The National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Victor Umeh, on Tuesday in Abuja called for the scrapping of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).
Mr. Umeh, who was reacting to the crisis that trailed last Friday’s chairmanship election of the forum, said “the existence of NGF has no constitutional basis”.
The APGA chairman, who spoke on the sidelines of the launching of a book titled “The making of an oracle”, said the forum was threatening democracy and peace in the country.
He accused the governors of losing touch with the realities in their respective states partly because of their insatiable crave for power both in their states and at the federal level.
Mr. Umeh said the excesses of the 36 governors should be checkmated by proscribing the forum before it causes further harm to the polity.
“We are tired of the activities of these 36 men who are tearing this whole country apart.
“The Nigerian Governors’ Forum has no place in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and should therefore not be allowed to tear us apart.
“Let the forum be scrapped for peace to reign in this country,” the APGA chairman said.
Mr. Umeh said the governors, through the forum, had wielded so much power to the extent of abandoning their primary responsibilities to their constituents.
He called on President Goodluck Jonathan to go beyond the forum and engage with Nigerians directly, rather than relating with them (Nigerians) through the 36 state governors.
The opposition party chairman said Mr. Jonathan should free himself from NGF’s stranglehold and concentrate on the mandate given to him by millions of Nigerians to lead the nation to greatness.
“I think the President is paying too much attention to the governors. They leave their jobs and come to Abuja to hold the President by the jugular and I think this is not right.
“What Jonathan should do is to ignore this set of people and free himself from their grip, if he wants to re-contest in 2015.
“He should seek the support of Nigerians and not the governors. They are only 36 out of over 150 million Nigerians. Let him ignore them and continue with his job,” he said.
Speaking on APGA, Mr. Umeh debunked insinuations that there was in existence a faction of APGA loyal to the Federal Government, adding that “the party is still indivisible, independent and not in alliance with the PDP”.
He described the recent happenings in the party as normal in a democratic setting and noted that those who were making the party unstable would soon retrace their steps to the right direction.
“I want to correct this impression that there is APGA-APGA and APGA-PDP. There is nothing like that. We have only one APGA that is registered by INEC and we are not in alliance with PDP.
“What you are hearing about our party is caused by some people who benefitted from the platform but feel they can do whatever they want with it now,” Mr. Umeh said.
He commended the author of the book, Yemi Kolapo, for her contributions to journalism in Nigeria.
The party chairman urged the media to rise above present difficulties by reporting issues on merit rather than on political or ethnic sentiments.
He said the media had played a great role in the sustenance of democracy since 1999 and should reject all overtures to truncate it.
APGA currently has about three factions and Mr. Umeh has no backing of any of the two governors elected on the party’s platform in 2011.
Also speaking, Mohammed Garba, the President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, commended the author for the courage to publish some of her criticisms of Federal Government’s economic agenda since 2008.
He said her work would make government and other stakeholders reconsider certain decisions on the economy and make adjustments where necessary in the interest of Nigerians.
The 379-page book was reviewed by Hafsat Abiola-Costello.