Friday, June 7, 2013

14 Govs Shun Northern Governors’ Forum

Fourteen out of the 19 members of the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) yesterday boycotted the Forum’s meeting in Kaduna.

But five governors attended the meeting. They were the chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and Niger State governor Babangida Aliyu, Sule Lamido ( Jigawa), Muhktar Ramalan Yero (Kaduna), Tanko Al-Makura (Narasawa), and Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe).

State governors represented by their deputies include Kwara, Kano, Kogi, Borno, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi states while Plateau and Benue were represented by their secretary to the state government.

While Adamawa and Taraba states, according to Gov Aliyu, sent apologies, the governors of Katsina, Yobe and Bauchi states were conspicuously absent.

Although some of the states were represented by their deputies and SSG, it was however gathered that the absence of some of the governors might be connected to the outcome of the larger Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) election in which the NSGF chairman was alleged to have played a major role.

Apart from Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State who claimed to have withdrawn from the membership of the Forum, other governors such as Gabriel Suswam (Benue), Jonah Jang (Plateau), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Ahmed Abdulfatah (Kwara), and Idris Wada (Kogi) said nothing.

LEADERSHIP authoritatively gathered the governors, especially governors Suswam and Shema, shunned the meeting so as to join Governor Yuguda in protest over the way and manner some governors of the region allegedly betrayed the interest of the north during the NGF election.

A source told LEADERSHIP that there was supposed to be an election for the chairman of the Forum, but it could not hold due to poor turnout.

According to the source, “Some governors who refused to attend the meeting were protesting against the decision of the NGSF chairman and other governors who betrayed the consensus candidate of the Northern Governors’ Forum at the NGF election.

When contacted, the Plateau State commissioner for information, Mr Abraham Yiljap, said Governor Jang could not attend the meeting because of lack of trust in the Forum.

Reacting to reports on Governor Yuguda’s withdrawal of membership from the NSGF, Governor Aliyu said, “The situation is that when people feel aggrieved, you don’t go back retaliating on what they have said. You said that is what he said; he did not write to this meeting and it is a voluntary organisation and we have resolved as a group to follow this informally. You did not hear any one of us reply him back the way you heard him.”

Governor Aliyu, who also spoke on the recent proscription of Boko Haram and Ansaru by the federal government noted: “We support the declaration of state of emergency in the three states; we support the committee on the peace and reconciliation, and the proscription of the Boko Haram and Ansarul.”

On the issue of the ban of almajirai system by the Senate, Aliyu said, “Some of us said you don’t just go theoretically and ban a culture, unless you prepare ground for how to absorb it.

“I give an example of my state. I did a census of all the almajirai schools in my state and I have over 3,725 schools with an average of 120 per school. So when you look at that, it is not a question for me to wake up and ban it I have to work out how to absorb the children, how to absorb the Malams that are in that school.”

Other issues contained in the communiqué was the resolve of the NSGF to have an economic plan emanating from the states, zones and the region that will form the basis for economic development of the north.

Northern Govs’ Forum cause of NGF crisis - Yuguda

Bauchi State governor Isa Yuguda yesterday took a swipe at his colleagues from the north. He told them to stop playing politics of evil and betrayal, saying all the crisies and the negative comments made against governors of the 36 states of the federation should be blamed on the Northern States Governors’ Forum.

Yuguda stated vehemently that governors of the northern states are the major culprits of the crisis rocking the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), challenging the chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and Niger State governor Babangida Aliyu to come out boldly and deny before Nigerians that the 19 northern governors came out with Jang as the consensus candidate of the NGF.

Speaking to State House correspondents at the presidential villa yesterday, Yuguda said, “That is why I said all the crises and all the unfortunate comments made about the governors today -- the fault should be traced to the Northern Governors’ Forum because we are the culprits. And that is why I say on his honour,: let the chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum come out and tell Nigerians… So if that had been done all these things that we see wouldn’t have happened. That is why I say, as far as I am concerned, if I will sit with my colleagues and we take a decision and you go and do a different thing, I’m not part of those kind of things and I as a person will not attend the meeting, but my deputy governor can attend on behalf of the people and government of Bauchi State.”

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