The United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), on Wednesday promised to do everything possible to support the Nigerian Government.
This was made known in Abuja by Ben Mellor, DFID Head of Office during a courtesy visit to the Director General, Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF), Asishana Okauru.
He noted that Nigerian governors had the interest of the country at heart irrespective of the crack within the forum, revealing that he is encouraged by the activities of the secretariat and promised to work with it to ensure the development in Nigerian states.
Mellor, who assured that he would not be discouraged by the country’s huge challenges lauded the great opportunities therein. He revealed that his visit was aimed at accessing the forum’s secretariat in order to know its future plans and how the DFID could help.
He said he was elated to see that the forum’s secretariat had remained non partisan and had continued to work on improving governance in the country in the face of challenges, noting that it was a step in the right direction and wished the Nigerian government and the people the best in the 2015 general elections.
Responding to the development partners, Okauru expressed optimism that the crisis within the forum would soon be resolved.
“As soon as they get a few things resolved, we should be back fully on stream” he said, adding that certain concrete agreement was presently being reached by the governors to ensure that the forum became one in the interest of the people and the nation.
He said that in spite of the seeming crack within the forum, the secretariat was focused on its responsibility of servicing the elected 36 governors of the federation, pointing out that the secretariat being a policy hub; was structured to service the governors irrespective of their parties, and had maintained contact with the governors in spite of the situation.
“There are challenges but those challenges are not peculiar to the forum, they are actually about the country” Okauru said. “It is all about politics and our political calendar. We have never had the kind of dynamics we are experiencing now, where you have two major political parties that are almost at the same level”.
The DG said the secretariat would ensure that the forum was not used as a platform for political parties to achieve their aspirations, and urged the DFID to support the secretariat’s various programmes which includes its induction programme for newly elected governors and its peer review initiative, among others.
He explained that the secretariats peer review and knowledge management initiatives are wonderful tools that can reconcile the governors, adding that the secretariat was also working on isolating best practices of serving governors to make same available for returning and incoming governors in 2015.
Okauru disclosed that the secretariat has been able to put together governors’ inaugural speeches from 2009 to 2011 which would enable electorate hold governors accountable for the promises they made on the day they were inaugurated.
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