NGF crisis: I will never attend Northern Governors meeting again, Bauchi Governor, Yuguda, vows

Governor Isa Yuguda

The Bauchi Governor blamed his northern colleagues for the NGF crisis.

The Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda, on Thursday in Abuja said the Northern States’ Governors Forum and its leadership should be blamed for the crisis rocking the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).

Mr. Yuguda made this assertion during an interview with State House correspondents shortly after he held a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa.

“The blame for all the crises and all the unfortunate comments made about the governors today should be traced to the Northern States’ Governors Forum (NSGF) because we the members are the culprits.

“That is why I say, on his honour, let the Chairman of the NSGF come out and tell Nigerians the truth.

“It is either of the two that we the 19 northern states governors did not come out with Jonah Jang (the Plateau Governor) as the consensus candidate, or we decided and picked Jang as our consensus candidate.

“So, if that has been done all these things that we have seen wouldn’t have happened,’’ he said.

The governor however said he was going to take a different approach henceforth to ensure there would not be a recurrence of such.

“That is why I now say, as far as I am concerned, that if I will sit with my colleagues and we will take a decision and some people will then go and do a different thing, I will not be part of those kind of things.

“I, as a person, will not attend such a meeting again. But my Deputy Governor can attend on behalf of the people and government of Bauchi state. But, as a person, I will not. That has always been my position,’’ he said.

Mr. Yuguda, speaking further on the NGF crisis, explained that it was the turn of the North to produce the chairman of the forum.

“It was based on this that the NSGF endorsed the Plateau Governor as a consensus candidate,’’ he said.

The Bauchi State Governor said it was unfortunate that the Niger Governor and NSGF Chairman could not come out openly to defend the position.

“If today we 19 governors can sit down in Abuja and decide that one of us who is supposed to be rightfully the Chairman of the NGF, because the slot is for the North, is elected, there is nothing wrong with that.

“We were 19 out of the 35 governors, who were present, and we had decided and we went with that decision. Normally when we take a decision, our chairman will speak to announce it.

“By affirmation, all of us decided on one person and that is Jonah Jang, the governor of Plateau.

“So, on our own honour, we went to the PDP Governors’ Forum and the chairman of the NSGF, who is the Talba of Minna and governor of Niger, presented Jang as our consensus candidate.

“And there was a standing ovation. We were congratulated and appreciated by our colleagues, that we (I and Gov. Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State) stepped down for Jang,’’ he said.

Mr. Yuguda said that there had never been a time the chairman of the NGF had emerged by any election but only by a consensus.

“In the first place, we have never had any election in the NGF. I was in Ilorin and I was the one who seconded the motion that made Gov. Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers the chairman of NGF.

“Only 13 of us were in Ilorin and if 19 governors presented a candidate in a 35-member association, I think the game is over and it has been a consensus.

“There must be integrity in governance, because we the governors should be people of integrity. We should be role models and we should not play evil politics as far as I am concerned, because most people associate politics to evil.

“If you don’t know how to tell lies, if you don’t know how to betray, if you don’t know how to have double face, you are not a good politician.

“But I am not carved out for that. I am a professional chartered banker. I was the Managing Director of two banks and I served this country as cabinet minister twice and governor twice.

“My word should be my bond, and if I sat down with 18 of my colleagues and we have agreed on something, I should not see the chairman of that forum reneging on the integrity of the NSGF and by extension the NGF,’’ he said.

The Bauchi State Governor also underscored the need to put in place a Code of Conduct which would be guiding the activities of the NGF.

“If there is no such code of conduct and ethics guiding the office of a governor, very soon nobody will want to be a governor. We should all go and sleep and think over that and we will all confirm that I am right. There is honour in leadership and God sanctions leadership.

“If God has sanctioned leadership in our books of faith, I can’t see evil associated with leadership,’’ he said.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the northern governors adopted Mr. Jang as a consensus candidate hours before the NGF election.

However, at the election, some of the Northern governors apparently voted for Mr. Amaechi who defeated Mr. Jang by 19 to 16 votes, with the Yobe State Governor absent.

Governors loyal to Mr. Jang rejected the result with the Plateau Governor now running a parallel NGF.

Mr. Yuguda was among 14 northern governors who shunned Thursday’s meeting of the NSGF.

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