By Danlami Nmodu
Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has been reelected as the chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum.He won 19 votes to defeat Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau state who secured 16 votes.
Amaechi’s victory will be seen as a major setback for President Goodluck Jonathan who has been allegedly behind plots to stop Amaechi’s reelection.The presidency always denied any quarrel between the two .But the election of Gov. Godswill Akpabio as chairman of a new fangled PDP Governor’s Forum chairman at a PDP meeting in the presidential villa gave vent to allegations of a plot to stop Amaechi.
All along, it was Governor Ibrahim Shema that was thought to be the choice of the presidency for the NGF Forum chairman ; but that changed all of a sudden as reports said Isa Yuguda of Bauchi state had of late been urged to also run.But Shema refused to step down.That was the first clear hint of trouble within the pro-Jonathan camp.While PDP’s house appeared divided, some opposition party governors remained resolutely behind Amaechi.Equally some PDP governors too believe Amaechi should be allowed to return and assert the Forum’s independence.
Even some northern governors were solidly behind Amaechi.But it appears they came under pressure to dump the Rivers state governor,since the two main contenders were from the north.
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That is why prior to the meeting of the NGF meeting today in Abuja, the Northern Governors’ Forum held a meeting also in Abuja.Newsdiaryonline.com was told that the northern governors’ meeting was meant to decide which of the two candidates for chairmanship of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum they should support.
The northern governors tried to broker a consensus .But the meeting of the Northern Governors did not produce a consensus out of either Governor Shema of Katsina state or Governor Yuguda of Bauchi state,who are both known to be close to Jonathan.
Shema failed to allow Yuguda run when the governors put the question to him.Asked why not allow Yuguda run, Shema according to a source said, no.When Yuguda too was asked to allow Shema run, Yuguda said no.Thus there was a stalemate which compelled the northern governors to go for a consensus candidate.
In the final analysis, Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State was endorsed as the candidate of the Northern Governors’ Forum ahead of the meeting of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum meeting.Jang is seen to be pro-Jonathan too.
Though the Northern anointed a pro-Jonathan candidate, the NGF voted for Amaechi in what is interpreted as defeat for Jonathan.But the lack of unity among the pro-Jonathan camp may be the undoing of their battle to oust Amaechi.
The Rivers State Governor is accused of plotting to run for the presidency as a running mate of a northern presidential candidate. Ever since, he came under intense pressure from loyalists of Jonathan who believe Jonathan must also run in 2015.
But Akpabio later addressed journalists where he claimed that Amaechi’s election was a sham.Jang also declared himself the winner and by extension the new chairman.