Abdulrasaq Stalls Announcement of Sule as New NGF Chair, Indicates Interest
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Wednesday night, stood down the proposed unveiling and announcement of its new chairman, after the Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, suddenly indicated interest in the seat, challenging the consensus choice of the Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Audu Sule.
The NGF had concluded plans to announce Sule as its new chairman at its Wednesday meeting, as the current chair and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, who took over from his former colleague, Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, is due to leave office next month, having served out his two terms of eight years as governor.
Besides, the NGF had in May 2013, resolved to avoid choosing its chairman through the ballot system, after the re-election of a former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, turned out controversial and had sharply split the elitist group.
Amaechi’s decision to seek re-election as NGF chairman was resisted by some forces within the system, believed to have the backing of then government of President Goodluck Jonathan, who from all indications, did not want Amaechi to secure another term as NGF chair, believing the group had constituted needless opposition to his government.
But when the former Rivers governor insisted on seeking re-election as NGF chair, a decision he considered his right, another of his colleague and former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, was encouraged by those loyal to the establishment to challenge him, causing intense disaffection in the group.
Although Amaechi eventually won with 19 votes to Jang’s 16, the Plateau governor refused to accept defeat and claimed he won, resulting in the famous “16 is greater than 19” slogan.
The NGF had since struggled for relevance, especially after the major political parties started creating their own groups of governors.
Since then, the NGF as a body had allegedly agreed to forgo election in the choice of its chairman and unanimously agree on one person, based on competence and relationship with individual colleagues.
It was on the basis of this that, the group, according to sources, collectively agreed to have Sule succeed Tambuwal, given his private sector experience and capacity shown so far as governor, in addition to being a jolly good fellow amongst his friends.
Their Wednesday meeting was, however, chosen as the occasion to unveil and announce him before Abdulrasaq allegedly rose at the meeting and indicated interest, a development said to have startled other governors, who thought for a man, who was not a regular face at their meetings, such aspiration was divisive and uncalled for.
Besides, some of them were said to have expressed concerns that Abdulrasaq, largely considered an introvert, could not oversee the NGF, more so when this is not an affair of the APC but the governors across parties.
While there was said to be an instant debate, albeit in hushed tones about capacity and networking, they generally thought his intention to run was unhealthy for the group.
Against this backdrop, therefore, the group stood down the item from its agenda, because it did not want to go to any election and inadvertently create more problems for itself.