14 governors shun Northern Govs Forum meeting
14 northern governors on Thursday stayed away from the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) meeting, which took place in Kaduna Thursday .
The development is aftermath of f the Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF) elections as some governors from the region are miffed at what they call an act of betrayal by some of their colleagues who voted for the Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi to retain his position as chairman of the NGF.
Only five of the 19 governors from the region attended the meeting of the NSGF.
However, seven northern governors were represented by their deputies, two by their Secretaries to the State Government (SSG), two were absent but sent their apologies, while three stayed away.
The governors, who attended the meeting, included Aliyu, Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Tanko Almakura (Nasarawa), Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo (Gombe) and the host governor, Alhaji Mukhtar Yero of Kaduna State.
Those who were represented by their deputies included Kwara, Kano, Kogi, Borno, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi States, while Plateau and Benue were represented by their SSGs.
Adamawa and Taraba States, according to the chairman of the forum, sent their apologies, while the governors of Katsina, Yobe and Bauchi States were absent.
Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda, had earlier given indications that he had parted ways with the NSGF.
He was quoted to have reiterated his stand on Thursday.
He accused the Niger State Governor and Chairman of the NSGF, Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu, of betrayal.
Prior to the NGF chairmanship election, the governors on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had met and asked their colleagues - Yuguda and the Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema - who had thrown their hats into the ring, to step down for the Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, as the consensus candidate of the party.
However, during the election, five of the northern governors turned around to vote for Amaechi, thus handing victory in the chairmanship contest to the River State governor.
But Aliyu admitted that there were problems with the NGF election but promised they would be resolved.
'If I'm to tell you what led to the problem in the NGF, we will stay here till tomorrow, so I have no intention of doing that.
'I will only tell you that in whatever process of election or whatever, there may be one person or the other that will be aggrieved. But we seem to be developing a culture, even in our normal elections, such that as you prepare to contest for elections, you should also prepare to contest it in the court.
'I am speaking to you as the chairman of NSGF, so if you want my view I will tell you we had an election, we have a problem, but we will resolve it,' the governor said.
But he declined to state categorically who had emerged winner of the NGF election. When asked, 'Who won the election?' He responded: 'You.'
Yuguda, who was at the State House, Abuja to see President Goodluck Jonathan for an undisclosed issue, told State House correspondents that prior to the controversial NGF election, all the 19 governors, who are members of the NSGF had agreed in principle that Jang of Plateau State was their consensus candidate for the post of the NGF leadership.
Observing that since Amaechi was a product of a consensus arrangement, Yuguda therefore insisted that Jang remained the leader of the NGF, against the backdrop of their adoption of the Plateau governor, saying the crisis could have been averted if Aliyu had provided astute leadership and direction.
'In the first place, we have never had elections in the NGF. I was in Ilorin and I seconded the motion that made Amaechi the chairman of NGF. There were only 13 of us in Ilorin, so if 19 governors presented a candidate in a 35- member association, I think the game should have been over that a consensus had been reached.
'In all things, my word should be my bond. If I had sat down with 19 of my colleagues and we agreed on something, I should not see the chairman of that forum not coming to protect the integrity of the Northern Governors' Forum and by extension, the Nigeria Governors' Forum and that is why I say all the crisis and all the unfortunate comments made about the governors today, the fault should be traced to the Northern Governors’ Forum.
'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 that either we in the forum did not agree on Jang or we did,' Yuguda stressed.
Explaining why he quit the NSGF, Yuguda said he did so because he felt that leadership is about integrity and honour; and having taken the path of dignity, it would be inconsistent with his status to continue to pitch his tent with Aliyu as a person.
Instead, he said his deputy would seat on the NSGF on behalf of his state, adding: 'As for me as a person, I don’t want to attend their meetings, but my deputy can attend on behalf of the people and government of Bauchi State. But as a person, I will not. That has always been my position.'