Only five governors attended the meeting.
The crisis rocking the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, may have split the governors of the 19 northern states as only five of them attended Thursdays meeting of the Northern State Governors Forum in Kaduna.
The governors that attended the meeting are the chairman of the northern governors’ forum, Babangida Aliyu of Niger; Sule Lamido of Jigawa; Ibrahim Dankwanbo of Gombe; Tanko Almakura of Nasarawa; and the host governor, Mukhtar Yero of Kaduna State. The others were represented by their deputies.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the governors did not discuss the controversy that returned Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State as chairman of the NGF, and Jonah Jang of Plateau State as a factional chairman.
The northern governors in support of Mr. Jang are believed to have shelved the meeting in protest against what they considered a betrayal during the NGF meeting.
Hours before last month’s meeting and chairmanship election of the NGF, the northern governors had met and endorsed Mr. Jang as their candidate for chairman. The results of the election, in which Mr. Jang lost to Mr. Amaechi by 16 votes to 19, however showed that some of the northern governors did not vote for the Plateau Governor.
Since the voting was by secret ballot, no one can say for certain how the governors voted although three of the northern governors, who are not members of the Peoples Democratic Party, reportedly voted for Mr. Amaechi.
Niger governor admits problems
The Chairman of the northern governors’ forum, Babangida Aliyu, admitted that there were problems among the governors.
“I know there was election (NGF) that someone won. We are having problems and we will solve it,” Mr. Aliyu said while responding to questions from newsmen.
The traditional press briefing prior to the meeting proper was unusually shelved.
Mr. Aliyu simply asked journalists to leave the venue of the meeting so that the northern governors could meet.
The meeting started around 11:00 a.m. and ended around 1:30 p.m.
A communiqué signed by the chairman at the end of the meeting expressed concern over the economic problems facing the nation and the north in particular and resolved to have an economic plan that would emanate from the states, zones and the region to form a basis for economic development.
The Forum also asked northern states to study the recommendations in the Draft White Paper of the Committee on Reconciliation, Healing and Security and promptly implement them as appropriate in the interest of peaceful co-existence and development of the country.
On the Petroleum Industry Bill, the meeting noted that member states had already articulated and forwarded their various positions on the bill to the National Assembly. The forum therefore resolved to continue to engage members of the National Assembly for the speedy passage of the bill in the overall interest of all.