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Governors on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have aligned with their counterparts in the All Progressives Congress (APC) to call for a return to the practice of true fiscal federalism in the operation of the Federation Account.
At the end of a troubleshooting meeting yesterday in which the factionalised Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) coalesced into one, the governors unanimously demanded explanations from the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on the alleged missing $20 billion being accruals to the Excess Crude Account for two years.
Recall that the agitation for the scrapping of the excess crude account (ECA) by the NGF under the leadership of the outgoing Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, led to a cold war between the Forum and the Presidency, with the former instituting a case at the Supreme Court, challenging the operation of the ECA by the latter.
The forum was subsequently polarised into two camps with the governors of Rivers and Plateau states, Amaechi and Jonah Jang respectively, parading themselves as chairmen.
But at the end of a meeting held at Transcorp Hilton Hotel on Monday night in Abuja, which had the likes of Governors Godswill Akpabio, Emmanuel Uduaghan, Gabriel Suswam, Isa Yuguda of Akwa-Ibom, Delta, Benue and Bauchi states respectively in attendance with Amaechi presiding, the governors urged the finance minister to give explanations on accruals to the excess crude account between June 2013 and April 2015.
The communiqué presented by Governor Amaechi, read in part “In the light of the fact that funds in the excess crude account were last disbursed in May 2013, there is need for the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to provide explanations for accruals to this account from June 2013 to April 2015 which is estimated at over $20 billion.”
The governors also resolved to conduct induction for governors-elect and establish a Governors’ Forum Academy.
“The induction programme for new and returning governors will be held in June. It is also aimed at equipping new and returning governors with the knowledge of global best practices establishing and running their offices. The NGF Leadership Academy will be responsible for capacity building of governors and other officials holding public offices.”
The NGF congratulated the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, on his electoral victory and President Goodluck Jonathan for conceding defeat.
Governor Amaechi also announced the Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, as his successor. He is to serve for one year.
Others in attendance were the governors of Edo, Oyo, Osun, Kano, Nasarawa, Niger, Kaduna, Borno and Kebbi, while Kogi State deputy governor represented the Governor, Idris Wada.
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