RECENTLY, the new Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and business mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, working together, were able to initiate reconciliatory moves between Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and Emir Muhammadu Sanusi.
In our progressively modernising world, monarchies are turning into depositories of culture that signpost the identities of the people they represent. In some cases, as in England, iconic royal families draw tourists from all over the world because of the rich history they represent in the evolution of their countries in the modern world because they are insulated from politics.
Fayemi and Dangote’s intervention gave hope that differences between the Emir of Kano and the State Governor could be amicably resolved to save one of Nigeria’s prestigious cultural entities.
It is quite comforting that the NGF stepped in to address the matter between one of its own and the royal father. This is a new indicator to what the NGF can do to encourage peaceful resolutions of conflicts between governors and other important stakeholders in their respective states and the country at large.
From this singular incident, Fayemi can recharge the Governors’ Forum to play a leading role in fostering peace, harmony and good governance not only among its members, but all Nigerians generally. That way, the NGF can regain its seriously-eroded relevance.
In 2009, the concept of States Peer Review Mechanism, SPRM, was adopted as a platform for sharing experiences among states and benchmarking good governance. However, the SPRM had in the recent past faltered as issues of little consequence took the centre stage. Indeed the NGF had, in the past four years, become an outfit used by the governors to canvass for bailouts.
While we salute Governor Fayemi and Alhaji Dangote’s peacemaking efforts in Kano, such interventions should not be directed towards covering up alleged acts of corruption and law breaking. The NGF should, and must not intervene to protect offenders.
The NGF should settle down to explore ways of strengthening our democratic institutions and pulling the country more rapidly away from our residual military past where impunity rather than respect for the law and due process is still the basic reflex of politicians. The so-called strong man syndrome is still strong at the state level where governors ride roughshod over the State Houses of Assembly and the Local Government Councils.
They should also share ideas on how to tackle revenue generation and expand the productive bases of their respective states to cope with issues such as payment of the N30,000 New National Minimum Wage, cutting down the cost of governance, developing economic value chains and leveraging on comparative advantages.
The NGF should not waste its potentials as a positive change agent across party divides.