By Ismaila Chafe, Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State on his election as President of the Forum of Regions of Africa (FORAF), in his capacity as Chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).
The election was held after a conference in Casablanca region, Morocco, at the weekend.
The president expressed the felicitation when he received a delegation made up of Fayemi, Gov Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State and Gov Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State at the State House on Monday.
He said: “In spite of the security challenges we have, it is good to see that other countries still believe in our potentialities. Congratulations for doing justice to Nigeria. We thank you.”
Buhari also thanked all other countries that queued behind Nigeria to elect the FORAF president, noting that it was a good show of brotherhood and solidarity.
Gov. Sule said that the conference was well-attended by governors and participants from about 22 African countries, where regional issues were discussed.
He said that Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) were also signed on different areas like agriculture, mining, education and scholarships, among others.
He added that while Nigeria, from West Africa, clinched the presidency, FORAF’s vice-presidents emerged from South Africa, for Southern Africa; Kenya, for East Africa; Morocco for Northern Africa; and Cameroon for Central Africa.
Fayemi, who will relinquish FORAF’s presidency to the next NGF president at the expiration of his tenure in office, said that the idea of FORAF was for sub-nationals to become engines of growth “and reduce pressure on central governments.”
He added that FORAF was a unifying force for states (called regions, counties or provinces in other countries) “to create a globally respected continent”.
Fayemi maintained that Nigeria’s election was a testimony to “the huge respect President Buhari enjoys in Africa.
“Other countries simply withdrew their bids, once they saw that Nigeria was interested in the position.”