15 governors at pro-Jang parley

Nineteen governors in Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi faction of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) yesterday shunned a meeting of the group called by Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang.

Two previous meetings called by Jang at his factional secretariat located in the Maitama District, Abuja were similarly boycotted by the pro-Amaechi governors.

Jang, who won 16 votes to Amaechi’s 19 at the May 24 NGF chairman’s election, has been laying claim to victory.

Governors who attended yesterday’s meeting were: Jang; Theodore Orji (Abia); Martin Elechi (Ebonyi); Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa); Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta); Gabriel Suswam (Benue); Ibrahim Shema (Katsina); Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo); and Umar Garba (Taraba Acting Governor).

Deputy Governors who represented their principals were those of Anambra, Gombe, Kogi, Kaduna and Cross River.

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The meeting of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, held last night without Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, the governors of the All Progressives Congress, APC and the opposition governors of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in attendance.
The governors at the meeting include those of Abia, Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Benue, Plateau, Kogi, Bauchi, Taraba, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara and Ondo states.
The six governors of APC, which include those of Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti, Osun and Edo states; the three ANPP governors and their colleagues in Nasarawa and Imo states as well as the five PDP governors heeded the call of Amaechi to stay away from the meeting.
Amaechi had earlier asked his colleagues to shun the meeting called by a factional chairman of the forum, Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang.
Jang, in a letter sent to the governors on Friday, had invited them for a meeting in Abuja.
The Rivers State governor, in a message on Saturday, said it was wrong for Jang to be calling for meetings when it was apparent that he did not win the forum’s chairmanship election.
He described Jang as an impostor and asked the governors not to honour his invitation.
Amaechi said: “Jang is an impostor. NGF members should steer clear of him.
The Governor of Sokoto State, Aliyu Wamakko, said he would not attend the meeting because Jang was not validly elected.
Wamakko, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media, Sani Umar, also faulted Jang’s call for the meeting, saying, “How can we attend such a meeting? We are not part of him. We won’t be there because he was not validly elected.”
Also, the Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, said he would not attend the meeting because Jang was not qualified to convene such meeting.
Some South-West governors also declined the invitation, stating that they were not party to the Jang’s group.
Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola said he would not attend the meeting because of his support for Amaechi.
Aregbesola, who spoke through his Commissioner for Regional Planning and Special Duties, Mr. Ajibola Basiru, on Saturday, said it was wrong to describe the group of governors supporting Jang as a faction of the governors’ forum.
Also, an official of the Oyo State Government, who did not want his name mentioned, said Governor Abiola Ajimobi would not attend Jang’s meeting.
Also, the Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has also turned down the invitation to attend the meeting.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, said Fayemi did not recognise Jang as the chairman of the NGF and would not attend any meeting called by him.
He said: “As far as Governor Kayode Fayemi is concerned, Governor Rotimi Amaechi is the chairman of the NGF and he is the only one who has the right to call the forum’s meeting.”
The Ogun State Governor, Mr. Ibikunle Amosun, also declined Jang’s invitation.
The state Commissioner for Information, Yusuf Olaniyonu, said Amosun had repeatedly said the NGF chairman he voted for was Amaechi.
“Making a right deduction from that statement, it is obvious he will only attend a meeting of the NGF organised by Amaechi,” he said.
However, Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko said he would attend any NGF meeting convened by Jang.
Mimiko has been a staunch supporter of Jang’s leadership.
Mimiko’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Eni Akinsola, told one of our correspondents that his principal would not shun any meeting convened by Jang.
Plateau State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Abraham Yiljap, said: “While Governor Jang made efforts to get everybody on board, he must also continue with the business of running the NGF.”
But the Kwara State Governor, Mr. Abdulfatah Ahmed, said he was not aware of the meeting of the NGF called by Jang.
In an email response, his Senior Special Assistant, Media and Communications, Dr. Muyideen Akorede, said Ahmed had not been officially notified or invited for the meeting.
A statement from Jang’s NGF’s office simply said that, “The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Gov. Jonah Jang of Plateau State has summoned an emergency meeting of members of the forum. The agenda for the meeting included “Constitution Amendment.”
The meeting was to discuss the issue of local government financial autonomy that was “killed” by the Senate and passed by the House of Representatives.
Also to be discussed by the governors was the dwindling revenue earnings from oil following oil theft in the Niger Delta where Nigeria has lost hundreds of barrels from the activities of oil thieves.

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