Dickson, who spoke at the weekend in Yenagoa, alluded to the fact that governors across party lines and across the 36 states of the federation were keeping in touch and proffering the best solution to the crisis.
Our Sources had exclusively reported that the NGF would be seeking a neutral chairman whereby Rivers State governor Rotimi Amaechi and Plateau State governor Jonah Jang will step down for a consensus chairman.
But the Bayelsa governor stated that the new NGF would be devoid of the ills of the past and purely concentrate on the ideals of the NGF.
Apparently reflecting the new mood over the tussle for the NGF chair between Amaechi and Jang, Dickson said: “We are putting our heads together, consulting across divides and, very soon, with the feelers that I have the misunderstanding will be resolved and NGF will be back.
“ But the NGF that will be back, I’m sure it’s an NGF that would have learnt its lessons — an NGF that would have learnt to stick to the founding principles of that organisation, which is a peer review mechanism, not a trade union, not a platform for personal political aggrandisement, not a platform for playing partisan politics.
“These are the guiding principles of the NGF. We are there actually to compare notes and also to be a platform for collaboration. It is not a political organisation; it is not a partisan organisation. It is a bipartisan or multi-partisan organisation that enables us to focus on what is the best, how we can deepen democracy and collaborate with the federal government on challenges of development, challenges of national security and so on.”
According to Dickson, it was unfortunate that, over the years, the NGF had been misconstrued to become an object of blackmail and tool for negotiating power at the centre, adding that the new NGF would be totally insulated from such scheming.
He said: “The problem didn’t start now. PDP governors, who became chairman of the Forum over the years, turned it to be a campaign platform – a platform for occupying national political space, a platform, when necessary, for promoting personal ambition; a platform also for promoting the ambitions of others. It didn’t start now, it didn’t start with Rivers State governor Rotimi Amaechi; even before him, that was the tradition. So there was the urge of the chairman of NGF to want to become the president or vice-president.
“Once an organisation of equals, a voluntary organisation of equals, starts on that note, things could fall apart and the centre may not be strong enough to hold. I think that was what happened basically.
“But, like I said, we are all not happy about what happened. We are all friends and colleagues and men of honour. We agree and disagree and I think very soon we will all come back to do the things we are supposed to do.”