The Director General of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) Asishana B Okauru, Esq. and his team are working tirelessly to maintain the vision of the NGF. The seasoned administrator has worked at Arthur Andersen & Co., Nigeria as Management trainee and later at IBM at the Research Triangle Park, NC, USA first as an Operations Analyst and later as an e-Business Analyst. He was with the Nigeria Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) between 2003 and 2009. He left the organization as the Director of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).
Since he joined NGF, he has upheld high ethical standards he acquired from his previous services both at home and abroad. With his able lieutenants the organization has been able to maintain cordial relationship with the governors of the forum.
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) is a coalition of the elected Governors of the country’s 36 States. It is a non-partisan association which seeks to promote unity, good governance, better understanding and co-operation among the States and ensure a healthy and beneficial relationship between the States and other tiers of government.
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum was established in 1999 following a multi-party conference of all the 36 democratically elected State Governors. The Nigeria Governors’ Forum is registered under Part C of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, (CAMA), 1990, and also draws its legality from Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The forum has maintained a high level of achievement since inception in the following ways;
– The Nigeria Governors’ Forum was instrumental in facilitating the release of excess crude funds (from Paris Club debts) to the States in 2008. The funds have been distributed several times since then to augment the income accruable to States for development purposes.
– The NGF in collaboration with the Forum of Federations (an international agency that promotes federalism) and the Federal Ministry of Finance, organised seminars on fiscal federalism in Nigeria. The first one took place in 2008 and the second in 2009. The seminars sought to place more focus on the economic relationship between the State and federal levels of government, with special emphasis on fiscal federalism.
– Following the mandate of the National Economic Council (NEC) on the Secretariat to develop a State Peer Review Mechanism (SPRM), the NGF Secretariat (NGFS) embarked on an assessment of developed projects in the States in early 2009 and 2010. This provided an opportunity for the States to showcase their achievements as well as their areas of challenges.Consequently, the NGFS in collaboration with the UK Department for International Development (DFID) through its State Partnership for Accountability, Responsiveness and Capability (SPARC) programme, developed a comprehensive set of benchmarks and indicators and adopted a systematic and robust Peer Review process.With support from DFID-SPARC, the NGFS has appointed a Programme coordinator for the SPRM.
– The Forum signed an MoU with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in February 2009 demonstrating its commitment to eradicating polio in Nigeria through concerted efforts. Following the implementation of the MoU, a 98% decline in polio cases was recorded by 2010. To completely eradicate polio in Nigeria, the Forum adopted a common date in 2009 in which they participated in the polio eradication campaign. As a mark of further commitment to this initiative, The Forum resolved to recognise one day in every quarter of the year to hold a sensitisation campaign in all the States to raise the level of awareness.
– The NGFS has developed a strong collaboration with the National Governors Association (NGA) Washington DC, the United States equivalent of the NGF.
– The Secretariat opened up relationships with a number of stakeholders including MDAs such as Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) office, Education Trust Fund (ETF), Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) etc. and Development Partners such as, World Bank, UK Department for International Development (DFID), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, George Town Consultancy South Africa, George Town University USA.
– The UNDP is partnering with the NGF in holding series of workshops across the six geo-political zones; to sensitise the States and other stakeholders on the 2009 National Human Development Report (NHDR) published by the UNDP. The first two of the series were held in Minna, Niger State and Port Harcourt, Rivers State (November, 2010).
– With the assistance of DFID, the NGFS developed a 3-year Strategic Plan (2013-2015), to guide the Forum’s activities. The Strategic Plan was launched on February 8th, 2011. To build on the successes and lessons learned during the implementation period, the plan is now under review, and a new one is being developed for 2012 – 2015.
– The Forum intervened in the lingering Jos Crisis by setting up a standing committee to review the immediate and remote causes of the crisis and identify solutions.
– Following the passage of the Fiscal Responsibility and Public Procurement Acts in 2007, the Forum constituted a committee of Attorneys-General of States to examine the bills as a prelude to passing their state equivalent. As a result of the interest of development partners and other stakeholders in the implementation of this bill, a multilateral MoU was signed between the NGF Secretariat and Africa Development Bank (AFDB), Agency for Development (AFD), EU, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Japanese International Corporation (JICA), UK Department for International Development (DFID), United State Agency for International Development (USAID) World Bank in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Finance and the Debt Management Office (DMO) to facilitate cooperation with the States in the implementation of the bill.
– In response to the burning issues surrounding electoral reforms, NGF constituted a sub-committee to look into these issues and also liaise with the National Assembly to resolve any controversies in the reform.
– In a bid to entrench a culture of free, fair and transparent elections in the country, members of the Forum pledged to a free, fair and credible election in the 2011 General Elections.