…As Jang accuses opposition of hatching NGF’s crisis
By Peter Duru, Taye Obateru & Hope Ofobike
Governor Gabriel Suswam has declared that with the high level of distrust and wrangling among Governors in the country, the meeting of northern Governors may have ceased to exist.
Also, his Plateau State counterpart and factional chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, Governor Jonah Jang has accused opposition parties of being the architects behind the crisis within the forum, adding that their aim was to destabilise the ruling People’s Democratic Party, (PDP).
Suswam who made this declaration yesterday while fielding questions from newsmen in Makurdi, said some governors in the north were not playing by the rules and by so doing negating the principles of honour.
He said since the governors could not trust each other and stand in unison on issues of common interest, it was no longer tenable for most members to belong to the forum.
He said, “There is no pretense about it, some of us find it hard to belong to a meeting where decisions reached are flagrantly flaunted.
”It is no longer honourable to belong to the meeting of northern Governors because we cannot pretend that we belong to a meeting, and when certain decisions are reached, members would go out and take a contrary position.
”I’ll find it difficult to sit in such a meeting, it is certainly not honourable to do such a thing and that is the position of some of us and I do not see anything wrong with that because we are not compelled to be part of the meeting.
”But I think there is need for us to talk to ourselves because it will certainly be difficult for us to come together to discuss any issue anymore, when you know that the people will go out and do the opposite.”
While recalling reasons responsible for this development, Suswam said, “why would 18 of us in the North unanimously reach a decision in our meeting that Governor Jang should be the next chairman of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum, which was also affirmed by the PDP Governors’ forum only for our members who endorsed that decision to turn their backs against our unanimous position; it means the house is divided against itself,” he added.
Jang says Jonathan has no preference among governors
Heaping the blame on the opposition parties, Governor Jang maintained that no matter how they try to break up the PDP, they will fail in their plot. “In reality those in opposition are trying to use NGF to break up the PDP; they are accusing us that we are taking directives from the presidency. But I am sure that they will fail in their plot. But not all the opposition are involved in this plot because the Governor of Ondo State is also of the opposition.
Fielding questions from newsmen yesterday during what was tagged a “Midterm Media Interaction,” Jang absolved President Goodluck Jonathan of blame in the crisis, insisting that those accusing him were doing so wrongly.
“We don’t want to create a scenario that people will see Nigerian governors as irresponsible; that is why we are maintaining our calm after the election . We challenge Governor Rotimi Amaechi to show Nigerians what transpired during the four hours of the election instead of deceiving the country”.
Jang regretted that politics had been brought into a forum that was supposed to be a gathering of like minds promising to continue to reach out to his colleagues to resolve the crisis.
“We are supporters of the president in running the country. He has no preference among the governors. When I was contesting, the President was outside the country, there was no consultation with him. Neither did he call me or anybody to the best of my knowledge; so, why the accusation against Mr. President?”, he wondered.
Sacks 11,000 workers
The governor also disclosed that the staff audit carried out in the state had exposed about 11,000 ghost workers in the state civil service.
He said after series of verifications, the initial 22,000 staff strength came down to 17,000 and later to 11,000 after another exercise. He vowed that those involved would be made to face the music.
The governor who praised newsmen for their contributions to nation building, urged them to put the interest of the country uppermost by highlighting only issues that will promote peace and development.