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Amaechi calls for end to Nigeria Governors Forum crack

Amaechi says Nigeria and the citizens bear the biggest brunt of a fractured forum.

The Governor of Rivers State and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, Rotimi Amaechi, has called for an end to the crack in the forum.

Speaking during the opening of the 4th NGF retreat for Governors at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Port Harcourt, on Friday, Mr. Amaechi said, “To my colleagues, as we prepare to bow out, I want us to reflect on the crack in the body of the NGF.”

The Governor said since it has always been the dream of the NGF to remain intact and grow together as one, “regardless of any disagreements, the time to bring back everyone back together is now”.

He said Nigeria and the citizens bear the biggest brunt of a fractured forum. He said as the country moves towards 2015 and general elections, it is imperative that leaders continue to imbibe and internalise the democratic tenets, “even while allowing the minority to have their say”.

Mr. Amaechi had on March 26, 2013 defeated his Plateau State counterpart, Jonah Jang with 19 votes to 16, but the Plateau Governor alleged irregularity in the election and had since formed a faction of the NGF with all the governors that voted for him.

Speaking on Friday, however, Mr. Amaechi said, “I strongly hope that in the coming elections, democracy will be practiced as it ought to be. In all future elections, winners must be congratulated, while losers must of necessity be commended for taking part.”

The Rivers Governor said the retreat will focus on health and youth unemployment, even as he also recalled that in the last retreat in Lagos on March 13-14, the focus was on Agriculture, Education, and Corruption. He said the retreat came up with strong resolutions, some of which have impacted on policy in various states.

He urged the governors present to double their efforts during the 4th retreat to not only reach resolutions but follow through in applying all the lessons learned in all the retreats.

“Finding solutions to the challenges that plague our nation is our duty as leaders in our country,” he said.
Life after office for governors

As part of the forums topic at Friday’s retreat was also a session on ‘Transitioning out-Life after officer: Perspectives and Challenges.’ The session was chaired by former President of Liberia, Amos Sawyer.

Mr. Sawyer, in his speech, said the strength of Nigeria as a federation lay not only in good governance at the federal level, but also at the level of the state and local governments.

He said a federal government works best when there are strong institutions at all levels and when the interaction among them works smoothly in the delivery of public goods and services to the people.

The former president said there were always challenges in the relationship between federal and state governments.
“Contentions over jurisdictional responsibilities and prerogatives, resource allocation and budgets, among others will always exist and solutions to these challenges might not always satisfy all parties,” he said.

He also said that what was important was that there should always be a spirit of cooperation between all levels of government.

Mr. Sawyer said most public office holders would like to live life after office in dignity and with relevance.

He said he had served as Interim President for Liberia from September, 1990, where he served both as ceremonial and substantive head of government with all the trappings of office to March 1994 when he stepped down.

He however said as a private citizen “with no retinue of state security, assistants and advisors; no bullet-proof limousine. And no crowds attending my every event,” he had no difficulty because he has prepared for his exit from office at the time he was inducted.

He said he saw public service as a privilege. He advised the governors to see public service as a privilege and show appreciation for the opportunity to serve and must be humbled by the opportunity.

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