By BEN AGANDE & LUKA BINNIYAT
…We had an election — Gov Aliyu *Northern govs responsible for crisis — Yuguda
KADUNA—Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum, NSGF, and Governor of Niger State, Dr Babangida Aliyu insisted, Thursday, that contrary to the claim of some of his colleagues, the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, actually had an election which produced a winner even as Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State blamed the northern governors for the crisis in the NGF.
Governor Aliyu spoke at the end of the Northern States Governors’ Forum meeting in Kaduna while Governor Yuguda addressed newsmen after meeting President Goodluck Jonathan.
Governor Aliyu said, “If I am to tell you what led to the problem in the NGF, we will stay here till tomorrow, so I have no intention of doing that. I will only tell you that in any election there may be one person or the other who will be aggrieved.
“It is sad that we seem to be developing this type of culture even in our normal elections because as you prepare to contest for elections, you should also prepare to contest in the court. I am speaking to you as the Chairman NSGF, and if you want my view I will tell you we had an election.
“All I know is that we had an election. And you can interpret what I mean by that. Yes, we have a problem, but we will solve it”.
Reacting to the report that Governor Yuguda said he was opting out of the NSGF, the chairman of the NSGF said, “If Yuguda said he was no longer a member of this forum, he did not write to this meeting about that.
“This is a voluntary organisation and we have resolved as a group to follow this informally. That is why you did not hear any one of us reply him the way you heard him.
Aliyu’s statement read: “A delegation of the Forum will visit Nasarawa State with a view to condoling the government and people of Nasarawa State over the recent civil unrest that led to the colossal loss of lives and property. The Forum also condemned the action and condole the security operatives and families that lost their beloved ones
“The Forum further expressed concern over the economic problems facing the nation and the North in particular and resolved to have an economic plan emanating from the states, zones and the region that will form the basis for economic development of the North”
The Governors that attended the meeting aside Aliyu were: Mukhtar Ramallan Yero of Kaduna State, Sule Lamido of Jigawa State, Tanko Almakura of Nasarawa State and Hassan Dankwabo of Gombe State.
Apart from Plateau State and Benue State governors who sent their Secretaries to the State Governments, most of the governors were represented by their deputies.
However, Katsina, Yobe and Bauchi state governors did not send representatives and did not send any apology to the meeting.
Northern Govs responsible for crisis — Yuguda
Meanwhile, the governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Isa Yuguda, yesterday, said the Northern Governors Forum should be blamed for the crisis in the Nigerian Governors Forum.
Addressing newsmen after meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, Governor Yuguda said he did not understand why the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, Babangida Aliyu who presided over the meeting where Jonah Jang was picked as a consensus candidate did not protect that decision.
He said: “If 19 governors presented a candidate in a 35-member association, the game is over and it has been consensus candidates all the way.You are all young men and my heart bleeds for all of you because there must be integrity in governance.
“We your governors should be men of high integrity, we should be role models and we should not play evil politics because most people associate politics with 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 as for me I am not cut out for that.
“My words should be my bond. If I had sat down with 19 of my colleagues and we agreed on something, I should not see the chairman of that forum not coming to protect the integrity of the Northern Governors Forum and by extension the Nigerian Governors Forum.
“That is why I say all the crisis and all the unfortunate comments made about the governors today, the fault should be traced to the Northern Governors Forum because we are the culprits and that is why I say on his honour, let the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum come out and tell Nigerians that either we in the forum did not come out with Jang as our consensus candidate or we, 19 governors, picked Jang as our consensus candidate.
“If that has been done, all these things will not happen and that is why I say if I will sit with my colleagues and we take a decision and you go and do a different thing, I am not part of that.
“As for me as a person, I don’t want to attend their meeting but my deputy 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 that if the governors are unable to set a code of conduct and ethics in office of a governor, “very soon, nobody will want to be a governor. Go and think and sleep over this and you will 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 cannot see evil associated with leadership. So anybody that associates politics with evil and wants to play the evil way is not part of us” he said.
He however reiterated that despite the problems confronting the PDP, there is no party that can uproot it from power. “I cannot see any rocket science that can dislodge PDP” he said.