NGF crisis: No northern gov betrayed anybody – Aliyu
CHAIRMAN of the Northern StatesGovernors’ Forum, NSGF, and Governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, yesterday, gave an insight into what transpired during the NSGF meeting before the election of Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State as chairman of the NigerianGovernors’ Forum, NGF.
He said that “no northern governor betrayed anybody.” This was just as Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State said the 36 state governorswere full of regrets over the unpalatable turn of events in the NigeriaGovernors Forum, NGF, and jointly owe Nigerians apology for their comportment.
Governor Aliyu, who spoke at the turbaning of his deputy, Ahmed Ibeto asWali Raya Kasar Nupe said: “many people have been asking why governorscould not unite to elect a leader, but we were united and elected a chairman. If other people recognized another person as a chairman we will resolve ourproblem but we must recognize Governor Amaechi as NGF chairman.
“Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State emerged as a candidate from the north after the NSGF discovered that there was an issue between Bauchi State governor, Isa Yuguda and the Kastina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema. The NSGF waded in and we agreed that Jonah Jang should contest and let the two people drop their ambition. Even at that I told them that we must go and insist on consensus but where election take places the conscience of the people would prevail.
“Thirty-five governors voted. 19 for the other and 16 for a particular candidate. Those who go around destroying other people’s reputation should just bury their hatchet. We cannot go to 2015 with factions or disunited. There will be no progress, we must unite and come as a group.”
Govs owe Nigerians apology– Uduaghan
Giving his perspective of the NGF crisis, Governor Uduaghan in a phone-in programme on Delta Rainbow Television, Warri, said: “What happened in the NGF election is very unfortunate and I think every governor, not just the 35 but the 36 governors, owe Nigerians apology. All of us, not just one person, because all of us collectively did not handle the issue properly.
“It should not have got to where we are now if we thought about the implication of what we were doing, so we owe Nigerians apology. And again, I want to emphasize that there is no need for us as governors to makestatements that are inciting, either to incite the public or incite others.”
On the way forward, he said: “We need to see how we can bring our forum back as one. The truth is that with the way we are now, it will be difficult to get things properly done.”
Uduaghan, however, clarified that President Goodluck Jonathan “had nothing to do with what is happening in NGF. It is very embarrassing when people said the problem was instigated by the Presidency, whereas the Presidency has nothing to do with what is happening. Well, we are talking with ourselves, there are some colleagues who are already regretting that if they knew things would get to this stage, they would not have acted the way they did.
“We are talking to ourselves. Certain persons (he did not mention their names) wanted the Governors’ Forum to collapse. You see, the forum has become a formidable body, vocal on national issues and not many people were comfortable with it, and they wanted it to collapse. With what is happening, they are happy with it.”
Uduaghan who said governors needed to reunite and maintain a formidable front so as not to give detractors room to remain joyful, however, noted that there were matters that required their input now. He said that because of the disagreement in the forum, they were not speaking with one voice.
The governor noted that the ongoing constitutional amendment, peer reviewmechanism, polio immunization programme and many others were matters, which the governors ought to have articulated their position, but because of the crisis, people were dissipating energy on trivialities. Uduaghan whoseperformance rating in the state had improved midway into his last tenure due to ongoing construction of roads, drainages in major cities and towns, re-modeling of secondary and primary schools, promised to sustain the tempo and finish strong in 2015.