Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State has described the re-election of Rivers State Governor, Mr Rotimi Amaechi as Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) as victory for democracy, adding that the decision of the Forum to opt for election instead of consensus was as a result of democratic growth.
Fayemi, who spoke with journalists at his Ishan-Ekiti country home, however, urged Nigerians to see the emergence of Amaechi as NGF’s Chairman as strictly a demonstration of his colleagues’ confidence in his leadership of the Forum and not a victory over the Presidency.
Fayemi said: “It is a contest among governors for the chairmanship position and it would be wrong for anyone to consider it a contest between President Goodluck Jonathan and Amaechi as the President was not a contestant.”
“This country belongs to all of us and we are committed to working closely with the President of Nigeria. He is our leader. We have respect for him and his office. So, let no one think it is a defeat to the president. It was a race between Governors Jang and Amaechi,” Fayemi asserted.
The governor recalled that the leadership of the Forum since 1999 was based on consensus but took a different direction because of the growth of democracy. He said there should be no controversy since the election was credible.
Fayemi described as “sad” comments by the anti-Amaechi governors that the NGF election was rigged. According to him, it is sad and soiling the integrity of anyone who holds such a belief. He added that the election which was recorded on tape was one of the most credible he had witnessed.
He said: “Governors routinely decide who becomes their chairman and they have done so consistently since 1999. The only difference is that as democracy grows, competition also grows with it. What was usually done on the basis of consensus before now went in the direction of outright election and a winner emerged.”
Fayemi added that the outcome of such a credible election ought not generate the type of reaction from the opposing camps except some people are pursuing some agenda that were never made known to others.
“There should not be any reason for hidden agenda among the governors since the NGF is a voluntary body which lacks recognition by the Nigerian constitution.”
The governor maintained that it was expected that there would be a winner and a loser in any contest and that the result of the NGF election should not cause a division among governors.