The troubled Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, is on the path of reconciliation last night as henchmen behind the two factions met for the first time since the divisive election that splintered the body in May, 2013. The governors, who met at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, last night, were as at 9.30 p.m. yet to formally commence deliberations. However, the presence of the leading lights of the two factions gave the assurance that the governors were set to bury the hatchet.
The NGF split into two after the leadership election in May, 2013 when Rivers Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s score of 19 votes was rejected by supporters of Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State who polled 16 votes. Jang, who was recognised by the Presidency eventually set up a parallel secretariat from the one that had served the unified body before the election. Among the governors that had arrived for the meeting that was set to take place at the Lagos/Osun Hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel were Rotimi Amaechi, (Rivers), Godswill Akpabio, (Akwa Ibom), Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), Rauf Aregbesola, (Osun), Babangida Aliyu, (Niger), Ramallan Yero, (Kaduna), Saidu Dakingari, (Kebbi), Emmanuel Uduaghan, (Delta) and Kashim Shettima (Borno).
Also present were Isa Yuguda (Bauchi), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), deputy governor of Kogi State, Arc Yomi Awoniyi and the Deputy governor of Kano and Governor-elect, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. The deputy governors of Nasarawa and Imo states and the governor-elect of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel were also present. Earlier in the evening, yesterday, Governor Kashim Shettima emerged chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum, NSGF, taking over from the outgoing governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu who spent eight years as chairman. His election came as the NGSF vowed to ensure reconciliation among the larger body of governors in the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF. Reflective of that pledge, Governor Aliyu following the meeting of the northern governors led his colleagues to the scheduled meeting of the NGF called by the Governor Rotimi Amaechi-led faction.
Speaking after the meeting of the NGSF that took place at the Niger State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja yesterday night, Aliyu said that the move to mediate and unite all the governors would among others, help rebuild the body for a better Nigeria. He said: “The goal is to mediate and unite the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, that has been fragmented in the past few years.” Present at the meeting were governors of Gombe, Adamawa, Kaduna, Niger, Benue, Kwara, Borno, Zamfara, Bauchi, Kebbi, Kano Governor- elect, and Kogi State deputy governor.
The Deputy Governor of Kano State and the state’s Governor-elect, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje emerged deputy chairman of the NGSF. The new leadership would be inaugurated June or July with all former governors of northern extraction expected to be in attendance.