The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) crisis deepened at the weekend as the Rivers State Governor and Chairman of a faction, Chief Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, told all the governors to boycott the emergency meeting convened by the group led by his Plateau State counterpart, Jonah Jang, scheduled for Abuja today.
Amaechi, who said he has not called for any meeting of the forum, warned Jang to desist from parading himself as the Chairman of NGF and stop impersonating him. The meeting summoned by Jang would hold by 6 p.m at the NGF Secretariat, No. 2 Nana Close, off Nile Street, Maitama, Abuja.
He reminded Jang that there is a suit instituted by the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), against Governor Jang to stop parading himself as the NGF’s chairman.
Amaechi said that he remains the only Chairman of the forum, duly-elected by a vote tally of 19 as against 16 polled by Jang on Thursday, May 23, 2013.
Jang had convened an emergency meeting of the forum to discuss the fallout of the Federal Allocation Account Committee (FAAC) meeting and take a collective stand on areas where agreement could not be reached.
A statement by the Director of Press Affairs to Governor Jang, Mr. James Mannok, stated: “In view of the impasse arising from the Federal Allocation Account Committee meeting, an emergency meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum has been convened.”
After the emergency meeting, according to Mannok, the 36 governors would be expected to meet President Goodluck Jonathan on matters arising from the meeting by 9p.m today.
Jang advised the governors to attend the parley promptly as he urged Nigerians, especially his colleagues to put the incident of his election as the Chairman of the forum behind them.
But a statement personally issued by Amaechi yesterday said: “On Saturday, June 15 and Sunday, June 16, reports in the media credited to my brother governor, Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State announced that it has called for a Nigeria Governors’ Forum meeting.
“Ordinarily, I would have ignored these reports as I do not imagine that as governors who hold our people’s mandate through the democratic process of free and fair elections, we would do anything to impugn our integrity.
“However, as Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, elected by my colleagues to safeguard their integrity and that of the forum, it has become imperative for me to request my brother and Governor Jang to remain within the confines of decorum and cease to impersonate me and to stop parading himself as NGF chairman. There is only one chairman of the forum, duly elected by a vote tally of 19:16 on Thursday, May 23, 2013.
“For the avoidance of doubt, I, as Chairman of the NGF, have not called for any Governors’ Forum meeting for Monday, June 17, 2013. The only meeting scheduled for Monday, June 17, is a meeting of all governors with His Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan, scheduled to hold at 9:00pm at Aso Rock Villa. All governors should please ensure attendance at this meeting with Mr. President.
“I wish to reassure my brother governors that this forum shall pass and we all will be reunited as one family committed to our nation’s unity and supporting Mr. President in his vision for a Nigeria that safeguards the rights of all its citizens to good governance and democratic norms.”
Amaechi, who described Governor Jang as his brother and friend, said he did not harbour any ill-feelings against him. While noting that it is important that Jang stops impersonating him, he warned that the action could rubbish the good work all the 36 governors have done together.
“May I remind Governor Jang that there is a legal action that has been instituted against him by Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State from parading himself as the chairman of NGF. As leaders elected by our people, Nigerians are closely watching us. We must comport ourselves according to the dictates and principles of democratic and lawful practices,” Amaechi stated.
Information from Sun News was used in this report.