Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Governor Kayode Fayemi said he envisioned a forum where, in the true spirit of federalism and principle of subsidiarity, the functions of government should be performed at the lowest level possible.
Fayemi who was on Wednesday elected as NGF Chairman said in his acceptance speech that although the forum would continue to build on the cordial relationship with the presidency and other arms of government, it would not shirk in its responsibility to influence policies that would have a positive impact on the citizenry.
The Ekiti State governor assured that the NGF would “constructively criticise, engage, lobby, and invariably use all means within the ambits of the law to influence the nature of laws” that would lead to greater peace and harmony in the country.
He expressed confidence that “the NGF would continue to advance our goals and objectives as a unified platform – where the leadership continues to be accountable; where every governor continues to have an equal voice, and where the democratic principles of broad-based consultation and consensus building are practised in reaching key decisions.”
The Chairman paid glowing tribute to his predecessors in office and promised to develop frameworks that would support and encourage states to domesticate the progressive programmes and policies of the Federal Government.
This, the governor added, would be better served if the state government takes the lead in the implementation while the Federal Government facilitates and supports.
“We look forward to an NGF that would contribute to ensuring no state is left behind on the development curve; an NGF that would encourage economic cooperation between states, especially within the regions, and engage development partners and other enablers as a bloc towards attracting more resources and technical assistance to achieve our developmental objectives.
“We would strengthen the capacity of our secretariat to continue to support our states with technical assistance in the areas of economic advisory, policy advisory, knowledge management, and public financial management, as well as build on our existing peer review mechanisms, while stimulating robust partnerships and productive rivalry between states,” he added.
Fayemi assured that the NGF secretariat would continue to drive the activities of existing committees, such as the constitution review; revenue allocation; and security, to make them more functional and productive.
He added that the forum would explore the possibility of creating more committees in keeping with the exigencies of the times.
According to him, the NGF would be strengthened to be proactive and effective in conflict resolution and mediation in matters of conflict between member states, and between the states and other interested parties.
“We shall also not fold our arms, but would put in all efforts within the limits of our mandate to promote peace and harmony in the country.
“We are encouraged by the reach and influence that the NGF has earned over the years as a critical stakeholder in nation building, but are also constrained by our limitations, which inhibit our potential to do more for the country.
“We would therefore be examining ways in which the NGF can be formally recognised and achieve status as a bonafide actor in the body polity.
“While we have our goals and objectives before set before us, and our mandate remains crystal clear, we shall remain flexible and adaptable to the times and seasons, and the peculiar challenges that would be thrown up within the course of our tenure.
“Our hope and faith remains in God to guide us and strengthen us to do right by our people, and use the mandate He has given us through the people, to restore our great country Nigeria to her pride of place, as the bulwark of peace and progress in Africa and beyond,” Fayemi added.
He expressed appreciation to the development partners that have worked with the NGF in the past in advancing its programmes, and assured that they would see in the forum a veritable platform for productive collaboration.