By Danladi Al-Hassan
Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State, has been elected Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, (NGF) while Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa State, was elected Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum at seperate fora on Wednesday in Abuja.
Abdulaziz Yari, the Immediate Past Chairman of the NGF, in announced Fayemi’s election, said he was chosen by a consensus after he was nominated by Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, with Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State seconding his nomination. Fayemi would lead the forum till 2021.
“Members also elected Governor Aminu Tambwal of Sokoto state as the vice-chairman of the forum from 2019 to 2021,” Yari said.
He explained that Tambuwal was nominated by Akinwumi Ambode, governor of Lagos state and seconded by Rotimi Akeredolu, his Ondo state counterpart.
On the other hand, Ibrahim Dankwambo, Governor of Gombe State, former Chairman of the PDP Governors Group, announced Dickson’s election, after the meeting of the group , which took place before the NGF meeting.
Dankwambo, while reading the meeting’s communiqué urged President Muhammadu Buhari to declare state of emergency on security matter.
“The PDP Governors Forum is very concerned about the state of insecurity and how it affects food security as farmers are scared to go to their farms for fear of being killed or kidnapped and urges the President to declare a state of emergency on security matters,” he said.
Some of the governors present at the meeting were Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta; Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom, Samuel Otorm of Benue; Aminu Tambwal of Sokoto; Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa; and Emeka Ihedioha, Governor-elect of Imo .
However, after the NGF meeting, Yari said that all the governors had agreed to meet President Muhammadu Buhari for one-on-one discussion on issue of insecurity.
“The issue of security is under the mandate of Mr President, we are supporting him because he is the Commander-in-Chief and we hope to come up with solutions with him,” he said.
Yari said that the forum was concerned with the recent guidelines of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), as they concern local governments.
He said the guidelines sought to impose restriction on the powers of states and local governments to operate within constitutionally approved parameters.
“The new guidelines have no legal basis under the NFIU Act and are contrary to constitutional provisions which put the State Joint Local Government Account under the legislation of the state houses of assembly,” he said.
“The guidelines will also be detrimental to the interest of States and local governments by crippling programmes such as the Universal Basic Education programme, Primary Health Care Under One Roof, as well as the payment of the salaries of teachers, medical doctor and health workers among others which are primarily funded by state governments.”
In his acceptance remark, Fayemi expressed his gratitude for the confidence reposed on him by colleagues.
He pledged to build on the achievements of his predecessors and success stories of the forum.
“We will build on commitment with strong partnership with the Federal Government as federating unit and trash out issues as amicably as possible, in the over all interest of the country,” he said.
He pledged that they would represent the interests of Nigeria irrespective of their political affiliations.
“Whatever we are going to do will be in overall interest of the nation in ensuring that our states are continuously strengthened,” he said.
“Our country derives the benefit of strong, dedicated states to our citizens and the partnership with all arms of government, development partners working with us in the over all interest of Nigeria. He commended the outgoing chairman and the secretariat for their commitment to states and Nigeria at large.