"The 36 governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF) yesterday asked President Goodluck Jonathan not to yield to the agitation for a declaration of state of emergency in troubled states in the country.There were reports of a planned emergency rule in some northern states, including Borno, Yobe and Nasarawa, over heightened security crisis. But the NGF, in a statement signed by its chairman and Rivers State governor Rotimi Amaechi, said those calling for state of emergency do not wish the country well and are bent on plunging the country into a deeper crisis." - Chibuzo Ukaibe, Leadership Newspaper
The signed statement by Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi,Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF). reads:
“We urge the Federal Government to continue to support affected states in the bid to check violence. The Federal Government should remain focused and continue to provide leadership until every part of Nigeria is rid of violence and insurgency.”
We also call on the Federal Government to ignore the ongoing agitation for a state of emergency in some parts of the country. These requests are being made by people who do not wish our country well and who are bent on plunging the country into a deeper crisis.
The Federal Government should not allow itself to be distracted from our collective goal of curbing the insurgency in some parts of our country once and for all.
We in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) hereby condemn the recent violence and killings in some parts of our country – Borno, Nasarawa, Benue, Adamawa and some other states. We also commiserate with the people and government of those states, our security agencies and the families of the victims and pray God to give them and indeed every Nigerian the fortitude to bear the loss.
While urging security agencies to continue to do their jobs as professionally as possible, we appeal to all aggrieved individuals and groups in Nigeria to appreciate the fact that violence can never be a solution to any problem. We have no other country to call home and it is important that we understand the danger and futility of destroying our land in the pursuit of a selfish agenda.
It is gratifying that government – Federal and State – are working hard to get to the root of the killings and nip this orgy of violence in the bud. We are impressed by the magnanimity of the Federal Government, which has demonstrated an uncommon love for the country by setting up a Committee to explore the possibilities of granting amnesty to the members of the Boko Haram sect.
It is also a good step that government has agreed to cooperate fully with the National Human Rights Commission in the investigation of the killings in Baga.
We also commend our security agencies for the selfless sacrifice they are making in the interest of us all to restore calm to all parts of our country.”
The Progressive Governors’ Forum unequivocally condemns the breach of peace and mindless bloodletting in the states and empathises with our brother Governors Alhaji Kashim Shettima, Alhaji Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam and the good people of Borno, Nassarawa and Yobe states, as well as the people of other states affected. We equally extend our sympathies to the families of the gallant soldiers, policemen and men of the State Security Service (SSS), that have lost their lives in the course of duty.
While it might be argued in some quarters that the Presidency is well-intentioned with the reported intended course of action aimed at restoring sustained peace to the affected states, we would like to draw the attention of Mr. President to historical perspectives and contemporary conflict resolution methodologies for consideration before taking such a far-reaching decision.
We find the reported course of action incongruent with the posturing of the Presidency which has been reported to be pursuing dialogue with the non-state actors reportedly responsible for the breach of the peace in those states. Less than three weeks ago a Presidential Committee was empanelled to look into the issues and deploy mediation among other measures and make recommendations to Mr. President; why then would the Presidency want to pre-empt the work of the committee by declaring state of emergency in the affected states.
We note that the Federal Government under the leadership of former President Umaru Musa Yar’adua, was able to successfully contain the Niger Delta crisis by creating the space for credible dialogue with the aggrieved militants, within the framework of a period of amnesty. More importantly, the government at the time worked assiduously with all stakeholders to address the socio-economic issues that catalysed such unrests especially youth unemployment.
“In view of the foregoing, the Progressive Governors’ Forum implores Mr. President to be consistent with the combination of dialogue and mediation which he has already set in motion, and stay action on the planned declaration of State of Emergency in the affected states, which we believe would be counter-productive. It is also suggested that the Presidency, in addition to the committee, consults extensively with the leadership of the Christian and Muslim Communities as well as Eminent Traditional rulers across the country pursuant of a critical path to sustainable peace in the country.
Already, the international community has condemned the excesses of our security forces in their recent campaigns that recorded widespread human rights violations – a state of emergency would precipitate the conditions for the escalation of such excesses.
Mr. President is further encouraged to step-up the criminal intelligence gathering machinery of our security forces with a view to pre-empting the wanton destruction of lives and property. This, in our opinion, is in tandem with contemporary statecraft which focuses on preventive rather than reactive responses to breaches of peace and tranquillity in any state.
We believe the presence of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the affected areas is capable of restoring peace, if properly coordinated. Thus, any attempt to declare a state of emergency would be seen as a mere excuse to remove the governors by every means.
Lastly, it is in our collective interest for the Presidency to concentrate efforts on addressing the socio-economic issues that catalyse crime in any society as well as ensuring equity and justice in the administration of our great country, Nigeria. In other words, an economic-cum-security strategy would yield more enduring dividends than a law and order response. This, in our view, is the surest way to achieve peace and progress.”
