By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has praised the thirty- six state governors, saying that they are holding Nigeria together as a country, just as he thanked them for playing such a role.
President Buhari was also said to have thanked the governors for their concomitant cooperation with the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and urged them to continue to put their faith in his leadership.
This was disclosed to the governors Thursday by the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF and governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar as a message from the President during their visit to him in London.
The Chairman of NGF who briefed the governors in Abuja on their visit last July to London to see President Muhammadu Buhari, said that the visit forms what many termed a first-hand assessment of the President’s state of health, as well as to deliver the governors’ goodwill message to PMB.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum and six others departed the country on “a goodwill visit” to President Muhammadu Buhari in London last July 26th.
Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar said, “I was invited to select six governors, one from each geo political region, to visit Mr President and I led them to London,” the NGF chairman said.
“The Governors are Akwa Ibom, Oyo, Kano, Benue, and Kashim”, Governor Yari reckoned, referring to Kashim Shettima of Borno State, with the last, but by no means the last person in the delegation, being Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State.
In a statement by the Head, media & public affairs, NGF, Abulrazque B. barkindo, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum described President Buhari as being “in very good health”, while assuring them that the he delivered the Forum’s message of goodwill to the President in response to which President Muhammadu Buhari thanked the governors for “holding Nigeria together in his absence.”
The statement read, ” This would be the first time anyone visiting the President is delivering any word from the President or revealing anything that they discussed with President Muhammadu Buhari who is on his 103rd day out of the country.
“Although President Buhari is reported to have felt fit enough to return and continue his duties of presiding over the affairs of the country, it wouldn’t be until his doctors give him the nod, reports say.
“However, those who have previously visited the president in London including the minister of Information and the presidents’ own media team have only returned to the country to narrate the status of the president as at the time they met him, but non ever delivered any wishes of the president or what he discussed with them regarding the Nigerian people.
“Governor Yari therefore becomes the only person to deliver a message to his colleagues, from President Muhammadu Buhari. Even the governors who went along with Governor Yari Abubakar had in their earlier statements only spoken about the Presidents stability and were mute about a message.
“Before that visit by a delegation from the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Imo and Kaduna State governors, Owelle Rochas Okorocha and Mallam Nasiru el Rufai respectively had visited President Muhammadu Buhari along with other top functionaries. But, mum was the word.
“At Wednesdays NGF meeting, the Executive Director/CEO, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib had solicited the governors’ cooperation to pay up their counterpart funding quota by Aug 23 to enable his agency embark on a nationwide immunization exercise but the chairman of the forum had asked the agency to allow all governors to meet that obligation by September 10, saying that the ultimatum was too short as most governors are in Abuja and may have to be here until Friday.
“Dr Faisal Shuaib stated that the Federal Government is contributing N3bn to the agencies coffers for the exercise.
“The governors also listened to a presentation on the informal sector taxation by a solution provider.
“Earlier the Director General of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum Mr Ashishana B Okauru had told the governors in an update on the polio status of the country, that Nigeria is once again expected to be tipped off the global polio map by way of delisting in 2019.”
In attendance at the meeting were governors of Borno, Kebbi, Kwara, Niger, Imo, Osun, Plateau and a host Deputy governors, among them those of Kaduna, Yobe, Nasarawa, Rivers, Enugu, Lagos, Ondo, Ekiti and Cross Rivers among others.