Nigerian governors lament yet another cancellation of Economic Council meeting


Governors say urgent issues need to be discussed

Nigeria’s state governors have lamented the continued cancellation of the National Economic Council meeting by the presidency, describing the development as disturbing.

The meeting is supposed to hold monthly and is constitutionally headed by the vice president.

The governors’ lament was contained in the communiqué they issued after the meeting of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, which held Wednesday at the Rivers State Governors lodge, Abuja.

The communiqué, which was signed by the Chairman of the NGF, and Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, said the governors were disappointed at yet another postponement of the NEC.

“The forum is concerned that a pattern is emerging where the National Economic Council meeting has been postponed for five consecutive months,” the NGF said.

It also said it has become disturbing that governors were invited to Abuja for National Economic Council, NEC, meetings only to be told of its cancellation usually on the eve of the meeting, after their arrival, without any reason.

The governors stated that this was happening despite issues of urgent national importance that ought to be addressed at the National Economic Council, NEC, meeting. They added that the consequence of such action was that Nigeria now had a 2014 national budget without input from the states, resulting to a lack of sense of ownership of the budget process.

The governors had wanted to use the occasion of the NEC to seek formal answers from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and the Ministry of Finance on the non-remittance of N49.8 billion into the Federation Account.

“In the absence of the National Economic Council meetings the platform for resolving these issues becomes non-existent,” they said.

The forum also reviewed the draft of its 2013–2015 Strategic Plan and agreed to a series of steps on its vision, mission and objectives. The governors noted the successes of the last Strategic Plan of 2010 – 2012, particularly on peer learning and polio eradication. The forum, however, identified the need to improve on feedback mechanisms in the implementation of the plan.

The governors consequently pledged to focus more on agriculture, security, education and anti-corruption strategies in the new plan.

To achieve their resolve to implement the strategic plan, the forum agreed to hold a special retreat in Lagos in March, 2014.

The forum said it noted with concern the developments in Rivers State, adding in light of controversies concerning the deployment of the police, the President should call for a meeting of the police council to discuss this and other related issues.

The Governors who attended Wednesday’s meeting included host Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers as well as Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto, Sule Lamido of Jigawa, Tanko Almakura  of Nasarawa, and Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun.

Others were Kashim Shettima of Borno, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Adams Oshiomhole of Edo, and Babatunde Fashola of Lagos. The governors of Kano, Zamfara and Imo were represented by their deputies.

Governors who belong to the Jonah Jang-led faction of the NGF boycotted the meeting.

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