Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State has asked the promoters of a weeklong retreat scheduled to hold in Dubai for governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to shelve the idea.
Dankwambo, who is the acting Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, gave the directive at a meeting he had in Abuja on Tuesday with those planning the retreat.
The proposed retreat with the theme, ‘Getting ready for the task ahead,’ was meant to be an induction and investment retreat for the recently elected governors of the party.
It was meant to hold between May 16 and 22.
However, at the Abuja meeting, Dankwambo was said to have expressed reservation about the timing of the retreat and the negative comments that would follow it, especially now that he was said to have told his guests that the country was having security challenges.
The meeting was said to have been attended by four officials of the PDP Governors’ Forum.
The Punch learnt that though Dankwambo expressed support for the retreat, he said the timing was wrong.
“The governor said it is a good idea, but complained about the timing and that it must either be shelved or postponed due to the security challenges facing the country.
“He even said he could still attend as a facilitator if it would hold after he must have handed over later this month,” a source at the meeting said.
Acting Secretary of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Adekunle Adebanjo, confirmed that the secretariat of the forum was behind the planned retreat.
He said the idea behind it was to gather the newly-elected governors in a single place where he said they would be able to interact with investors.
He said, “The retreat programme is actually being organised by the PDP Governors’ Forum secretariat.
“The idea is to make sure that the governors have access to investors at a strategic place. We want to put the governors together in one place and have the rare opportunity to meet with the foreign investors.”
Asked why the secretariat chose Dubai, Adebanjo said, “It is the closest investor-friendly nation to Nigeria and we are working with the Ministry of Commerce in Dubai on the issue.
“If we chose Nigeria, we may not get enough investors to come. We are likely going to have about 500 investors that would be talking to the governors.
“It is a strategic event to make sure that we move forward. We cannot sit back and say the investors should come to Nigeria. We want to reduce their spending by going to them.
“We have met with Governor Dankwambo on the preparation. But he said the retreat is not right now given the security situation in the country.
“He even said he would be willing to participate in the programme and that we should postpone it. We have done that.”
Adebanjo, however, said there was no assurance of attendance yet from any of the governors.
“We have not received any official confirmation of attendance from any of the governors.
“We want it to hold before inauguration; that is why we chose the theme as ‘getting ready for the task ahead,’” he said.
It was gathered that the governors may meet on May 21 to take a stand on the retreat.