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Nigeria: NGF Chairmanship, governors set for showdown

Gov Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers StateBarring any last-minute change of plans, state governors are set to meet with a view to resolving the lingering crisis of succession in Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) at a time a segment of the forum has threatened to quit the association.

The situation was hazy last night as the pro and anti-Governor Rotimi Amaechi forces dug in.

Even in the midst of the controversy surrounding the succession agenda in the NGF, there were indications that some governors  are set to pass a vote of confidence on Amaechi at a meeting of the body that may hold tomorrow in Abuja..

Late last night, Codewit was told by the camp of one of the governors opposed to the incumbent chairman of the forum,  Amaechi, who is also the governor  of Rivers State, that “if the right thing is not done, some of us are ready to pull out of the NGF in the next meeting. That is given already. And they know.”

Upon further enquiry about what the right thing is, Codewit was made to understand that the “things which stalled the meeting of last Thursday can be broken down into two:

“some of us said ‘give us the score-card, the achievements for the tenure’, which was a legitimate demand and a normal thing to do at the end of the tenure of every executive of any association.

“The second demand was that elections should not be by affirmation. Open the space for interested candidates. Let’s conduct this election as it should be. Let there be democracy or even semblance of it. These are our minimum demands. On these grounds, at least 13 of us are speaking with one voice. This has nothing to do with any rumoured presidential ambition or whatever.

“Do we look like people that could be sponsored? At how much?  You have a rash, arrogant and overbearing situation in your hand and then you need to be flogged to assert your independence. In NGF we are all equal. Nobody is the boss.
“We were selectively invited to meeting (NGF meeting).

“At the meeting, the Secretariat claimed they sent out all invitations accordingly. However, when some of us got wind of the meeting, we dashed in to attend. Even those that got ‘invitations’, election was not on the agenda but suddenly it found its way into the agenda”.

However, sources said the basis for the reform which some governors are seeking is embedded in the report of the Governor Raji Fashola Committee.

The report of the committee sought to reform the NGF, just as it made some recommendations.

Codewit gathered that the recommendations, some of which have to do with tenure of office and terms of office, are yet to be ratified by the body.

Meanwhile, some governors are also speaking for the Forum as a body.

In two separate interviews, some governors insist that what is happening now could be likened to a storm in a tea cup.
One of them said: “This is not the first time that the NGF would be having issues to resolve.  Every time governors face issues that threaten to tear the body apart, we have always found a way to resolve our differences.

“This one would not be different.  We would find a way to stick together and resolve whatever differences that exist. Mind you, some of the states have never had it so good in terms of revenue accruing to them.

“Some of the things people misconstrue to be acts of confrontation with the Presidency on the part of our chairman are products of decisions collectively taken by all of us and agreed to”.

Of importance in this tango is the cold water being poured on the on-going good governance tour, a project reportedly instituted by the NGF but which some governors are now dissociating themselves from.

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