The retreat is to discuss corruption, dwindling state of education, and Nigeria’s dependence on oil.
The Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, has invited members of the splinter group led by the Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, to its retreat holding in Lagos on March 13 and 14.
Of the 16 members of the group, six have been listed as discussants in various topics lined up for discussion at the retreat, according to the invitation signed by NGF Chairman and River State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi.
Mr. Jang and his Bayelsa State counterpart, Seriake Dickson, have been listed among seven other Nigerians to discuss a topic, “Institutional and Social Drivers of Insecurity at the sub-national level: Finding Workable Solutions.”
Others governors that will discuss the topic are Governors Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Kashim Shettima (Borno), Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe), Abdul-aziz Yari (Zamfara) and Sule Lamido (Jigawa).
The topic is to be presented by Jon Ode, a retired Air Vice Marshall in the Nigeria Air Force, Innocent Chukwuma of the Ford Foundation, and Haruna Abdullahi, a security consultant. The session will be chaired by a former Police Affairs Minister, Ibrahim Lame.
In a session that will be chaired by a former governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki, Governors Saidu Dakingari of Kebbi State and Sullivan Chime of Enugu State will join their counterparts from Adamawa, Kwara, Nasarawa and Oyo States to discuss a twin topic of, “Overview of the Current State of Agriculture in the States” and “Nigeria Without Oil: Unlocking Agricultural Value Chain,” which will be presented by the quartet of Babagana Gambo, Victor Okoruwa, Alfred Dixon and Bismarck Rewane.
Governors Ibrahim Dankwambo and Martin Elechi, governors of Gombe and Ebonyi, respectively will discuss the topic, “Building Systems and Institutions that prevent Corruption,” in a session that will be chaired by a former Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, Mustapha Akanbi.
They are to discuss the topic, which will be presented by the pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu and Akin Oyebode, a professor, alongside Governors Babatunde Fashola (Lagos), Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto) and Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun).
On their parts, Governors Shehu Shema of Katsina State and Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State will be discussants on a topic titled, “Improving Access and Quality Education at the Sub-national Level,” which will be presented by Oyesoji Aremu, a professor at the University of Ibadan.
The other governors who will discuss the topic to be chaired by Grace Alele-Willaims, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin, are Governors Rabi’u Kwankwaso (Kano), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Babangida Aliyu (Niger) and Mr. Amaechi.
The Forum’s strategic plan for 2014 to 2016 will be adopted at the Lagos retreat, according to the programme.
The NGF split into two last May 24 following the re-election of Mr. Amaechi, who is also the governor of Rivers State, as its chairman. Mr. Amaechi defeated Mr. Jang by 19 votes to 16.
However, the 16 governors kicked against the result and subsequently announced the formation of the splinter group, allegedly backed by the presidency.
The group has since opened a parallel secretariat in the Maitama District of Abuja.
Osaze Onaiwu, the Sole Administrator of the Jang-led NGF told PREMIUM TIMES that none of its members would attend the Lagos retreat, alleging that the Amaechi-led group had turned itself to opposition.
“They cannot invite any governor in our Forum,” he said. “The retreat in Sokoto was an opposition retreat because they were fighting the federal government. The NGF was not set up to fight the federal government but to collaborate with it to strengthen and provide the dividends of democracy.
“Secondly, we are not aware of any meeting in Lagos. No letter was sent to us. The Chairman, Jonah Jang is celebrating his 70th birthday this weekend and all the governors will be there.”
The proposed retreat in Lagos is the second the Amaechi-led NGF, which has its secretariat in the Asokoro District of the federal capital, will be organising.
It had organised the first one in Sokoto last November during which it alleged that over $5 billion was missing from the Excess Crude Account, ECA.
The Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, however, debunked the claim, saying the money had been shared to the three tiers of government in the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC, out of which the Rivers State Government got N56.2 billion.
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