By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- CHAIRMAN, Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF and Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi is holding yet another retreat in Lagos, with invitation extended to the NGF led by governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang.
The retreat which is slated to hold between March 13 and 14, would discuss corruption, dwindling state of education, and Nigeria’s dependence on oil.
In a statement by Governor Amaechi and his Bayelsa State counterpart, Seriake Dickson who belong to the same faction 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, just as six governors in Amaechi’s camp have been listed as discussants on various topics lined up for discussion at the retreat.
According to Amaechi, other governors to discuss the topic are Governors Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Kashim Shettima (Borno), Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe), Abdul-aziz Yari (Zamfara) and Sule Lamido (Jigawa).
But in a swift reaction yesterday, Governor Jonah Jang who distanced himself and his group from the planned retreat being organised by Governor Amaechi led NGF, said that, “it has come to their knowledge that there is a program in circulation naming its members as participants in the said retreat.
In a statement signed yesterday in Abuja by the Media Officer, Kassim Yakubu, the Jonah Jang led Forum said, “this was a cunning attempt to give the retreat credibility following the dismal showing of the first one held in Sokoto last year.
“They have realised that Nigerians now know that they are an opposition governors forum and the only way to get credibility now is to invoke the names of governors who clearly do not belong to their group nor share in their vision of turning the Governors Forum into an anti federal government body.
“The first retreat turned out to be an anti federal government venting exercise and did not gain any traction with the general public who want the governors to stick with their primary functions of running their states and the objectives of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum which is to work in cohesion with all other tiers of government to deliver needed development to the Nigerian people.
“The planned retreat will turn out to be another federal government bashing get-together where the opposition script will be acted out.”
According to Amaechi, the topic for the retreat would 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, even as the session would be chaired by 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 the topic, “Overview of the Current State of Agriculture in the States” and “Nigeria Without Oil: Unlocking Agricultural Value Chain,” which will be presented by 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.