Fresh crisis appears to be brewing in the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, following the decision of the two factions of the group to reconcile and conduct fresh election.
Ahead of the planned reunion of the group, Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, yesterday kicked against plans to conduct fresh election for the group’s leadership.
The NGF split in 2013 following controversies that trailed its election where Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang led a faction supported by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Labour Party, LP and APGA governors, while Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi headed another faction controlled by the All Progressives Congress, APC governors.
But two weeks to the end of their tenure, the two warring governors reached a truce and called for a unification meeting where new leaders will be elected for the forum.
Governor Dickson, who accused Amaechi and Jang of “destroying” the NGF, blamed the outgoing governors for their role in the crisis that engulfed the forum since 2013, and for attempting to hold fresh elections for new leaders just few days before the end of their tenures.
He urged his colleagues to shelve the idea of electing a new set of officials for the group till after the handover of power on May 29.
In a statement he issued yesterday, Governor Dickson said holding an election when many of the governors have completed their two terms in office amounts to imposing officials on the new governors elected on April 11.
The statement reads: “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 incoming governors of 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.
“They failed to show leadership when it mattered most. They played politics with everything and put their personal ambitions and egos above the national interest.
“As a democrat, I believe in robust dialogue, disagreement and the need to accommodate a variety of opinions and consensus building where the national interest so dictates.
“Therefore, as true democrats and nationalists, whether we agree or disagree, it must be in the national interest. These they did not show throughout the crisis, even after the tireless and fatherly intervention of former President Olusegun Obasanjo who held a series of late night meetings with us. Most took the view that both Governors Jang and Amaechi should step down for a neutral candidate to emerge. Again, they disagreed.
“The NGF is neither a political party nor a trade union but a voluntary association of governors who are the heads of federating units in our country. I believe that the duties are to provide a mechanism for peer review, a platform to collaborate with the Federal Government and amongst ourselves on issues of national security, law and order, management of the economy of the federation and strengthening our democratic values and practices.
“But contrary to these lofty ideals, the forum was used as a trade union and an alternative ‘Federal Government’ or an opposition platform.
“The leaders of the NGF from the majority party have always tried to use it as a stepping stone to seeking higher office, and an instrument of the enforcement of their will on their political parties and the nation.
“From experience, the seeds of instability in NGF are always sown by outgoing governors, foisting their favourite candidates on the incoming ones. I disagree with this practice.
“The leadership of NGF has to be consensual, not by a divisive election and I agree that its chairman should come from the majority party with a vice chairman from the minority party and it should respect the principle of rotation between the North and the South for a period that the members may determine, not more than two years and not subject to re-appointment,” he said.

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