Outgoing Governors’ Forum Chairman seeks stronger ties among states

Timothy Choji, Abuja

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Outgoing Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Abdulazeez Yari says he expects the next set of leaders and members of the Forum to sustain the bond of unity that exists among the various state governments in the country.

Yari made the remark in an interview with State House Correspondents after attending the Juma’at prayer at the Presidential Villa Mosque, Abuja.

He said: “I will like to see a leadership that will perform better than I did, the type that will work in tandem with the Presidency. I appreciate my colleagues for giving me the cooperation and within the forum, there was no break up, and there was no crisis between the Presidency and the forum. We worked together for our economy to grow and to support the President on his agenda to fight corruption and insecurity. You are fully aware of what the President has done to the state, the bail outs to ensure that workers can be paid their salaries, we are all from the states including Mr. President himself. I can give the Governors pass mark; Mr. President has commissioned a number of projects in the states, at times he sent representative. So, I hope the Nigerian Governors Forum will remain united and work in tandem with the federal government’s agenda.”

The Governor used the opportunity to thank the people of Zamfara State for voting candidates of his party, the All Progressives Congress APC, during the 2019 general elections.

According to him, despite the huge challenges that confronted the APC in Zamafara State ahead of the elections, the desired result was achieved at the end of the day under a peaceful atmosphere.

“You know the turmoil that Zamfara elections put on Nigeria, disagreements upon disagreements from the party to court and then to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which disagreed, then we went back to court and finally under 24 hours we were cleared and we were back at the ballot box. Only God has done this and given us the victory.

 “I am very happy with the outcome of the elections. I also want to appreciate my people, despite the fact that some people felt I was carried away by the activities at the centre (Abuja), insinuating I abandoned the state especially with the security problem, but the people are aware of what the administration has been doing and they appreciate it.

 “Despite the daily attacks, the security agencies were up and doing and their presence in the state was well appreciated by the people and they also appreciated the efforts of Mr. President which took us to where we are. Like I said, only God could have done it,” He said.

On how he was able to weather the storm and sail through smoothly, Governor Yari said:

“I have said it times without number, I am the first Chairman, who oversaw the pioneer direct primaries in Osun State with 18 candidates contesting for the governorship position of the state. They were all high profiled candidates including the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, many former Permanent Secretaries, the Speaker of the State Assembly and the Secretary to the Government of the state. I have said it repeatedly that if my colleagues can accept direct primaries, it is the simplest system that will involve every member of the party.

 “In my state, there were only seven or eight people contesting for the Governorship position and I have said it that if I could preside over primaries where 18 people contested and succeeded, why can’t I manage eight, nine or 10 in my state? I have been on ground since 1999 to date and I know the system and how it works. I have been party Secretary, party Chairman, House of Representative member and a two-term Governor, is with this experience that I was able to manage.

 

“Unfortunately, there were a lot of misunderstandings between the party in the state and the national body but in the end we ended in the court and the court gave the verdict and INEC complied. Though it came late, but if you are with the grassroots definitely everything must work well. The people appreciated what we have been doing and when it came to voting, they voted wisely.”

Ime Njoku