A public Affairs analyst, Katch Ononuju has said that other members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) have abandoned the Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi and purported winner of the forum’s chairmanship election.
Mr Ononuju, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, quoted a local newspaper where the All Progressives Congress (APC) was reported to have confessed with Governor Amaechi to use the NGF election to ‘disgrace’ President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
He said when Governor Amaechi called a meeting yesterday (Tuesday), “nobody is with him. All those people you said voted or not voted when Governor Jang called his meeting, they are there.”
There has been intense scheming in the NGF, an association composed of the 36 governors in Nigeria, after its election for a new chairman. The Director General of the governors forum, who served as the returning officer at the election had announced that Governor Amaechi polled 19 of the 35 votes casted while his only opponents and Plateau state Governor, Jonah Jang polled 16 votes.
Anticipating there might be controversies from the election, the Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola had secretly taped the voting and counting process – a short video clip already being circulated online.
In Mr Ononuju’s opinion, the video was doctored and may not represent what really happened in the conference room of the Rivers State Governor’s Lodge, Abuja, venue of the controversial election.
The analyst said the action of Mr Amaechi, who has vowed not to step aside for Mr Jang is disrespectful to the PDP.
“The PDP has found that it has within its rank members who have now turned themselves into rogue agents. These rogue agents like a virus beginning to affect the body of the party so the party moves to bring discipline. If it does not discipline these people who have now gone rogue, they might infect the body of the party,” Mr Ononuju said.
He said the PDP sees Governor Amaechi as a rogue agent who has “gone to contest; has gone to play a play with the opposition in a way other than the way mandated by the party because the party brought out Governor Jang as the consensus candidate he (Amaechi) now seems to be sponsored by the opposition.”
Not PDP Affairs
Joining the conversation on a telephone from Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, a lawyer and member of the PDP, Harvey Ideozu said whatever happens in the NGF is not a business of the PDP.
“The Nigeria Governors Forum is not an organ of the PDP neither is it a public office,” he said.
Contradicting Mr Ononuju’s earlier position of the PDP preferring Governor Jang as Chairman of the governors’ forum, Mr Ideozu said there is no provision in the party’s constitution for nominating persons interested in contesting for the chairmanship of the NGF.
He said, “There is no organ of the PDP that has said the election in the governors’ forum should be conducted in a particular manner or that any particular candidate should run or should not run.
“What we find now is that we are in a dangerous situation where it is possible that certain individual are manipulating the party and using the name of the party to force their personal position.”
According to the lawyer, the agreement to appoint a Chairman by consensus was not a general position reached by the NGF as a whole but by a faction of the body.
PDP Governors’ Forum
Mr Ideozu said the formation of the PDP Governors Forum chaired by the Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio is “clearly in breach of article 21.1j of the PDP constitution which prohibits the formation of any body under the guise of the party.”
While prescribing sanction for members found to belong to bodies under the guise of the PDP, Mr Ideozu said the PDP governors are allowed to form any association but should not label it PDP Governors forum.
“Any member of the party will be disciplined that belongs to any group under the guise of the party,” he said.
Article 21.1j of the PDP constitution holds that “subject to the provisions of this constitution, the party shall have power to discipline member who promotes factions or belongs to any group under guise of the party and by whatever name called not being one provided for in this constitution.”
Watch the complete interview with Messrs Ononuju and Ideozu in the video below: