Vice-President Namadi Sambo
By Chuks Okocha
The governors of the 36 states of the federation will Wednesday meet on the security challenges in the country and agree on a final resolution to either withdraw or continue the suit they instituted at the Supreme Court against the Federal Government on the Excess Crude Account (ECA) controversy.
Their meeting, which is expected to take place at the Rivers State governor’s lodge, in Abuja, would enable the governors to adopt a common position ahead of Thursday’s National Economic Council (NEC) meeting presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo.
The main agenda of the meeting will focus on security, which one governor told THISDAY that his colleagues, especially those from the North, have expressed concern that the Federal Government appears to be concentrating efforts in tackling the security challenges only within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
In addition, the governors of Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti States will table their case on the privatisation of the Benin Distribution Company (Benin Disco) at the meeting of the governors’ forum to solicit the support of their colleagues ahead of the NEC meeting, which is expected to ratify the sale of distribution assets in the country.
Following the commercial bid opening held for the distribution companies, the four states, with interests in Southern Electricity, had kicked against the emergence of a rival bidder, Vigeo Power Consortium, for the Benin Disco.
The governors had accused the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) of rigging the privatisation transaction in favour of Vigeo, and conducting a process that was flawed, fraudulent and lacking in transparency, promising to take their complaint over Vigeo’s emergence to President Goodluck Jonathan.
They also warned Vigeo to steer clear of the Benin distribution area on the grounds that it lacked the technical expertise to run the power utility.
In spite of their protest, Vigeo was selected preferred bidder for the Benin Disco on Monday by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), while Southern Electricity was disqualified for submitting multiple bids, in violation of the bid process.
Also on the agenda of the governors’ meeting Wednesday is the resolution of the ECA controversy. In the hearing of the suit instituted by the governors against the Federal Government at the Supreme Court, it was agreed that the matter should be resolved out of court.
Another governor, who did not want to be named, said that the meeting would certainly reach a resolution on the ECA issue, preparatory to presenting their position at the NEC meeting.
According to him, “If we reach an amicable decision in our meeting, then the economic council would be briefed and the matter would be withdrawn from the Supreme Court.”