On Friday May 24th, members of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) held an election to vote for a new chairman but rather than having a peaceful conduct, the outcome of that election was marred by crisis that left the forum in pieces.
Prior to this time, preparations for the election were characterized by controversy among interested parties, making it look like there is more to it. No doubt the road to 2015 presidential election was already being prepared and so there was need for preference in the choice of who becomes chairman of the NGF, and so the power tussle between the incumbent chairman Governor Rotimi Chubuike Amaechi of Rivers state and his perceived opposition President Goodluck Jonathan began.
Indeed the race has been bugged by intrigues, power play, pretense and betrayal as meeting agenda preparations to the election have changed severally. Simply put, it was an election that draws attention and generated interest from within and outside members of the forum.
Like a boxing match, interested parties armed themselves with political weapons and gimmicks, ready and determined to deal a deadly blow on their common opponent.
On that fateful day, the deal was done which saw the incumbent chairman Governor Rotimi Amaechi return on re-election; a position which was not welcomed by the other group led by Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State. Instead of accepting defeat they opted out to announce Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State as their chairman.
Now with all of these; the questions are; what is governors’ forum and what is it all about? Why is it generating so much heat and interest? Is there anything these governors are fighting for? Does it have anything to do with 2015 elections? Who is behind this fight? So many questions begging for answers.
Nigeria Governors’ Forum was established in 1999, primarily for the purpose of promoting unity, good governance, better understanding and co-operation among the states to ensure ahealthy and beneficial relationship between the states and other tiers of government, it is a non-partisan association but over time it has gradually grown to become the most powerful pressure group or political block in the country and consequently, its chairman is one of the nation’s most powerful men. The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) is a coalition of the elected governors of the country’s 36 states.
One would have expected that instead of these governors fighting politically, they should rather engage themselves in developmental strides; who does what more than who; how should others copy from those that have done well in their various states? Governors forum suppose to be like the EU, UN AU, ECOWAS and so on; where economic agendas are discussed but what do we see, the usual show of shame in political intrigues.
Since the history of the forum, the process of selecting a new leader has always being on consensus candidate agreed by majority in the forum; this was said by Governor Peter Obi of Anambra state in a media chat: “let me say that in the history of our forum, we have never had chairmanship election. It has always been through consensus, when we agree we agree.”
Investigation revealed that both Jang’s camp and Amaechi have hidden agenda. It is believed that Jang is working for Jonathan and Amaechi is working for his ambition in 2015 presidential elections.
On one hand, President Goodluck Jonathan has denied being involved in this gimmick, he said this through his spokesman Dr. Reuben Abati adding that he had no hand in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum chairmanship election. Not many would believe him. During that election, it was believed that the president and the PDP machinery were all behind the candidacy of late entry Jonah Jang of Plateau State.
On the other hand, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, may have resigned from active participation in PDP politics but Political watchers say he still command influence within the party, that he may have helped to steer things in favour of Amaechi. You will recall that the former president and the man he helped to power, President Jonathan, for some time now have not seen eye to eye. So the recent romance between Amaechi and Obasanjo could be seen beyond ordinal eyes.
What are the roles of opposition leaders like Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) in all of these? Are they fanning the embers of flame within the PDP-controlled NGF? The politics of the opposition parties have always been skewed against PDP and its interests. For the opposition, since PDP had openly declared support initially for Katsina State Governor Ibrahim Shema and later Jang, political correctness was rooting for Amaechi. And the Rivers State governor had earlier been alleged to be hobnobbing with the opposition merger group APC. Both Tinubu and Buhari helped to move the 11 opposition governors behind Amaechi and that was the block votes to needed to swing the pendulum to his side.
The creation of PDP governors forum; what is the intention of that forum, analysts believe that PDP governors forum was created to run paralled administration with NGF and perhaps to weakened the strength of the NGF. Apart from that, part of the perceived planned by Jonathan camp is to capture NGF or destroyed it, so PDP can solely controlled its machinery otherwise the governors alone.
Now the winner of NGF Governor Rotimi Amaechi has been suspended from PDP for alleged anti-party activities what follows? what about his allies; the likes of Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger, Isa Yuguda of Bauchi, Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed and Katsina State Governor Shema whose report has it that these men may have changed their minds during that election, will they still follow suit on this slake hammer? Can PDP afford losing four or five Governors? what is PDP chances in 2015? Is this beginning of the end of an era?
Indeed things are falling apart and it seems the centre may no longer hold!!!