In what looks like a resurgence of hostilities, the Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi-led Nigerian Governors' Forum (NGF) last night, took on the federal government and claimed that the government at the centre has breached the 2013 Appropriation Act.
Consequently, the NGF, in a five -point communiqué at the end of its meeting at the Rivers State Governor's Lodge, in Asokoro, Abuja, asked the finance minister and coordinating minister of the economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to resign if she could not redress the situation by adhering strictly to the contents of the appropriation act.
Beside asking the finance minister, the governors chided the presidency for instituting an unconstitutional body in the mould of the Economic Management Team just as they canvassed the separation of the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation form that of the Accountant-General of the Federal Government.
The NGF also claimed that rather than the EMT which the forum said was unknown to the constitution, the National Economic Council (NEC) has the statutory role to manage the economy.
Thirteen governors attended yesterday's meeting. They were; Abdulfattah Ahmed(Kwara), Babatunde Raji Fashola (Lagos), Abdulazeez Yari (Zamfara), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Babangida Muazu Aliyu (Niger), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Aiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) and Rauf Aregbesola(Osun). The governors of Edo, Borno and Nasarawa were represented by their deputies at the meeting.
The communiqué, read by Governor Amaechi said:
"The non-compliance with the revenue projection of the Federal Government of Nigeria 2013 Budget is a direct breach of the Appropriation Act of 2013. Members expressed concern in the management of the economy by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy and called for a strict adherence to the Appropriate icy of 2013 failing which she should resign.
"The Forum expressed that the National Economic Council is constitutionally responsible for the management of the economy and should be used for that purpose as opposed to the Economic Management Team as constituted by the Presidency
"We reinstate our earlier call to the National Assembly for the separation of the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation from that of the Accountant-General of the Federal Government for accountability and better management of the economy.
"After review polio situation in the country, members recognized some progress have been made in 2013 compared to 2012. Forum enjoined all governors to remain focused and continue to drive the programme in their respective states until polio is completely eradicated.
"Members expressed condolence to Dame Patience Jonathan for the loss of her mother, Governor Fashola for the loss of his father, and the family if the late Dr. Olusegun Agagu, former governor of Ondo state
"Finally, it was resolve that the Gorum will hold a Nigeria Governors Forum retreat in November 2013".
The governors did not entertain questions from reporters after the communiqué had been read out.