Story from Bernice EKE and Khadija .A. JIKA, Abuja
The North Central Governors Forum, presided by its chairman, Alhaji (Dr) Abubakar Sani Bello, the Executive Governor of Niger State, in a virtual meeting today has distanced itself from the emergence of the North Central Peoples Forum (NCPF), a breakaway forum from the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF).
In a communiqué signed by its chairman, the forum said it was never consulted collectively or individually by those behind the emergence of the North Central Peoples Forum as the Governors saw the news in the media just like any other Nigerian and that they are yet to be briefed about the objectives of the forum.
The governors who affirmed that they are not part of the North Central Peoples Forum and shall not participate in its activities said as a body, the North Central Governors believe and are committed to the oneness of the North.
The communiqué said though the governors recognise and acknowledge the constitutional right of individuals and groups such as the North Central Peoples Forum to form lawful associations and pursue their aspirations, they remain strongly committed to the objectives of the Northern Governors Forum under the leadership of Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State.
While welcoming views, suggestions, recommendations and ideas that seek to promote the unity and development of the North Central Zone and by extension the entire North, the communiqué said the governors shall continue to work for the sustainable socio-economic development of the North Central region and the progress of its people.
It will be recalled that recently some prominent leaders from the North-Central geopolitical zone announced their exit from the Arewa Consultative Forum, citing the worsening insecurity in northern Nigeria.
A former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Jerry Useni; a former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu; a former Military Administrator of Kwara State, Col. David Bamigboye (retd.); and former deputy chief of staff to the President, Chief Olusola Akomode, were also listed as members.
The list also included the Publisher of Leadership Newspaper, Sam Nda-Isaiah; a former Nigeria Ambassador to South Africa, Ahmed Ibeto; a media consultant, Alhaji Tajudeen Kareem; a former Deputy Governor of Benue State, Chief Stephen Lawani and Alhaji Alfa Mohammed, among others.
The leaders announced the formation of the North Central Peoples Forum as a platform to fight insecurity and marginalisation.