It was an exciting scene yesterday in Maiduguri, the beleaguered capital of Borno State.
Nine governors and one deputy (Zamfara’s Abubakar Aliyu) walked freely in a market waving at crowds who hailed them – apparently for their bravery and solidiarity.
They unfolded plans to begin a national campaign for the APC to mobilise Nigerians for change. Besides, they donated N200million to the victims of the Boko Haram crisis.
The governors said they chose Maiduguri to prove a point that “there should not be a no-go area for any Nigerian leader”.
President Goodluck Jonathan has not visited Borno State since the insurgency, which has claimed several lives, began in 2009. Vice President Namadi Sambo was there recently.
The meeting climaxed with visits to the Monday Market, which is the biggest in the state capital, and the Government College , Maiduguri .
The meeting was attended by governors of Borno, Lagos , Ekiti, Nassarawa, Imo,Ogun, Osun, Edo and the deputy governor of Yobe State.
Although Zamfara State Governor missed the plenary, he was part of the visits to the market and the college.
Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola, who read a communiqué after the meeting, said the meeting had demonstrated the position of APC that “there shouldn’t be a no-go-area for any leader that means well for his people.”
As the governors’ meeting was going on, there were reports of explosions in Customs and Bolori-Baga road in the city.
The communiqué read by Aregbesola said: “Rising from our meeting held in Maiduguri on 28 February 2013 and attended by the governors of Borno, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Osun, and Yobe and apologies from governors of Zamfara and Oyo States.
“The Forum reiterated our irrevocable commitment to the emergence of the new party, All Progressive Congress (APC). In solidarity with the Government and people of Borno and Yobe States, we are pleased to witness an upsurge of tranquility and happy that the situation has calmed down considerably in Maiduguri .
“Contrary to the image of rampant violence that has been painted to the whole world, we have discovered the people going about their businesses without let or hindrance. We wish to commend the efforts of our brother-Governors in the two (2) states (including Yobe) and the security agencies for the restoration of peace and stability.
“We also sympathise with the families of those who lost their lives and properties and wish to donate a sum of N200m to the two States Government for emergency relief and support.
“We wish to commend the Central Merger Committee of the APC on the progress so far made in the establishment of the new party, particularly the recent inauguration of three major committees on Constitutions, Manifesto and Legal/INEC Compliance.
“Finally, we wish to inform Nigerians that we shall soon embark on a National outreach and sensitisation activities and we call on all Nigerians to support our effort to rescue our country from a visionless leadership.
The governors sang solidarity songs to reaffirm their political struggles.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State explained that they were making individual contributions to help Borno and Yobe states to share in their pains and support their governments that are bearing so much burden, dealing with the crisis.
Aregbesola explained why the governors chose Maiduguri for the meeting.
He said they wanted to share in the pains of the people and prove that leadership is about courage and decisiveness.
He said: “There shouldn’t be a no-go-area for any leader that means well for his people.” Aregbesola said Maiduguri was “painted as a no-go-area, but they (the governors) have confirmed that things are different from what they are meant to look like.
Governor Rochas Okorocha praised Governor Shettima’s transformation efforts in Borno State.
Culled from The Nation