By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja.
The outgoing chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, has said that given the assistance President Muhammadu Buhari has given to the states, governors have the obligation to cooperate with him in his next tenure.
Yari, whose time as NGF chair ends with the coming to an end of his term as a state governor in May, told State correspondents in Abuja on Friday that the next leadership of the forum must work based on the president’s agenda.
He recalled that the present membership of the forum had cooperated in full with the president who he said was magnanimous enough to provide bailouts which enabled the states to pay workers salaries.
On what type of NGF leadership he would like to see emerge, Yari said: “I will like to see a leadership that will perform better than I did, the type that will work in tandem with the presidency.
“I appreciate my colleagues for giving me the cooperation and within the forum, there was no break up, and there was no crisis between the presidency and the forum.
“We worked together for our economy to grow and to support the president on his agenda to fight corruption and insecurity.
“You are fully away of what the President has done to the state, the bailouts to ensure that workers can be paid their salaries. We are all from the states including Mr. President himself.
“I can give the governors pass mark. Mr. President has commissioned a number of projects in the states, atimes he sent representative.
“So, I hope the NGF will remain united and work in tandem with the federal government’s agenda.”
The governor, who has just been elected a senator to represent Zamfara state, attributed his electoral victory and that of the governorship candidate who he supported, to his ability to manage the direct primaries adopted by his All Progressives Congress (APC).
He explained: “I have said it times without number, I am the first chairman, who oversaw the pioneer direct primaries in Osun State with 18 candidates contesting for the governorship position of the state. They were all high profile candidates including the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, many former permanent secretaries, the speaker of the state, the secretary to the government of the state.
“I have said it repeatedly that if my colleagues can accept direct primaries, it is the simplest system that will involve every member of the party.
“In my state, there were only seven or eight people contesting for the governship position and I have said it that if I could preside over primaries where 18 people contested and succeeded, why can’t I manage eight, nine or 10 in my state?
“I have been on ground since 1999 to date and I know the system and how it works. I have been party secretary, party chairman, House of Representatives and a two-term Governor. It is with this experience that I was able to manage.
“Unfortunately there were a lot of misunderstanding between the party in the state and the national body but in the end, we ended in the court and the court gave the verdict and INEC compiled.
“Though it came late, but if you are with the grassroots, definitely, everything must work well. The people appreciated what we have been doing and when it came to voting, they voted wisely.”
Yari said he was delighted at the outcome of the Zamfara election and thanked the people of the state for their resilience.
He added: “I am very happy with the outcome of the elections. I also want to appreciate my people, despite the fact that some people felt I was carried away by the activities at the center, insinuating I abandoned the seat especially with the security problem, but the people are aware of what the administration has been doing and they appreciate it.
“Despite the daily attacks, the security agencies were up and doing and their presence in the state was well appreciated by the people and the people appreciate the efforts of Mr. President which took us to where we are. Like I said, only God could have done it.”