Speaking the minds of his colleagues at the opening session of the meeting, chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, and Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu said the northern governors, this time around, will not allow what happened in 2011 to repeat itself in 2015 as they will unite against candidates from the south.
According to Governor Aliyu, "we must be united more than ever to go into the 2015 elections as one entity with the aim of producing the president". He then advised all governors and politicians in the north to remain focused and pursue issues of development rather than trivial issues that have led to the retrogression of the region in recent years.
Meanwhile, following the war of words between former head of state, and presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, General Muhammadu Buhari and the presidency over the general prediction of a bloodbath should the 2015 election be rigged, the forum admonished political leaders in the country to be cautious about their comments on important national issues that may polarise the country.
In a communique issued after the meeting, the forum said, "we want to caution eminent Nigerians against inflammatory statements capable of affecting our fragile unity and security. We must be concerned about the unity and development of the country in all ramifications"
Chairman of the Forum, Babangida Aliyu who was asked by newsmen after he had read the communiqué to state the position of the forum on the comment credited to Gen. Mohammed Buhari had this to say: "May be those who may be too concerned have not looked at what other eminent Nigerians have been talking about. I saw one that said Nigeria is going to be Somalianized; I saw another one who has been talking like there would be war tomorrow. So, for me, that statement should be taken on its own value - do not go and do bad election.
" I think that is the whole thing I will take there. All of us who are involved in elections, political parties, contestants and voters themselves, we must all be careful about what we say. But, again, like I said certain people in that position, certain vocabularies they use should be chosen carefully. So, both ways let's take it on our own stride and ensure that future elections are seen to be transparent and are seen to be good", he said.
On security in the North, the communiqué reads: "The level of insecurity in the northern states is alarming. The forum resolved to intensify efforts to find lasting solutions to the problems by reaching out to all stakeholders".
On the major economic issues affecting the northern states, the communiqué said various committees have been set up to address them accordingly. The committees have been set up on agriculture, Textile industries and the New Nigeria Newspapers whose workers have been on strike for more than three months.
Speaking before the commencement of the meeting, Muazu Babangida Aliyu stated that the Northern governors would stake their mandates together as a united team in 2015..
He however noted that 2015 was still too far to become the main topic of discussion among serious elected leaders.
Nigerian Governors say Sovereign Wealth Fund is unconstitutional
The Nigeria Governors` Forum (NGF) has called on the Federal Government to suspend the operation of the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), saying it is unconstitutional.
The governors made the call in a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting on Sunday in Abuja, the nation’s capital, which was read by Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, South-South Nigeria.
Mr. Amechi - River state
“Members resolved to call on the Federal Government to suspend the operation of the Sovereign Wealth Fund until all issues are resolved because it is unconstitutional,” the communiqué stated.
Earnings above the budgetary benchmark price of crude oil, are expected to be transferred to the fund set up to replace the country’s excess crude account.
The governors agreed to support the UN initiative on consultative competition on the achievement of the MDG’sat state levels.
They also called for the de-regulation and de-centralisation of electricity generation.
The communiqué stated that the governors reached the decision after listening to a comprehensive presentation on the need to increase the supply of electricity and reduce regulatory bottle-necks by the Executive Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Commission, Dr Sam Amadi.
Polio eradication campaign
The governors re-affirmed their commitment to the first polio eradication quarterly campaign in which most states participated.
They urged the states that were not able to participate in the programme to do so as soon as possible.
"A sovereign wealth fund (SWF) is a state-owned investment fund composed of financial assets such as stocks, bonds, property, precious metals or other financial instruments. Sovereign wealth funds invest globally. Some of them have grabbed attention making bad investments in several Wall Street financial firms including Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and Merrill Lynch. These firms needed a cash infusion due to losses resulting from mismanagement and the subprime mortgage crisis. Most SWFs are funded by foreign exchange assets. " - Wilkipedia
Reflecting on the good old days of great governors and politicians of antecedent Eastern Nigeria notably Dr. Michael Okpara, Sir Francis Akanu Ibiam, Christopher Chukwuemeka Mojekwu and later came Dr. Sam Mbakwe. These were men of pragmatism that garnished great achievements for their people and constituencies. These forerunners made great institutional achievements that have significant consequences. They developed agricultural facilities, built modern schools, secured peace and made their people walk a little taller.
The point here is not to downgrade the present day achievements made by present governors of South East geo-political zone who are doing their possible best within the capabilities and situations but constrained by lack of funds. But in this season of big ideas, innovations and vision, the governors are found wanting. For in the scheme of things, greatness have eluded them and opportunities they have in their hands to transform their states and its people are slipping away.
Without doubt they are building roads, secretarial offices and digging water bores but those are not good enough to distinguish them and to place them at zenith of economic development and modern progressive advancement in Nigeria. The governors are not thinking and dreaming big but they are rather engaged in small talks with basic and regular development. Our people are great people of great history; we cannot afford to be a regular people with regular achievements. That is not good enough for the Ndiigbo and for Nigeria in general.
