the Social Media Bill

Lawan said freedom of speech and the inalienable rights of man are issues that should not be compromised under any guise.

Security: Northern Governors, Traditional Rulers, IGP, Others Meet In Kaduna

Governors of the 19 Northern states on Monday held a meeting with key traditional rulers; the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu; and Ibrahim Gambari, the Chief of Staff President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed and Senate President, Ahmed Lawan and other political leaders were at the meeting which was held in Kaduna State.

The meeting was held behind closed doors at the executive council chamber of Kaduna State Government House.

The leader at the meeting are expected to deliberate on various issues especially as it affects peace, security and other developmental matters in the northern region.

State Governors at the meeting include that is Nasarawa, Zamfara, Kwara, Sokoto, Gombe,  Kebbi, Kaduna while Deputy Governors of Kogi, Niger, Kano, and the Katsina States were present.

Key traditional rulers at the meeting include the Sultan of Sokoto, Emir of Zazzau, Emir of Kano, Emir of Lafia, Etsu Nupe among others.

Northern Governors Meet, Take Measures To Tackle Insecurity In Region

A file photo of a community attacked by bandits in Kaduna State.

 

 

Members of the Northern Governors Forum met on Thursday to review the security situation in the region.

The teleconference, which was presided over by the Chairman of the Forum and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, held against the backdrop of recent attacks on communities in northern states by Boko Haram and bandits among other criminals.

During the meeting, the governors were concerned about the level of insecurity in the region and took some measures to address the situation.

Among other resolutions, they agreed to set up a standing committee on security in the North to foster synergy with security agencies in the enforcement of security measures in the region.

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, was named as the committee chairman with the Governors Zamfara and Gombe, Bello Matawalle and Muhammad Yahaya, as members.

Another committee headed by Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, with Governors of Adamawa, Niger, and Sokoto States – Ahmadu Fintiri, Abubakar Bello, and Aminu Tambuwal, as members, was set up on the consultation with traditional, religious and community leaders in the North.

According to a statement by the spokesperson for Governor Lalong who is also the Forum’s chairman, Dr Makut Macham, the consultative committee would ensure that there is wider involvement in tackling insecurity in the North.

The governors also resolved to engage local vigilantes, hunters, and community watch groups in the security architecture of the region, to enhance intelligence gathering, rapid response, and sustained surveillance.

They, therefore, called on the Federal Government to closely look into the ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Persons regarding the cross-border movement of herders from other countries into Nigeria, particularly the North.

While commending the security forces for their efforts in tackling insecurity in the region, the governors called for increased synergy to enhance operations and assist in putting an end to the activities of bandits, insurgents, kidnappers and other criminals.

They also agreed to adopt dialogue where necessary while pursuing military measures in dealing with the various security challenges in the North.

On the recent attacks on communities, the governors sympathised with victims and appealed for calm by groups and those affected.

They assured the residents that the Forum, state governments, and the Federal Government were working together to bring the situation under control and address the humanitarian needs of the victims.

The governors asked the Federal Government to accelerate the Livestock Transformation Plan to assist in creating jobs for farmers and herders in the region and the country at large.

They commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his efforts to deal with the security situation in the country and the region.