Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara state has emerged chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum. He emerged at the end of the meeting of the Forum held at the Lagos/Osun Hall of the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
The outgoing chairman of the body and Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, read the communique of the meeting to journalists. He said Yari emerged chairman by consensus and would serve for a period of one year.
Yari was former deputy chairman of the Forum.
A new deputy chairman was however not elected at the meeting to replace him.
The Rivers Governor also said after over a year of bickering, the governors had now “reconciled and are united as a single umbrella association of the 36 state governors of Nigeria”.
Amaechi also said in the light of the fact that funds in the Excess Crude Account were last disbursed in May 2013, “there is the need for the Minister of Finance and coordinating Minister for the economy Dr. Ngozi Okonjo -Iweala to provide explanation for accruals to this account from June 2013 to April 2015 which is estimated at over N20billion”.
The Rivers Governor added that induction programme for new and returning governors would be held in June 2015. He said the induction is aimed at equipping new and returning governors with knowledge of global best practices of establishing and running their offices.
In addition, Amaechi said the Forum resolved at the meeting to set up a Governors’ Forum Academy to be called “The NGF Leadership Academy” which will be responsible for capacity building of governors and other officials holding public office.
He said the academy would be overseen by the NGF secretariat.
About 20 governors, including some deputies, attended Monday’s meeting.
Monday’s meeting is the first time the state chief executives came together as a united body.
The Forum descended into crisis in May 2013 after the election of officials split the body into two.
At the election, held at the Rivers State Governors Lodge in Abuja, Amaechi defeated his Plateau state’s counterpart, Jonah Jang, by 19 votes to 16.
However, indications at the time suggested that the Presidency was pushing for the emergence of anyone but the Rivers governor as NGF chair because of the political differences between Amaechi and President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience.
After the election, Jang refused to accept defeat and formed a parallel NGF with his colleagues who voted for him.
As indication emerged Sunday that the Forum was uniting and electing a new leader, the Bayelsa state Governor, Seriake Dickson, circulated a statement demanding the postponement of the election.
His suggestion was however ignored, with the Niger state Governor, Babangida Aliyu, saying earlier on Monday that all governors had agreed to bury their differences, come together as a united body and move on.