Northern Governors: Why We’re Consulting with Eminent Nigerians

1812F04.Babangida-Aliyu

Five northern governors who have been shuttling across the country, holding meetings with renowned Nigerians on the state of the nation, Monday shed light on their mission, which is geared towards finding solutions to the myriad of crises in the polity.

The governors — Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Alhaji Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Alhaji Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko (Sokoto) and Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu (Niger) — said in Minna after consulting with two former heads of state, Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar, that there was the need for intense consultations to find ways of ending the crises in the country.

Their visit to Minna is the third in the last one week in their consultations with critical stakeholders that could help chart a path for peace.

They were in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, last Tuesday for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation in the state, which has been enmeshed in a crisis following a power tussle in the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that has impaired governance in the state.

On Saturday, four of the governors were in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, to consult with former President Olusegun Obasanjo during which they discussed the crises in Rivers State, the PDP and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), according to a source Monday.

Nyako, who could not make the trip to Minna yesterday as earlier scheduled due to an important state engagement, also gave an insight into their discussion with Obasanjo in Abeokuta, saying it was part of the efforts to save the PDP from collapse.

The Minna meeting between the four governors and the two former heads of state started at about 12:30 pm when Babangida and Abdulsalami arrived at the Presidential Lodge, Minna, venue of the talks.

On the arrival of the two former heads of state, the meeting, which lasted for two hours, went into a closed-door session.

After the meeting, Aliyu told journalists that the governors were consulting with elder statesmen with a view to seek their opinions on the crises in the polity and how to resolve them.

He said: “We are consulting with our elders and leaders at least to look at some of the crises and solutions to the problems that some of us perceive we are facing.

“Solutions to the issues like the governors’ forum crisis and other political issues and we are consulting to make sure that we all understand the issues and carry our people along.”

On the decisions taken at their meeting, Aliyu explained that it was too early to say this is the way forward as they are still consulting, adding that they have not decided yet on the next step to take.

Also responding to a suggestion if the meeting was as a result of the Rivers State crisis, Aliyu said there was no meeting or issue in Nigeria today where the Rivers State crisis would not be raised, stressing that it is a larger issue in the governors’ forum crisis and “we are consulting on how to resolve them”.

On why Nyako was absent from the meeting, Aliyu said he sent his apology as he had an engagement with officials of Cameroun Electricity Board in Yola.

In his remarks to journalists, Babangida commended the governors for embarking on the search for peace, adding that he is impressed at the moves they have taken just as he described them as real patriots.

“I want to commend the governors here to some of their colleagues. I am impressed because they see the problems of this country and they are taking the right step to make sure that they consult widely in trying to find lasting solutions to some of the leading problems.

“They are real patriots and I am very happy and I told them so,” he said.

However, a source told THISDAY yesterday that the governors during their meeting with Obasanjo discussed the crisis in Rivers State and its implication on democracy in the country.

“We also discussed the marginalisation of some governors in the forthcoming national convention of the party. Some of us are worried that the membership of the Special National Convention Planning Committee is one sided. Some of us known to hold contrary views to the president have been side lined.

“We also looked at the implications and challenges of the coalition from the opposition parties and we are expecting his views on some of these issues raised soon. We are still going to meet some of the stakeholders as our consultations continue,” he added.

Nyako, who also spoke on the governors’ visit to Obasanjo in Abeokuta, corroborated the source.

The governor, who spoke in Yola yesterday through his Director of Press and Publications, Sajoh Ahmed, explained that their meeting with Obasanjo was part of the ongoing consultations with other eminent stakeholders of the party, as part of their efforts to pull the PDP back from the precipice.

He said: “We have held consultations with former head of state and former BoT chairman of the PDP, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, on the need for him and other major stakeholders to save the party from dying.

“We are not stopping with Obasanjo as one of the most respected Nigerians of our time, we will proceed to the likes of Generals Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalami Abubakar and other eminent Nigerians just to mention, but a few.

“We will continue to make our efforts to save the party. But if our efforts did not work, we have no alternative than to fold our arms and see PDP dead and help in burying it.”

According to the governor, unless these serious-minded Nigerians intervene in time, the PDP would die a natural death.

Nyako described the current trend of events in the ruling PDP as worrisome, stating that the intra-party squabbles within the party are a threat to the survival of democracy in the country.

According to him, he and his colleagues as well as others of like minds will not fold their arms and allow the party to be hijacked by those who do not mean well for it.

Nyako, who pledged that he would remain in the PDP, added that his supporters would soon move to the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).

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