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Governors Forum: An irritating Incubus

THE paroxysms that have   seized the   Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, in recent days   are a clear manifestation and proof that the conclave has   always   been irrelevant to the polity and to the individual citizens who voted for governors for  the governance of their   respective states.

At no time did the state governors receive the mandate of their states to join any   parapo group where their state funds are expended.It is only typical of our non-questioning followership that nobody had bothered to find out where the governors got their authority to form an association with a director-general and other paid staff members.

Is the Nigerian Governors Forum captured in the  budgets of  the  member-states? Not that it matters much though. After all, don’t they all have “security votes” which they customarily do not have  to account for and the size of which is decided by them, for their rubber-stamp state assemblies to  approve?

When actually did this  Governors Forum originate? What are the aims and objectives of the organisation?In the days of President Shehu Shagari, we didn’t hear much about the Governors Forum to which the  chief executive officers of the former 19 states belonged. During former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s eight-year rule, the Governors Forum occasionally made their presence felt, all of the time, as an agent of blackmail to the   President.

The most notorious act of the  NGF was to shamelessly support Obasanjo’s illicit bid for a “third term” tenure on the condition that they too, the Governors, would benefit from the  project.That was an offer the great military fox, OBJ, did not expect.

No manipulation of the Constitution could have guaranteed him and the  Governors such a bonanza in a country where many legislators at both state and national levels were rearing to make a bid for their state governorship seats and indeed also for the Aso Rock Villa. The rest is now history.

When the goodluck of former Vice-President Goodluck Ebele (Azikiwe at election time) Jonathan propelled him to be Acting President and later, President, he still hob-nobbed with his   former colleagues and their NGF. Let’s not forget too quickly that he graduated to a State Governor from Deputy Governor.

He allowed state governors to reduce their political parties to mere cheer leaders and chorus boys. Appointments into the Federal cabinet and Federal parastatals could only be  made with the approval of state governors and not anymore   in close collaboration with the   party leadership. Indeed party officials who should be calling their governors to order soon become appointees.

Then came Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as an approved Chairman of  the NGF in 2011 and things began to change for the worse for the Presidency. Suddenly the NGF was no longer taking dictations from Mr. President. Dr Jonathan soon realised that his South-South brother was cutting fresh teeth which hurt when used.

Meanwhile, a plethora of governors fora had sprouted across the country.The 19 governors of the old North formed their own “Northern Governors Forum”, the South-East had their own. The South-South governors met now and gain. The Western zone always had their closed shop.

And the latest to be   formed was  the “PDP Governors Forum” which   was intended to clip the wings of Chairman of the national all-states Governors Forum, Governor Amaechi of Rivers State.

The protracted election of the NGF took place on Monday May 27, 2013 and Amaechi was returned with 19 votes against 16 scored by his wild cat 11th minute challenger,  David Jonah Jang of Plateau State. Amaechi’s victory over the perceived anointed of the Presidency rattled the powers-that-be.

Without any tinge of shame, and to the horror of the rest of us, some modern day quislings among the governors have rejected the result of  their own election and  have adopted the  loser Jang who they say had been adopted by mostly PDP governors “before the election”.

In fact, some anti- Amaechi governors had taken out full-page colour advertisements to “congratulate” Jang as their new Chairman.The National Working Committee, NWC, of the PDP  said it has suspended Amaechi from the party. Amaechi said the action was wrong and  alien to the constitution of the PDP.

The re-elected Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum is now  without a party until the courts re-install him. Meanwhile, the NGF itself appears to have arrived at its long-awaited destiny with perdition.

The woolly contraption that had held sway all these years, known and addressed as Nigerian Governors Forum, is as good as dead. A welcome riddance to bad rubbish.Regrettably for the future of politics in Nigeria, the head has knocked the calabash, and the calabash has in turn hit the kitchen ceiling.Tomorrow is pregnant. Who knows what it will deliver.

Mr. NNNAMDI NWIGWE, a commentator  on national issues, wrote from Lagos.


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