The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum may not be over soon as 11 out of the 23 governors of the party failed to attend its meeting in Abuja on Wednesday night.
The meeting, which was initially slated for 3pm, had to be shifted to 8pm when information got to its organisers that majority of the governors might not attend.
At 8pm, the National Chairman of the party, Dr. Bamanga Tukur, who was also at the Akwa Ibom State Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro District, Abuja, had to leave due to poor attendance by the governors.
Tukur was said to have come with the intention of briefing the governors on the modalities he had considered before naming members of the party’s National Reconciliation Committee.
The majority of the governors and other stakeholders were said to have rejected the appointment of the Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Seriake Dickson, as the chairman of the committee.
Apart from coming from the same state as President Goodluck Jonathan, Dickson is seen as part of the problems rocking the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the PDP. Dickson openly supports the Governor of Plateau State, Mr. Jonah Jang, who was defeated by Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State during the forum’s election on May 24. Amaechi won 19 votes and Jang, 16 votes.
Shortly after the meeting ended, our correspondent gathered from a top member of the PDP that the Bayelsa governor had indicated his readiness to reject the appointment.
The governors that boycotted the meeting were those of Kano, Jigawa, Adamawa, Niger, Sokoto, Taraba, Rivers, Cross River , Ebonyi, Bauchi and Kebbi.
The meeting was however attended by Dickson and his counterparts in Delta, Benue, Kogi, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Katisna and Abia states. Governors of Kaduna, Kwara, Plateau and Gombe states sent their deputies.
Apart from the reconciliation matter, other issues on the agenda at the meeting were the forthcoming national convention of the party and the November 16 governorship election in Anambra State.
At the end of the meeting, Akwa Ibom State Governor and Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Chief Godswill Akpabio, said the meeting deliberated on issues like the convention and the crisis in the Rivers State House of Assembly.
Akpabio said the governors would support Tukur by mobilising delegates for the convention.
Describing what happened in the Rivers State House of Assembly as “unfortunate,” he appealed to “the two warring groups to sheathe their swords and allow peace to reign.”
He said the next meeting of the PDP GF would hold in Bayelsa State.
Akpabio said that the governors decided to rotate their meetings in order to learn from themselves.
He attributed the poor attendance recorded at the meeting to late information sent to the governors, adding that the meeting was an emergency one.
At the end of the meeting, the governors went to the Presidential Villa to confer with President Goodluck Jonathan.
Meanwhile, a top PDP source close to the governors’ forum, said that Dickson told his colleagues that he was not consulted before his name was announced as the reconciliation committee chairman.
His appointment was announced in Abuja by the Acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Tony Okeke, on behalf of the members of the National Working Committee of the party.
Since the announcement, some of the governors had secretly condemned it, saying that was part of the problem confronting the party.
Besides, the critics of the appointment also said that there was no way the governor could carry out the assignment without being partial because of his closeness to Jonathan.
At the meeting, Dickson was said to have been asked if he would be able to do the assignment considering the barrage of opposition against his appointment.He was said to have told his colleagues that he was not ready for it.
“We were surprised to hear that. He said he was rejecting it and that was why we said we were going to the Presidential Villa to see the President,” our source added.
The rejection, it was gathered, would be discussed with Jonathan with a view to finding someone else to replace him.
If this could be done last night, the inauguration of the 30-member truce committee would still hold in Abuja on Thursday(today).
“But if we are unable to do that (find a replacement), then the event would be shifted to another date”, the source added.