Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State on Thursday said the crisis rocking the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) could be traced to the chairman of the group and governor of Niger State, Muazu Babangida Aliyu, because he betrayed Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State, the consensus candidate of NSGF, during the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) election in Abuja on May 24.
Yuguda said it was unfortunate that after Aliyu presented Jang as the NSGF consensus candidate, he still went ahead to vote for Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State.
Yuguda was in Abuja for a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan.
He told State House correspondents: “Governor Aliyu betrayed northern governors and led some of them to betray the northern cause during the election. For reasons that I outlined purely on my own principles, if my integrity and the integrity of the people of Bauchi that I represent is threatened, you don’t see me there and that is why I left ANPP and went back to PDP, the family that I rightfully belong to.
“We 19 governors sat in Abuja and decided that one of us, who is supposed to be rightfully the chairman of the NGF, I say rightfully because the slot is for the North, must be the NGF chairman. We are 19 governors in the North and we took that decision together. We went with that decision to the meeting. Normally when we take decision, our chairman will speak. So, we went to PDP Governors Forum, ANPP governors were not part of the meeting but they were part of the Northern Governors Forum meeting. By affirmation, all of us decided on one person and that is Jonah Jang, the governor of Plateau State.
“So, on our own honour, we went to the PDP Governors Forum and the chairman of the Northern State Governors’ Forum, the Talba of Minna and Chief Servant of Niger State presented Jonah Jang as our consensus candidate for the 19 northern governors. There was a standing ovation and we were congratulated and appreciated by our colleagues that we stepped down for Jonah Jang, myself and Shema.
“In the first place, we have never had election in the NGF. I was in Ilorin and I seconded the motion that made Amaechi the chairman of NGF. Only 13 of us were in Ilorin and if 19 governors presented a candidate in a 36-member association , I think the game is over and it has been consensus and consensus.
“There must be integrity in governance because we governors should be of integrity. We should be role models and we should not play evil politics as far as I am concerned because most people associate politics with evil. If you don’t know how to tell lies, if you don’t know how to betray, if you don’t know how to have double face, you are not a good politician. But me, I am not carved out for that. I am a professional chartered banker. I was MD of two banks and I served this country as minister twice and governor twice. My word should be my bond.
“All the crises and all the unfortunate comments made about the governors today are the fault or should be traced to the northern state governors forum because we are the culprits and that is why I say on his honour, let the chairman of the northern governors forum come out and tell Nigerians that we the 19 northern governors did not come out with Jang as the consensus candidate. As far as I am concerned, if I sit with my colleagues and we take a decision and you go and do a different thing, I am not part of those kind of things and me as a person will not attend the meeting but my deputy governor can attend on behalf of the people and government of Bauchi State. But as a person, I will not, that has always been my position.
“But let me assure you that if there is no such code of conduct and ethics on the office of a governor, I am telling you, very soon, nobody will want to be a governor. There is honour in leadership and God sanctions leadership. If God has sanctioned leadership in our books of faith, I can’t see evil associated with leadership. So, any person associating evil with leadership and he wants to play it the evil way, I am not part of it.”