FACEOFF: Rivers, Plateau PDP Chairmen Debate Controversial NGF Election

The recent election of the leadership of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) is generating a lot of dust not unlike what has been. Any time the group, calling itself a peer review mechanism, ventured into a situation in the country there is almost always a level of dust rising. Now more than before, the NGF appears ruffled and divided over who is the right leader.

The Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi was last Friday re-elected as the Chairman of the NGF. Official results of the elections indicated Mr. Amaechi won the election by 19 to 16 votes to defeat his challenger, Jonah Jang of Plateau.

Shortly after the announcement of the result of the elections, the Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom addressed reporters rejecting the result, with the allegation that the election was rigged.

He claimed the ballot papers were not serialized and that Mr. Amaechi did not step down prior to the election.

Governor Jang further claimed he won the election in a press conference where he thanked his colleagues for the confidence reposed in him to serve them as the leader of NGF asking that every matter concerning the forum should henceforth be referred to him as the Chairman.

Debating the controversial election on Channels Television’s programme, Faceoff, the Rivers State PDP Chairman, Eric Appiah and his counterpart from Plateau, Haruna Dabin defended the roles their governors played in the NGF crisis.

Former Rivers Commissioner Calls Amaechi A Dictator

A lawyer and former Rivers State Commissioner of Information, Emmanuel Okah has described the leadership style of Governor Chibuike Amaechi as suppressive and dictatorial.

Mr Okah, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said Mr Amaechi runs the affairs of Rivers state as though it was a one man business.

He said the governor determines “who becomes Chairman; he determines who becomes the Secretary; he determines who becomes a Councillor; he determines who goes to the House; he determines who goes to the Senate.”

The former Commissioner accused Governor Amaechi of using his office to persecute anyone who challenges the decisions of his administration.

He said for merely going to court to challenge the election of Godspowe Akeh, who is loyal to Governor Amaechi , as the chairman of the Rivers state executive organ of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the governor revoked the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) of the petitioner, Felix Obuah’s hotel in Omoku.

Governor Amaechi suffered a great political setback last month as the Rivers state chapter of the PDP executive led by Mr Akeh was sacked by an Abuja High court presided over by Justice Ishaq Bello.

Justice Bello approved the election of the faction loyal to the Minister of State for Education, Nyson Wike led by Mr Obuah and the entire members of the factional executive.