NGF Election: My Story by Governor Gabriel Suswam

Posted: June 19, 2013 in BENUE, federal, political, Uncategorized
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NGF is a voluntary forum, no governor is under compulsion to be a member of that forum in fact the Governor of Osun State hardly attend meetings the only meeting he attended was the one we held the last election, and unfortunately he was the one who recorded proceedings from the meeting and send on YouTube, we have never had such level of irresponsibility of a colleague recording activities of fellow colleagues and sending it to YouTube. That was the first meeting that he attended. And so what I am trying to say is that no governor is under compulsion to attend that meeting. Those who conceived the idea of governors having a forum was for us to peer review ourselves, when we sit down, we look at issues that affect our individual states and when we aggregate those issues, they become issues that affect the country. And if we share intelligence and share ideas, we will be able to govern better, that was the essence of that forum.

And been chairman of governor’s forum is not a big deal. We have never had any election, there has never been any chairman of governor’s forum who has been elected. The Governor of Rivers State was never elected, he was selected. We sat down down and said look, this is the person who will be our chairman and so the desperation which he exhibited in the election was the problem with most of us. And I insisted, and still insist that if people go into election no matter how small, there are consequences and I raised this in our previous attempt to have this election. But the basic problem was that, before Saraki left, we had an issue and we decided that no one governor should stay for four years as chairman of the forum, that it should be two years i the south, two years in the north. And we decided that since democracy itself is taken roots, let us have a forum that is governed by regulations and rules, and we said let us have a constitution.
I was a member, Fashola as a senior lawyer SAN, was chairman of the constitution drafting committee. And we were given terms of reference; two years in the south, two years in the north for the chairman of the forum. And the deputy chairman must be from the opposition parties. Somewhere along the line, someone went and change what we did in the constitution and went and registered it and said that we signed. Normally, when we go to meetings, all of us sign so they said we signed for the registration of the constitution and I said we will never accept this, and that has been one of our fundamental problems, somebody will go and change the constitution for selfish reasons.
At the end of the day they said the chairman which we ‘selected’ the tenure has ended based on what we agreed on and was supposed to go. And so since they said that there should be election let us do it. When we went there we saw that the person who wanted to re-contest printed ballot papers and had a ballot box and we objected. Even in ordinary village meetings, once the leadership is to go, the house will first dissolve itself. He (Rotimi) said he will not dissolve himself, he will sit in as chairman and conduct election with the ballot papers and boxes he brought to the election venue, and we vehemently opposed it.

I was the first governor that walked out of that because it was a sham, and it unfortunate that such a thing happened.
Majority of the governors had signed that Governor Jonah Jang is chairman of that forum, this is what happened. We first held a meeting of northern governors forum and in the meeting, we were 18 the governor of Yobe state did not come neither did he sent a representation. And we unanimously agreed and selected  and voted Jang as chairman of the NGF. We took down to the PDP governor’s forum where the chairman of the forum raised the resolution of the northern governors, it was adopted. So when they said there was an election, I am surprise there was no election and that is why the so called election resulted into what is termed as crisis. But Jang, as far as I am concerned is the legitimate chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum and that is what is going to remain because we never had any election Jang was selected by consensus and that has been the tradition of the forum. So there is no crisis, Jang id the rightful chairman, if there is any other person
parading himself as chairman that is his business.

Polarization of Northern States Governor’s Forum

Well, there is no pretense about it because, I will find it difficult to sit in a meeting where  we find it difficult to take a decision and people will go out and do something else. It is difficult for people like me to sit in a meeting with people like that.
And so it is true, the Northern Governor’s Forum is polarized. It is polarized because it is no longer honorable for people to sit in and take decision that directly affect their people. If people can’t do that then I see no reason sitting with people in such a meeting. Because before we use to take collective decisions, but now you take decisions and some people will go out and be saying something different. Of course Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State said what happened and I fully associate myself with his views. Ans so we need to talk to ourselves otherwise it will be difficult to trust ourselves even among the northern governors.


  1. eddie winter says:



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