Barely 10 days to the expiration of their tenures, feuding outgoing governors of the 36 states of the federation, yesterday hurriedly ended their two-year dispute and imposed a new leadership on the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF.
Most of the governors who participated in the arranged truce meeting have spent their two terms and are to be succeeded by winners of the April 11 governorship election.
Instead of allowing the new governors to be inaugurated on May 29 so that they can pick their leaders, the outgoing governors converged on Abuja on Monday night and named Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, as the new NGF Chairman to pilot the affairs of the Forum for the next 12 months.
The governors split into two factions after a controversial election, which produced two factions led by Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang and his Rivers State counterpart, Rotimi Amaechi.
At their reconciliation meeting, the governors who are leaving huge debts and salary arrears for their successors, charged the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to provide explanation for accruals to the Excess Crude Account from June 2013 to April 2015 which they estimated at over N20billion.
Members of both Governors Amaechi and Jang factions were present at the meeting.
Before his emergence, Yari was deputy chairman of the Amaechi’s faction of the NGF.
The governors, who met at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, in a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, said they have decided to form “a single umbrella association of the 36 state governors of Nigeria.”
Amaechi, who read the communiqué, said the governors want Okonjo-Iweala to account for the money that accrued to the Excess Crude Account since 2013.
“There is need for the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to provide explanation for accruals to this account from June 2013 to April 2015 which is estimated at over N20billion”, the communiqué added.
It added that induction programme for new and returning governors would be held in June 2015, which he said is aimed at equipping them with knowledge of global best practices of establishing and running their offices.
The communiqué stated that the governor resolved to setup a Governors’ Forum Academy to be called “The NGF Leadership Academy” which will be responsible for capacity building of governors and other officials holding public office.
The academy would be overseen by the NGF secretariat.
The meeting was attended by some newly elected governors and some deputy governors.
Those in attendance were governors of Delta, Rivers, Zamfara, Edo, Osun, Kaduna, Borno, Kebbi, Akwa Ibom and Bauchi. Governors-elect of Akwa Ibom and Kano, as well as the deputy governors of Kogi and Nasarawa states also attended the meeting, which ended in the early hours of yesterday.
Nigerian Pilot recalls that the Forum descended into crisis in May 2013 after the election of officials split the body into two.
At the election, held at the Rivers State Governors Lodge in Abuja, Mr. Amaechi defeated his Plateau state’s counterpart, Jonah Jang, by 19 votes to 16.