I must say it still amuses me how 35 out of the 36 state governors of Nigeria find it difficult to conduct an election in their own circle referred to as the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to determine who becomes the next chairman of the forum. While I don’t see the need, in the first place, for us to have a governors’ forum I still think that we need to take special notes of some of the things happening in the big men’s circle.
These men who have decided to create a forum for themselves to meet already meet with the President of the Federal Republic every Wednesday for an executive council meeting and they could have just met immediately after that meeting or pass on relevant information to themselves from there. That aside, I think that these governors ought to have more important things to deal with rather than jostling themselves regarding the chairmanship of their forum.
About 4 states that these governors are leading are currently under emergency rule and the only reason they are still sitting in the office is because the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has gracious agreed that they should stay on while test running what it will look like to have emergency rule under civilian administrators. Bombs have been consistently thrown in their states and hundreds of people have died. Churches have been burnt and those churches are still there in ruins. The families of those who have been killed have not been attended to and the members of the Boko Haram group that are killing people are still roaming the streets confidently yet the governors in those states still have the time to fly to Abuja, stay in luxury hotels or government houses and only think about voting for who becomes their chairman.
As the debates on national television have rightly pointed out in these past days, the forum or the position being contested has no constitutional relevance or right conferred on it! The time that could have been spent concentrating on the important state matters would not be spent on meeting one another, connecting for personal purposes, strategically lobbying for their interests and leave their states unattended.
Coming to the election that even caused the current controversy is another thing. How can governors of states who have supposedly contested in very large elections before getting to the office not know how to conduct an election among 36 people? These governors are the ones controlling the state electoral commissions in their states and they conduct local government elections involving at least 5 million people in each state. So the question really is what was so difficult in conducting an election among 36 people though we were told one person was absent. Why are they saying Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State was reelected in the process with 19 votes as against Governor Jona Jang of Plateau state with 16 votes and another section is saying the 19 votes were for Governor Jona Jang?
In the past I have made some comments about Governor Jona Jang’s ability to rule his state but some people defended him. I think that he is now showing again that he does not know what his priorities are. For those who are familiar with the goings on in Nigeria, you will recollect that Jos, the capital of Plateau state under the leadership of Governor Jang has experienced a lot of religious crisis. I know that these crisis have been there before he got there but they escalated at some point when he got there and I would think that such a governor would have no business thinking about becoming the chairman of Governors’ Forum when his own state is prone to religious crisis. The state is peaceful at the moment but he knows that several issues are still pending because of aggrieved parties who are starting the crisis from time to time. If it is not for misplacement of priorities, I honestly don’t understand what Governor Jang wants to get from being the chairman of the forum and he is not parading himself as the chairman when the first result declared says that he lost the election.
This is simply a show of shame because many the governors are not even doing anything tangible in their states. People are afraid to go to the north because of the crisis there. The schools there are in a mess. Apart from the state capital in most states, you will barely find very good road networks! When rain falls Nigerians become scared because of very terrible roads. There will be floods on the major roads and cars will get stuck. There are so many places in the country where electricity is not seen for more than a month and no explanation is given for a month-long light out!
These men should go and think and Nigerians should be smarter when voting. They should be wise enough to know that getting paid to vote will only give you some peanuts for a few days while these men enjoy for 4 years or even 8 years.
The show of shame really needs to stop and the time is now!