Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: We Are Not Against Jonathan - Govs

Abuja — THE 36 state governors under the aegis of Nigeria Governors' Forum, NGF, yesterday dismissed allegations by Elder Statesman and prominent Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark that they had formed an opposition to the President Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government.

According to the governors, they were not fighting the President0, just as they stressed that as an elder, they were not prepared to join issues with the former Federal Commissioner for Information.

Addressing journalists at the end of their meeting, held at the Rivers State Governor's Lodge, Asokoro Abuja, Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, however, tongue lashed the Federal Government over its attitude towards the management of Excess Crude Account, ECA. This came just as the governors vowed not to further accept adjournments of the case pending at the Supreme Court.

Asked to react to Chief Clark's allegation of forming an opposition to the Federal Government and whether they were fighting President Jonathan, Amaechi said: "No. Chief Edwin Clark is an elder statesman, we are not going to respond to him."

Clark last Thursday alleged that the governors had become more dictatorial than former military governors and using the forum as an opposition Party to the President Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government. There have been several moves by the Federal Government to have an out of Court resolution of the excess crude account crisis with the governors, but all moves have been futile because against the governors had repeatedly described the action of the Federal Government on the account as illegal.

Vote of Confidence on Amaechi

At the end of the meeting which was the first this year, the governors also "declared their confidence in the Chairman and endorsed his leadership as head of the Forum."

Amaechi said: "Forum decries the present attitude of the Federal Government on Excess Crude Account and resolves to take no further adjournments in the subsisting case in court but to seek a final resolution of the matter from the Supreme Court.

"Forum agreed to hold a two-day retreat to deliberate on the current state of security of the country.

"On the rising incidents of Polio in the country, Forum unanimously agreed to lead the efforts to eradicate polio by instituting the following:

"A monthly campaign to be headed by Governors in all 36 states of the federation to promote healthy environmental habits;

"Governors from non-polio states will support their counterparts in affected states by joining them in their states during upcoming national polio campaign;

"To meet with Presidential Task Force on Polio Eradication in order to identify current funding gaps and challenges against polio eradication in Nigeria.

"The Forum remains resolute in the development of our different states for the benefit of the nation and our citizens."

On when the security summit will be held, he said, "the committee is working on it. When the committee brings in their report we will fix a date."

On the health situation of Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State and as one of the governors who visited him, Amaechi said: "I talked with him, put him on the phone to an editor of Vanguard who is my friend. It was real."

At the meeting were governors of Nasarawa, Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, Ekiti, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo, Ogun, Rivers, Imo, Taraba, Anambra, Bauchi and Adamawa. Others were deputy governors of Kogi, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Bayelsa, Kwara, Jigawa, Niger and Benue.

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