New NGF Chairman to Emerge Friday Election of deputy on the cards

By Chuks Okocha

After weeks of high-wire politicking, the 36 governors of the federation will at last meet on Friday to elect a new chairman and deputy chairman for the Nigerian Governors' Forum (NGF).

This was contained in a notice of the meeting signed by the Director General of the secretariat of the NGF, Asishana Okauru, and sent to all the governors Tuesday.

The rescheduling of the date was against the backdrop of claims by some governors that they did not get the first notice of the meeting previously slated for tomorrow.

The Friday meeting was convened in line with the NGF constitution that stipulates that 72 hours notice must be given prior to an election.

The NGF secretariat advised the governors interested in contesting for the positions of chairman and vice-chairman to submit their notices of intent to run for the posts before Friday.

Other issues to be addressed at the meeting include the vacant seats on the board of trustees of the NGF to be filled by one person each from the north-central, north-eastern, south-western and south-eastern zones, and two from the north-western zone.

Okauru also confirmed the Friday meeting to THISDAY, stating, “I have just been informed that the governors will meet on Friday by 4 pm and the venue is the Rivers State Governor's Lodge.”

Some of the governors are already in Abuja plotting who to back between the either the incumbent chairman and Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi and the Governor of Katsina, Ibrahim Shema, or another dark horse that may emerge at the last second.

As at press time, THISDAY learnt that the anti-Amaechi governors were still collecting signatures to ensure that the choice of the presidency, which wants to see the back of Amaechi, emerges the new chairman.

But it was not certain if the anti-Amaechi governors had been able to garner sufficient votes that would give them a simple majority to secure victory for their preferred candidate.

Also in question was the mode of election for the chairmanship contest. Whilst some of the governors prefer the secret ballot system to decide who becomes the chairman, others who are pro-Amaechi are insisting that the mode of election should be in line with democratic ethos and pushing for an open ballot.

However, some governors would prefer that there is no election whatsoever and a chairman is selected by consensus, as an election would divide the forum.

A governor, who preferred not to be quoted, told THISDAY that the chairman of the NGF has always been emerged through consensus, saying, “Even Amaechi was appointed in 2011 by consensus.”