AC Condenms Governors' Plan To Train At Harvard

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The Action Congress (AC) has asked the federal government to investigate the circumstances surrounding a pact supposedl y signed between Nigerian state governors and Harvard University in the US for the training of the Nigerian state chief executives on good governance.

The call came after the university reportedly disclaimed the agreement, which has attracted angry reactions from Nigerians at home and abroad.

In a statement made available to PANA here Sunday, AC described the branding of the umbrella Governors' Forum as a liar by Harvard as ''an embarrassment and a terrible dent on Nigeria's image''.

The party therefore asked the federal government to probe the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Governors' Forum and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

``If it was found that the Governors' Forum had indeed lied about signing an MOU with Harvard when the training document was only a draft - as claimed by Harvard - then the FG should issue an appropriate reprimand to the Governors' Forum to prevent a recurrence. Of course we also expect that the development will attract public opprobrium for the governors,'' it said.

The private Nigerian daily Punch Saturday quoted the head of Kennedy School, Prof. Robert Rotberg, as saying the document being brandished by the Nigerian governors was a mere draft that had not been approved by the univer sity authorities.

''The Forum has not reached an agreement with Harvard University. An MOU was drafted by me and the Forum, but it never was submitted to or approved by officials of the Kennedy School or Harvard University,'' Rotberg was quoted as saying.

On Sunday, another Nigerian newspaper, Thisday, published what it said was a duly-signed agreement between the Forum and Harvard.

Meanwhile, the AC has condemned the plan by the Nigerian governors to be trained by Harvard.

The party said in the first instance, it was nothing but a sheer misadventure for state chief executives, supposedly elected on the basis of their impressive manifestos, to now seek to acquire - from a foreign university - the wherewithal to govern their states.

It wondered why the governors had to wait to be elected before learning how to govern, calling ''their shameless quest at Harvard an indication of a serious inferiority complex and an admission of incompetence''.

``State governors who have distinguished themselves in Nigeria - for example in Lagos starting from Alhaji Lateef Jakande to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and now Babatunde Fasola - did not go to Harvard to learn how to govern after their resp ective elections.

``Is it Harvard that will tell a governor how to provide decent healthcare, potable water and necessary infrastructure for his or her people, especially when the Harvard trainer has never visited Nigeria? Does the Nigerian Constitution allow a sittin g state governor to take a study leave? Or is the fake MOU with Harvard estacode - induced as some have said?

``In any case, even if the governors are keen on refreshing their knowledge and expertise in governance, are they saying there is no institution in Nigeria that can do that? Do they realise that by their Harvard show of shame, they have passed a vote of no confidence in their own (state-run) universities as well as the myriad of federal and private universities in this country?'' AC queried.

The party said the ''Harvard misadventure'' was yet another instance of the ''festival of profligacy'' in which many state governors have become key participants, ''a development that has ensured that the dividends of democracy have been elusive, even after 10 years of the much-acclaimed best system of governance.''