In a bid to reposition the factionalised Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), members of the group have elected Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari as new Chairman.
Yari emerged at the end of the meeting of the forum held at the Lagos/Osun Hall of the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
The outgoing chairman of the body and Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi, who read the communiqué of the meeting to journalists., said Yari, who was the former deputy chairman of the forum, emerged chairman by consensus and would serve for a period of one year.
A new deputy chairman was however not elected at the meeting to replace him.
The Rivers Governor also said after over a year of bickering, the governors had now “reconciled and are united as a single umbrella association of the 36 state governors of Nigeria”.
The Rivers Governor added that induction programme for new and returning governors would be held in June 2015.
He said the induction is aimed at equipping new and returning governors with knowledge of global best practices of establishing and running their offices.
In addition, Amaechi said the forum resolved at the meeting to set up a Governors’ Forum Academy to be called “The NGF Leadership Academy” which will be responsible for capacity building of governors and other officials holding public office.
He said the academy would be overseen by the NGF secretariat.
About 20 governors, including some deputies, attended Monday’s meeting, which was the first time the state chief executives came together as a united body.
The Forum descended into crisis in May 2013 after the election of officials split the body into two.
At the election, held at the Rivers State Governors’ Lodge in Abuja, Amaechi defeated his Plateau state’s counterpart, Jonah Jang, by 19 votes to 16.
However, indications at the time suggested that the Presidency was pushing for the emergence of anyone but the Rivers governor as NGF chairman because of the political differences between Amaechi and President Goodluck Jonathan.
After the election, Jang refused to accept defeat and formed a parallel NGF with his colleagues who voted for him.
As indication emerged, Sunday that the Forum was uniting and electing a new leader, the Bayelsa state Governor, Seriake Dickson, circulated a statement demanding the postponement of the election.
His suggestion was however ignored, with the Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, saying earlier on Monday that all governors had agreed to bury their differences, come together as a united body and move on.