18th June, 2013
Again, the nation was treated to a needless power show on Sunday when Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State and his counterpart in Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, issued different conflicting statements on a meeting of the Governors’ Forum.
While we acknowledge the schism in the forum caused by the re-election of Governor Amaechi as Chairman on 23 May, 2013, we believe that governors who are leaders in their own right, should display maturity and diplomacy in handling the leadership crisis, instead of tarnishing their image by engaging in a war of words publicly.
The leadership crisis which is threatening to consume the forum degenerated on Saturday when Jang in a statement publicised in the media, notified his colleagues of a meeting of the forum to be held in a new secretariat he has just acquired for the forum in Abuja. He disclosed in the statement that the meeting will hold before the governors’ scheduled meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja on Monday.
As the news of the meeting hit the airwaves, the authentic Chairman of the Forum, Amaechi countered in a statement, also publicised on Sunday, that Governor Jang should stop impersonating him and stop parading himself as chairman of the Governors’ Forum.
In his statement, Amaechi declared that as the duly elected chairman of the forum, he is the only one who can convene a meeting of the forum and that he has not called for a meeting of the forum.
He appealed to Governor Jang to protect the integrity of his colleagues and not impugn their integrity by making a mockery of the forum. He advised him to stay within the confines of decorum and not to rubbish his colleagues in the eyes of the masses.
We are surprised that the governors have allowed the leadership crisis rocking their forum to degenerate to this level. We are baffled that a voluntary association such as the Governors’ Forum, which was formed to promote peer review and exchange of ideas on development issues, has been turned into a battleground where members engage in pursuit of narrow and selfish political interest.
We are dismayed that instead of channeling their energy towards promoting good governance and democratic norms, the governors now engage in petty struggle for transient political power.
Is it not a shame that governors are fighting dirty over chairmanship of their forum instead of teaming up to provide succour to their people through provision of medicare, housing, schools, potable water, tackling floods and construction and rehabilitation of bad roads in their states.
As a dispassionate observer of the ongoing crisis among the governors, we are of the view that the chairmanship of the Governors’ Forum is not such a big deal that governors should dissipate unnecessary energy on. Governors should concentrate on effective governance and do away with the unprofitable bickering over the chairmanship of a forum.
Governors should stop overheating the polity with their squabbles over the chairmanship of a voluntary association that is not recognised by the constitution. Governor Jang should retreat from the dangerous path he has chosen. At the end of the day, it will serve him no good. By now, he ought to know that in any election, there is bound to be a winner. Once a winner emerges, the loser should accept defeat and work with the winner to develop the polity.
The controversial election which led to the splitting of the forum into two was well documented for all to see. It was clear that Governor Jang lost the election. 19 governors elected Amaechi as their chairman and that decision should stay.