Contrary to speculations making the rounds, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has expressed optimism that the current crisis rocking the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) would not make it to disintegrate.
Governor Dickson made this remark at a state banquet organized in honour of the National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Yenagoa.
He said, the forum would come out of its present challenge unscathed and better repositioned to play the roles expected of it to stabilize the polity as well as strengthen the nation’s democracy.
According to the Governor, efforts are already underway to amicably resolve the crisis, stressing however that the emerging new NGF will not operate like a trade union but collaborate effectively with the federal government with a view to moving the country to greater heights.
Governor Dickson, who vehemently disagreed with those calling for the dissolution of the body, argued that the forum’s continued existence was relevant as it functions as a peer review mechanism.
His words, “Mr. President of the Bar Association was right about the history of our NGF and how we copied the tradition of the American Governors’ Association. Some say because of this development (crisis) the NGF is not necessary. But I disagree. We need the NGF as a peer review mechanism. The NGF will come up strong and united after all of this.
“But it will be a different NGF. It will no longer go on as a trade union and platform for personal political aggrandizement or a platform for opposing the Federal Government. The NGF is not an alternative Federal Government. As governors we are elected to govern our states and to collaborate with other levels of authority on critical issues especially development and national security”.
Continuing, Hon. Dickson underscored the importance of financial autonomy of the judiciary and called on other governors to promote the independence of the judiciary in their respective states for better performance.
“Protecting the autonomy of the judiciary is the right thing to do. I want to use this opportunity to call on my colleagues to do that because if you support a pillar of democracy like the judiciary, you are not doing so because you want to do them any favour. That is the right thing to do because society can only be as free as its judiciary is”.
In his remarks, Chairman of the occasion, Chief Serena Dokubo-Spiff commended the Governor for making the legal profession proud by giving the people of Bayelsa a purposeful leadership.
Also speaking, President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Okey Wali (SAN) expressed appreciation to Governor Dickson for providing a conducive atmosphere for the Association’s meeting in which fundamental issues bordering on the welfare of its members, a befitting national secretariat and the need to amend the Nigerian constitution were discussed.
Delivering the dinner speech, Mr. Nimi Walson-Jack urged legal practitioners not to relent in uplifting and providing quality services to the society as Judiciary remains the last hope of the common man.
Highpoint of the occasion was the presentation of a plaque and dressing of the NBA President, Mr. Okey Wali with Bayelsa traditional attires by Governor Dickson.
The State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Frances Egele, former NBA President, Chief O.C.J Okocha and former Senior Special Adviser on legal matters to the Governor, Mr. Kemasuode Wodu were among dignitaries who proposed toasts at the ceremony.
Award winning Bayelsa State Council for Arts and Culture as well as comedians such as Julius Agwu, I Go Die, Gee Bonz and Barack Pikin also entertained the guests at the occasion.