In a bid to have bi-partisan approaches to some fundamental issues and challenges facing the nation’s democracy, former civilian governors dating back to the Second Republic have regrouped under the aegis of the Former Governors Forum (FGF).
The enlarged caucus of the group that met last weekend in Abuja, incidentally, had the national chairmen of the three leading political parties in the country, who were former governors, in attendance. They include the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, that of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Chief Bisi Akande and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) counterpart, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu.
Tukur was the governor of old Gongola State in the Second Republic, Akande governed Osun State in the first term of this Fourth Republic, while Onu was the governor of Abia state during the short-lived Third Republic.
In his welcome address to the enlarged caucus, the chairman of the Forum, Senator Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo, said that the reason for forming the forum was to enable them to continue to render services for the unity and development of the country.
“We felt that it would be better to organise an all-embracing elected former governors from 1979 when presidential and governorship elections were held at both federal and state levels till date. Every former governor who was approached showed interest and applauded the idea,” the chairman of the forum explained.
He said that it would not be in doubt that the forum would have the largest number of eminent Nigerians if well harnessed, noting that it would be of tremendous advantage to the country in all the sectors of governance.
Nwobodo further said: “As patriotic and very responsible citizens of this country who have been in the helms of affairs of all federating units of this country, we owe it a duty to our people to contribute our quota by way of advice for the good governance, development and well-being of our country. There is no other avenue more suitable than coming together, reminiscing about the past and contributing to the present circumstances.
“This Forum will give us the much needed opportunity to come together to have bi-partisan approaches to some serious and fundamental issues and challenges facing our country and proffer solutions irrespective of political divides and ideological leaning.
“Your excellencies and colleagues, as the forces of history play itself out, putting stress and strains on our dear nation, we owe it a duty to do whatever we can to promote unity among our people and we can only do it when Nigerians know that this rainbow coalition of this great nation acts with nationalistic zeal.”
The list of the former governors that attended the meeting includes: Senator Jim Nwobodo, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Alhaji Lawan Kaita, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Chief Bisi Akande, Alhaji Saidu Barda, Prince Abubakar Audu and Senator Abdullahi Adamu.
Others are: Mr. Bonnie Haruna, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Chief Olusegun Agagu, and Mr. Wilberforce Juta.
The forum also approved the setting up of a committee for its formal inauguration. The five-man committee has Senator Abdullahi Adamu as chairman. Other members are Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, Mr. Clement Ebri, Mr. Bonnie Haruna and Senator Ahmed Makarfi.