Cracks in Northern Governors' Forum
More members of the Northern Governors' Forum are preparing to withdraw their membership of the 19-member group in protest over the May 24 Nigeria Governors' Forum election, the PUNCH has reported.
According to the newspapers Tuesday edition, the governors are those sympathetic to Governor Jonah Jang, who heads a faction of the Nigeria Governors' Forum.
A formidable member of the Northern Governors' Forum and Bauchi State Governor Isa Yuguda had on Sunday pulled out of the group.
Yuguda, one of the two contestants for the Nigeria Governors' Forum election who stepped down for Jang had cited the breach of an agreement by his colleagues to support the Plateau State governor.
'I don't see any reason why I should attend the Northern Governors meeting again. If that is what we will do, I am not going to be part of it. For the remaining two years of my tenure, I will not be part of the Northern Governors' Forum,' he told an Abuja-based newspaper.
He challenged other northern governors who allegedly betrayed the understanding reached during the forum's meeting to own up and face him.
Northern governors had reached an agreement to support Jang as a consensus candidate after asking Yuguda and Shema to step down.
The PUNCH's in the Northern Governors' Forum told one of our correspondents in Abuja on Monday that those that had decided to toe Yugudu's line were particularly miffed by the role played by Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu during the May 24 election.
'If the Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, remains the chairman, pro-Jang governors in the North would leave the forum,'the source said.
Although he did not give the number of pro-Jang governors that might leave the 19-member Northern Governors' Forum, the paper learnt that one of them is in the North Central while another is in North-West.
An aide to the governor in the North Central defended Yuguda's action, saying he simply listened to his conscience.
He said, 'The man(Yuguda) simply listened to his conscience and stepped aside on principle. There was a meeting where the agreement to support Jang was reached. For some members of the same group to betray this agreement is heartbreaking. My governor thinks through decisions before taking them.'
The votes of Aliyu, Rabiu Kwankwaso(Kano) and Sule Lamido( Jigawa) are believed to have given Governor Rotimi Ameachi victory during the Nigeria Governors' Forum election.
A Northern doctor turned politician, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, has however advised Northerners not to lose sleep over the crisis.
Junaid said, 'Politics is a game of numbers, if anybody has any illusions about becoming the President by circumventing the democratic process, good luck to him.
'Such a person will not only have local but international opinion weighing down on him.'
According to him, neither Shema nor Yuguda will be in a position to deliver their states during the 2015 elections.
He said, 'Both of them are second term governors, they stand no chance of installing their own men as successors in their states let alone the Presidency.
'They and others like them cannot stop the North from getting what it wants to get, that I can assure you.'
But the Middle Belt Youth Leaders' Forum called on Aliyu to resign as chairman of the Northern Governors' Forum.
Its National Secretary, Mr. Philip Agbese, told journalists in Abuja that 'the planned removal of Governor Aliyu as Chairman of the Northern Governors' Forum or expiration of his tenure is a development that must be applauded because posterity will not forgive the very actors who have decided to play politics with the unity of the North, which used to be our political bargaining power.'
Meanwhile, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has said it is unfortunate that an election involving only 35 governors could not provide a credible result.
He said while receiving members of the Alliance for Credible Elections and the Original Inhabitants Development Association of Abuja in his Abuja residence, that ' Democracy is nothing, if it does not translate to good governance because at the end of the day, it is good governance that will impact on the lives of the people.'
Onaiyekan added that the security of the people was the most important element of good democratic society.
'We can have an election that is considered as free and fair by everybody but if at the end the people are not served, it is just a useless victory. Every Nigerian is complaining of one form of injustice or the other, some are easy to handle while some are not easy to tackle,'' he said.
In Ilorin, Kwara State, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Dele Belgore, applauded Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State for going to court over the controversy surrounding the Nigeria Governors' Forum election.
Fashola had filed a suit at the Federal Capital Territory High Court in his capacity as a member of NGF.
He asked the court to stop Jang, who now heads a faction of the NGF from parading himself as the chairman of the group.
Belgore in an interview with our correspondent on Monday, said the court was the best arena for redress or arbitration for any aggrieved person.
He said,'That is what the courts are for. I commend anybody who takes his case to the court. The problem is that people take the laws into their hands.
'People abuse their positions. But when someone has a grievance and takes it to court, you submit it to the lawful authority and you set an example for orderliness of society. So I commend Governor Fashola's action.'
Belgore, who was the Action Congress of Nigeria governorship candidate for the 2011 election in Kwara State, said the factionalisation of the NGF was disgraceful and needless.
He accused the Presidency of being behind the crisis, adding that it (Presidency) should not have meddled in NGF election.
The SAN added, 'NGF is a governors' forum and not a forum for the governors of the President. So the forum should have been left alone without interference to determine who its chairman should be. It is the interference and meddlesomeness of the Presidency that has led to this crisis. I think the Presidency and nobody else should be blamed for what has happened.'