‘Full-Scale War’ :Jonathan threatens to Withhold Funds from States Over Amaechi
Even without a whiff of the intrigues behind –the- scenes, those watching the unfolding events within the ruling party,PDP in the last couple of weeks can discern some desperation.Insiders said the story of the plot by President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP to remove Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi as chairman of the Nigeria GovernorS’Forum has been a cloak –and- dagger affair.
An attempt to remove Amaechi at the penultimate meeting was aborted .That made the presidency even more desperate.Next was the deliberate attempt to break the governors’ forum as PDP governors were summoned to Abuja for a meeting in the villa.A source told Newsdiaryonline.com that some intriguing events preceded the creation of a splinter group now known as the PDP Governors’ Forum:
Jonathan took unusual steps .He made personal calls, he worked the phones and he spoke directly to the governors.He used all tricks including blackmail, threats and intimidation. He threatened to withhold excess crude fund and that he may not sign the budget if Amaechi emerges as chairman of the Governors Forum .After the NGF postponed the election of chairman and with a looming confrontation with the national assembly,Jonathan backed down and he has signed the 2013 budget though .But the governors who received the threat directly from the president are said to be in shock.
The plot to stop Amaechi was why the president rallied PDP governors behind him a last Sunday.Yet another interesting revelation from an informed source was that there was an attempt to exclude Amaechi from the PDP governors’ meeting in the Villa.He got to know and made inquiries ,and sensing that the attempt to shut him out had failed, he was eventually allowed to attend.
Newsdiaryonline.com learnt that Jonathan made it clear that the plot to stop Amaechi was like a full scale war which he is not prepared to lose. Sources said the president has gone to great lengths to outline Amaechi’s sins.
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He told the governors he spoke with that Amaechi is fighting him and he allegedly tried to show evidence.One such evidence the president bandies is that “Amaechi was abusing him in Calabar during a retreat for the Rivers State lawmakers in the heat of the Soku Oil controversy” a source said.
The president also convinced his allies in the PDP that there was the need to form a PDPGF because nobody replies the opposition when they attack PDP.It was against this background that the president succeeded in creating a splinter group,PDPGF to battle Amaechi to the finish.
Newsdiaryonline.com learnt that having succeeded in creating the splinter group and with the emergence of Governor Godswill Akpabio as the PDPGF chairman, Jonathan and his allies had really hoped that the removal of Amaechi as chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum on Monday evening would be the icing on the cake.But the intrigues did not work out according to their plans.
Actually, they expected a victory on Monday.And their preferred successor to Amaechi is Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina state,it was learnt.But there were other candidates on the ballot for the chair such as Gov Theodore Orji of Abia state, Gabriel Suswam of Benue State, Jonah Jang of Plateau State.
They had come for the meeting hoping to get 19 votes .Aside from that ,they also allegedly had a document and got people to be signing something.But Newsdiaryonline.com could not confirm the content of the document.
As soon as it became clear that Jonathan will be defeated if the votes were taken, agitation for postponement started.Even some of Amaechi’s supporters among the governors also canvassed for postponement.One source noted that Amaechi seemed to be prepared for the election.
Some governors were overhead whispering to one another that if Amaechi defeats the president,”he will deny us funds from the excess crude account, he will not sign the budget”one source recalled.And it became quite clear that Jonathan has indeed drawn a battle line.He sees this as a do-or die affair.
Sympathizers of Amaechi in the governors’ forum keep wondering why the president has gone this far.The president has refused to believe that Amaechi not vying for any position in 2015
Despite What Amaechi’s supporters may claim,Jonathan’s mind appears made up about the need to flush out the governor as NGF Chairman.It was learnt that the presidency resorted to this tactics of tackling the River State Governor after attempts to use the courts to remove him from office as governor appears to be so far, unsuccessful.
Newsdiaryonline.com had also reported that just as Jonathan tried to lobby governors, Amaechi too has his core supporters from among his northern colleagues.Governors Babangida Aliyu of Niger State ,Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano and Sule Lamido of Jigawa are said to be leading the pro-Amaechi coalition.
But rhere appears to be danger still in the horizon for Amaechi.Newsdiaryonline .com has learnt that the presidency may be working on a plan B henceforth.Sources say, the president’s handlers are toying with the option of breaking the ranks of Amaechi’s men ;and the plan any time soon is to offer the post of NGF Chairman to Babangida Aliyu ,who is currently the chairman of Northern Governors’ Forum.Those close to Aliyu however suggest that the plan may be dead on arrival as he and his colleagues are determined not to abandon Amaechi at this crucial time.