The Plateau governor accused Governor Kwakwanso of causing NGF rift.
The factional chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, Jonah Jang, has absolved the Presidency of inducing 16 governors with N2 billion each for the Forum’s election last year. He also accused the Kano State Governor, Rabi’u Kwankwaso of causing division amongst the governors.
Mr. Kwankwaso had alleged that the 16 governors that voted for Mr. Jang got N2 billion from the Jonathan administration.
He made the allegation in the Government House in Kano on Wednesday during a meeting between him and a team from the Chibuike Amaechi-led NGF Secretariat on Peer Review Mechanism.
The team was led by the Director General of NGF, Ashishana Okauru.
“Each of the 16 governors that voted Governor Jang has benefited from N2 billion from our money given to them free of charge. All of us from Amaechi’s side were given nothing; that is not being fair, that is not even correct, it is illegal,” Mr. Kwankwaso had said in apparent reference to the National Ecological Fund shared by the presidency to 16 states, all governed by the pro-Jonathan governors.
Several months after the All Progressives Congress first made the accusation of the selective disbursement, the Presidency is yet to respond or explain the rational for the disbursement.
The Governors Forum has been in crisis since the re-election of the Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, as its chairman last May 24. Mr. Amaechi had emerged victorious after beating Mr. Jang, his lone challenger by 19 votes to 16.
Some governors led by the Plateau State Governor, however, kicked against the result of the election thus splitting the Forum into two.
Mr. Jang, in a statement sent from the faction’s media office and signed by Kassim Yakubu on Thursday, claimed no such money was shared to the governors; and that if anybody received any bribe, it must be Mr. Kwankwaso.
He, however, did not say whether or not his state received N2 billion from the federal government for the ecological fund.
Mr. Jang said it was the Kano State Governor who nominated him for the chairmanship of the Forum when the northern governors met to agree on a consensus candidate.
The Plateau State Governor alleged that Mr. Kwankwaso’s action, aided by a few other governors, sowed the seed of discord amongst the governors.
According to him, Mr. Kwankwaso and his group were now finding it difficult to live with the consequences of their action and had resorted to throwing allegations out there believing that Nigerians do not have any memory of the events leading to the division of the Forum.
“The opposition governors’ forum is getting desperate as they see their numbers dropping daily and think they can deceive Nigerians with baseless allegations. Gov. Kwankwaso should tell Nigerians if I gave him money to nominate me,” Mr. Jang said.
“That grand deceit of nominating me and doing something else is the foundation of the division. He should tell Nigerians how and when the N2 billion was paid.
“When he proudly made it public that he was being smart by nominating me and leading others to vote against me, what was he expecting? That deceit and dishonesty was the beginning of playing politics with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and now he is not happy with what he created. He can always come back to the forum of the chairman he nominated.”
The NGF factional chairman called on Nigerians to always test the veracity of statements designed to mislead and incite the public, stating that “Nigeria was bigger than a group of individuals who in seeking relevance have resulted to bending the facts and playing politics with all issues regardless of the long term effects on the nation.”
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