Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) of Lagos State has stressed the need for governors of the 36 states to put their differences aside and revive the Nigeria Governors’ Forum before leaving office in 2015.
Speaking at a dialogue session organised by the Kukah Centre for Faith and Leadership Research, Fashola said it was embarrassing that the Forum which they inherited from their predecessors was going into extinction, saying “my fear is that the next set of governors may not have a Governors’ Forum”.
The NGF is currently split between factions loyal to the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi and Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, who is backed by the Presidency.
According to the Lagos governor, government and elected officials must realize that the problems of Nigeria revolve around the people of the country, pointing out that there was nothing wrong with the Nigerian nation, but in the value system of the people.
He said: “If we agree that the problems revolve around people, then the difference will lie in the method. The Presidential system we use is the American system. As a matter of national value, the Americans agree that anybody who earns income must pay tax.
“The essential quality for institutions to do well is people. When institutions do well, it is because good people have done the right thing and when they do badly, it is because bad people have been allowed to take charge.
“So, there is nothing esoteric about institutions because what drive institutions is good men and women. But you will not find them until there is a convergence of ideas and values and this is the right thing to do.
“We should be driven by a nationalistic value system that if our country crumbles, no party will be saved. Until there are shared values, you can have united actions. If the values systems are different, then you can sit down, you can sit down in a governors forum and have an election and some people will say a smaller number is greater than another number.
“I say that because I am embarrassed that we were in the same club where that happened. And it speaks so badly of all of us. I fear now that the next set of governors who come on board may not have a governors’ forum.
“I am hopeful that before we go, the least we can do is to give back to those who will succeed us what we inherited from those we succeeded. I think that in that kind of contest, you can lose one day knowing that there is any other day to fight”.