NGF: Amaechi, Jang May Be Asked To Step Down
THERE are indications that the two factional chairmen of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Rivers State’s Rotimi Amaechi and Plateau’s Jonah Jang, may be asked to step down for a neutral governor as part of moves to resolve the lingering NGF crisis.
The PUNCH learnt on Tuesday that this was one of the decisions reached at a meeting between ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Peoples Democratic Party governors on Monday night.
Both Amaechi and Jang attended the meeting which was held inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Chairman of the party, Bamanga Tukur, were not at the meeting which lasted till 11pm.
All the PDP governors, except the Governor of Bauchi State, Mallam Isa Yuguda, were in attendance.
A governor, who was at the meeting, said the governors were frank in their submissions while Obasanjo, who presided over the meeting, was said to have listened attentively.
First to be raised was the issue of the chairmanship of the NGF, which the majority of the governors said ought to be decided by the ruling party.
The governors who backed Jang during the election reportedly argued that it would be better to obey party’s directive and instructions on any issue while some of the state chief executives suggested that both Amaechi and Jang should step down to pave the way for the emergence of a neutral person to chair the forum.
The governor who briefed our correspondents said, “Some of us felt that we should not allow the opposition to determine who leads us anywhere the party has majority.
“We cited the case of the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, which was taken away from the party’s choice because of the connivance of the opposition.
“We said we should be seen to be one and that this was the only way there would be cohesion and discipline in the party.
“What we want is peace and some of us argued that it could only be achieved if the two men (Jang and Amaechi) step down. That is why we asked them to consider that in the interest of the party.”
“The Governor of Adamawa State, Admiral Murtala Nyako, has been asked to work on that by speaking with the two parties in the NGF matter.”
The governors were also said to have told Obasanjo that no one should be given automatic ticket during the 2015 elections.
“We argued that after all, Obasanjo himself contested the presidential primary with other people in 2003. So, why should we be talking about automatic ticket now,” the source added.
The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, said the meeting with Obasanjo was part of the process of rebuilding the party and ensuring total reconciliation.
Akpabio, who is the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, spoke with State House correspondents on Tuesday shortly after a meeting with Jonathan in his office.
He said that he was convinced that the NGF factions would be reunited at the end of the exercise, stressing that all the steps being taken so far by the party leaders were meant to ensure cohesion and bring back all the party faithful.
Though Akpabio said he was at the Villa to give the President a progress report on the preparations for the PDP national convention, our correspondents learnt that the Akwa Ibom governor on Tuesday briefed Jonathan on the outcome of the Monday’s meeting between the governors and Obasanjo.
He said, “I have just met with the President to report on the progress we are making towards the South-West congress that is coming up on August 24 and also the national convention that is coming up on the August 31 and you know I am a member of the planning committee.
“I am the chairman of the finance committee and by 3pm this afternoon (Tuesday), the entire finance committee will be meeting so that tomorrow (Wednesday), we report to the entire body of the National Planning Committee towards a hitch-free congress in the South-West and national convention.
“The meeting with Obasanjo was part of the processes of rebuilding the party and ensuring total reconciliation.
“All the steps being taken at the moment are steps in the right direction to ensure cohesion and bring back all the party faithful, particularly the body of governors will come together to work as one for the interest of Nigeria and the interest of the PDP.”
When asked whether the meeting with Obasanjo had succeeded in calming the nerves of the five aggrieved Northern governors, Akpabio said he was not aware that any governor in the party’s fold was aggrieved.
He said he was aware that all the PDP governors were working towards the success of the party.