by Lucas Togan
In an about turn, Bauchi State Governor Isa Yuguda has bowed to pressure from prominent Northern elders and changed his mind and decided to remain in the Northern State Governors’ Forum (NSGF). Governor Yuguda, who accepted elders’ advice, made his decision known yesterday through his Chief of Staff, Alhaji Yusuf Musa Gumli, at a press briefing held at the Government House, Bauchi.
He had earlier announced his withdrawal from the forum immediately following the NGF election controversy which returned the Chairman, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State with 19 votes against Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang, who got 16 votes.
Yuguda, working under an accord of the NSGF, had pledged before the election to step down and support Jang as NGF’s chairman to succeed Amaechi from the South.
The Sun reports:
Based on this agreement, Governor Yuguda and his Katsina State counterpart, Ibrahim Shema, who were interested in the position, were asked to withdraw and support Jang, only for some of the governors to turn around and vote Amaechi.
According to him,“it is very disappointing that the political trend as it recently relates to the Northern States Governors’ Forum in its bid to elect a leader ended up in a tussle within the governors and it is a minus on their part for not clinging to that position.
“Before the election, the Northern State Governors’ Forum decided that Governor Shetima and Yuguda should step down in favour of Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State, who happened to be the consensus candidate, but instead of sticking to the plan, the Governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, compromised our position of the agreed candidate,” he said.
The governor, who maintained that the unity of the NSGF had been put at stake as a result of the development, felt he could no longer be part of the group and withdrew.
Yuguda said that there was unfairness by the majority of the northern governors who ended up supporting Amaechi and decided that he could no longer belong to that group
The governor said he decided to issue a statement that he would not be attending the forum meetings again, but his Secretary to the State Government (SSG) would be in attendance, Yuguda was absent in their last meetings.
According to Gumli, northern elders asked Yuguda to take things lightly and prevail on him that he must go back to the forum and being a well-behaved son, accepted their advice and is now going back to the Northern State Governors’ Forum and Bauchi State will feature there.
The governor said first of all, he decided to mend the fences by letting go of the past and return to the forum.
He said: “Secondly, I have decided to heed the appeals from concerned elders in the North who want me to eschew sentiments and give fair representation to the North in the forum. As an obedient son, I have accepted their appeals and gone back to the forum. Thirdly, I have never taken sides with Jonah Jang, I was only working under the instruction of the NGF so that Plateau State will be the centre of the North, where there is a fair representation”.
On the allegation that he was eyeing the vice presidency in 2015, the governor said that it was not a sin for him to aspire for any post, be it the president, vice-president or even the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, adding that, “there is nothing wrong for one to aspire for any position in the country so long as due process and legitimacy are followed.”