Ahead of a unified meeting of the Nigeria Governors Forum slated for today at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has raised an objection to the meeting.
The NGF was factionalized following the election for its Chairman in May 2013. At the election, which held at the Rivers State Governors lodge in Abuja, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, who was seeking another term as Chairman, defeated his Plateau State counterpart, Jonah Jang, with 19 votes to 16.
Both, however, laid claims to victory, a development that broke the Forum into two factions with the two gladiators setting up separate secretariats and retaining the governors that voted for them. The Jang faction believed to have the backing of President Goodluck Jonathan was however recognized by the Presidency.
Objecting to Monday’s meeting, Mr. Dickson faulted what he called attempts by outgoing governors to reconstitute the NGF leadership barely two weeks to the end of their tenures.
In a statement issued last night, the Bayelsa Governor said: “It has come to my knowledge that my distinguished and respected senior colleagues, i.e. outgoing governors, governors whose tenures will be ending May 29, 2015, have summoned a meeting of the purported Nigeria Governors’ Forum for Monday, the 18th of May, 2015. Among other things on the card for discussion, I understand, may be the selection of a new leadership of the forum.
“Having participated in the activities of the NGF at the period during its crisis with my respected colleagues, most of whom are now ending their respective governorship tenures. And having also known the roles played by most of the key actors of the forum in the orchestration and mismanagement of a needless crisis at such a critical phase in our nation’s political journey, I owe it as a duty to our country and its fledgling democracy to alert the nation and caution my respected colleagues, especially the in-coming governors on the dangers in allowing themselves to be railroaded by the outgoing governors, most of whom created the NGF crisis, to foist on our country and political system another NGF contraption (in their own image and likeness) that will in due course threaten the stability of our democracy and be a distraction to citizens and the leadership of our country, as the NGF tussle has done between 2012 till date”.
Dickson said, “From inception of the NGF till date, the leadership has always been surreptitiously put in place without the input of all members, especially the in-coming governors as new members, thus short-changing them. This is what the out-going members who have destroyed the forum planned to do. I disagree with this. I believe that the out-going members, most of whom allowed themselves to tear the NGF apart, should just let things be.
“One may ask, what is the hurry in summoning a moribund and divided NGF under its multiple leaderships, especially in the dying days of its actors whose clash of egos and ambitions brought about the crisis in the NGF in the first place?”
Noting that Nigeria could not afford another NGF whose leaders would develop ambitions and use same to undermine the federal government or be a threat to the stability and peace of our country and their political parties, the Bayelsa governor said he had shared these views with Governors Amaechi, Jang, Godswill Akpabio, and others, including some of the incoming governors.
“Let all the issues of the NGF be handled by the governors who will be left after May 29. The secretariat should be told to receive the handing over notes from the two leaders and be prepared to give account when the need arises”, he said.