The education and morality standards have fallen but our leaders are busy going after the little things while the house is in disarray. Our youths are not properly educated and fed; they are the future of the South East but no attention have been given to them to train them properly and prepare them to handle the future tasks of tomorrow.
Ask any foreigner in Nigerian about the progressive governors in the present political dispensation. The international visitor be it Chinese, American or British will probably mentioned the governor of Lagos State Fashola because of his herculean achievement particularly on urban development and environmental management, then Governor Saraki of Kwara State for his agricultural investments and Uduaghan of Delta State for his environmental commitment. The governors of the South East will not be mentioned except when they discussed about godfatherism and kidnapping.
The great job Governor Fashola of Lagos State is doing is there for everybody to see and the roadmap is there for anybody serious to emulate. Particularly Fashola’s administration strategy on the reduction and control of armed and nefarious activities in the state can become a case study. The key to successful administration is based on innovation, vision and ideas. Then come the finance and fund which are secondary but are based on comprehensive planning and implementation. This is the lesson that South East governors must be willing to comprehend and practical zed.
A gross dereliction of duty happened a while ago, when a politician was pleading with the Federal government to declare Awka, the state capital “a refuse disaster area.” The solid waste collection and disposal are the duties of Local and State governments. But in case of erosion or massive environmental disruptions, then it is more understandable due to financial limitations of the state government to engage such a massive and extensive remediation.
What has happened? And “How is the mighty fallen?” When the states were created in the South East geo-political zone the people of the zone was excited because they believed that with that the leaders and managers will distinguish themselves with substantial achievements. The people of new five states - have been associated with ingenuity, progressive development and industry. The governors were anticipated to be the bearers and chroniclers of the peoples dream but Lilliputian political framework have mesmerized them especially the present-day governors.
The ruling class and governors cannot be wholly blamed for this phenomenon. The masses and people must assume some of the blames. Instead of the people holding their feet to accountability and probity, they become sycophants and drum beaters. People mill around the governors treating them as something extra-special and begging for contracts and handouts. The behavior sends a wrong message to the governors and they forget that their power was derived from the people and their rulership came from the consent of the people.
Where are the great ideas and innovations?
The 20th century in the South Eastern Nigeria was a birth of great ideas, institutions and achievements. There was the founding of University of Nigeria, Nsukka , South East was the home of world largest producer and exporter of palm oil, the school of technology MIT was founded. Then later came in Anambra State Channel television 50 and Anambra State University of technology.
But at the interim South East has major problems of erosion, poor transportation, shortage of power, poverty and many others. And the governors cannot solve them by engaging in small talks and donating money to inconsequential organizations and building patches of roads here and there. Where are the big dreams, big visions and the great innovations and ideas to transform Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia and Ebonyi States? The governors and states of South East must have a concerted effort and coordination grounded on industry and initiatives to bring affirmative achievements to the citizens of their respective states.
There is a large deposit of coal in Enugu without usage or consumption. The governors can come together and set up a committee to recommend how the coal can be extracted and used to supply electricity to industrial areas in South east geo-political zone.
With same spirit of cooperation they can solve the problem of road congestion and accidents as goods are being transported by trailers from Port Harcourt seaport to the cities by constructing rail tracks from the seaport to rest of the major cities in the zone.
Enugu State University Teaching Hospital can be turned into an international center for medical research with emphasis on malaria, heart problems and other diseases affecting Nigerians and Africans.
The South East governors can form Enterprise and commercial partnership with objectives grounded on sound principle, producing common-sense ideas and inducements to attract substantial investments into the zone. They can start by creating one or two industrial zones in each of the five states that make up the zone. The partnership entity can come up with solutions to address the issue of electricity and water especially in those industrial zones. The governors cannot afford to wait for the Federal government for ever.
With same mindset they can attack the problem of kidnapping and robbery confronting the geo-political zone. To diminish delinquencies and criminalities especially among the youths the problem of unemployment must be addressed. The government must come into some sort of partnership with the private industry and marketers to address joblessness among the youths especially university graduates.
Good intentions of the South East governors notwithstanding, their managerial capabilities based on singular-pragmatic management akin to ‘one-man business’ assertions do not inherently promote efficiency. This is what is called micro-management that put the manager/executive officer on every levels of the management pyramid without having them focus on top of management. The vulnerabilities in this mix are over-stretching; sapping of ideas and innovations coupled with mismanagement and misdirection of time and priorities. No one is calling for Peter Drucker‘s principles of management path, but rather a basic management technique that calls for supervision and delegation of duties based on trust, transparency, competence and efficiency that will be more functional and operational for the governors.
Ideas and innovations do not wait until resources are available to act rather they are the precursors of capital and resources. Although the problem of funding will pose a great problem but when the governors start to show the resolve and initiative to be on top of the problems of 21st century, help will be on the way. All the people of region at home and at broad including the Diasporas will contribute to the greater good of their homeland, Nigeria.