The crisis in the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) may have continued to fester as its chairman and Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, Sunday warned the Plateau State Governor, Mr. Jonah Jang, to stop impersonating him as the NGF chairman because his action typified criminality.
Amaechi who handed the warning yesterday in a statement he personally signed, also dismissed a purported meeting of the NGF allegedly slated for today at the instance of Jang, saying as the NGF chairman, he was yet to call a meeting of the governors.
The Rivers Governor said he had received several calls and messages from concerned Nigerians, both home and away, who alleged that a certain person which he believed was the Governor of Plateau State, had been impersonating him and thought it was imperative for many reasons other than the criminal undertone to end it.
Amaechi said: “On Saturday, June 15 and Sunday June 16, reports in the media credited to my brother governor, Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State, alleged that he has called for a Nigeria Governors’ Forum meeting. Ordinarily, I would have ignored these reports as I do not imagine that as governors who hold our peoples’ mandate through the democratic process of free and fair elections, we would do anything to impugn our integrity or threaten our nation’s fledgling democracy.
“However, as chairman of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum, elected by my colleagues to safeguard their integrity and that of the forum, it has become imperative for me to request my brother and Governor Jang to remain within the confines of decorum and cease to impersonate me and to stop parading himself as NGF chairman. There is only one chairman of the forum, duly elected by a vote tally of 19:16 on Thursday, May 23, 2013.
“For the avoidance of doubt, I as chairman of the NGF have not called for any Governors’ Forum meeting for Monday, June 17, 2013. The only meeting scheduled for Monday, June 16, is a meeting of all governors with President Goodluck Jonathan, to hold at 9:p.m. at Aso Rock Villa. All governors should please ensure attendance at this meeting with Mr. President.
“I wish to reassure my brother governors that this storm shall pass and we all will be reunited as one family committed to our nation’s unity and supporting Mr. President in his vision for a Nigeria that safeguards the rights of all its citizens to good governance and democratic norms.
“Governor Jang is my brother and friend and I harbour no ill-feelings for him, but it is important that he stops this impersonation, as it is an ill-wind that threatens to spoil all the good work we all have done together.
“May I remind Governor Jang that there is a legal action that has been instituted against him by Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State from parading himself as the chairman of NGF. As leaders elected by our people, Nigerians are closely watching and monitoring, as such, we must comport ourselves according the dictates and principles of democratic and lawful practices and norms."
Amaechi had reemerged chairman of the forum, after he was challenged in an election by Jang who was the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) consensus candidate in an exercise that ended 19 votes to Jang’s 16.
The exercise marked a turning point in the history of the forum, as it was not only the first time that the body of governors would go to the poll to elect its leadership but also that the outcome of the election had since left the forum bitterly severed with the emergence of another group claiming originality.
The other faction other than Amaechi’s has, however, taken steps further to acquire a new secretariat and designed another website as well as calling meetings of the forum as a proof of its seriousness.