Governor Rotimi Amaechi
By Chuks Okocha
Two meetings of the governors of the 36 states of the federation and 23 governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will take place today.
The meeting of the governors on the platform of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) will take place first to discuss issues on the constitution amendment and the litigation, which the governors instituted against the Federal Government over the continued withdrawals by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from the Federation Account.
In the same vein, the governors elected on the platform of PDP will also meet today, where they may commence the compilation of signatures of members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) to convene the next National Executive Council (NEC) meeting. The NEC meeting, which is expected to hold every quarter, has not been held since July 2012.
The Federal Government had asked for an out of court settlement with the governors over the litigation against the withdrawals by NNPC, but there was no agreement reached; hence, the meeting today, which is expected to direct the governors’ lawyers to continue with the suit against the Federal Government.
Also, the governors will discuss the report of the constitution amendment committee on local government autonomy and demand for amendment to the revenue allocation formula.
Other items to be discussed at the meeting which would hold in the night, include, “meeting with the World Bank Vice-President, 1999 Constitution (review of proposed amendments)-feedback from consultations.
THISDAY gathered that the security situation in the country also remains tops at the meeting of the governors.
According to a statement by the Director General of the NGF, Mr. Asishana Okauru, other issues contained in the agenda include; update on the peer review exercise, review of polio eradication initiative; update on security challenges, committees in retrospect, formulating a 2013 agenda, priority issues, funding implications and budget.
After the meeting, the PDP governors will meet to discuss issues affecting the party.
THISDAY gathered that after the main governors’ meeting, that governors elected on the platform of the PDP will hold its meeting to discuss issues affecting the party, especially the inability of the Bamanga Tukur-led National Working Committee (NWC) to hold a NEC to discuss the crisis affecting the party.
Already, it was gathered that the Chairman of the PDP governors, Rotimi Amaechi, who is also the Governor of Rivers State had in a meeting with Tukur insisted that the NEC meeting should take place as soon as possible.
At the meeting which took place at the residence of Tukur in Wuse 2 in Abuja with the former deputy senate president, Ibrahim Mantu, in attendance, Amaechi insisted that the only way to resolve the crisis affecting the party, especially the Adamawa State PDP would be by holding NEC meeting.
The governor, THISDAY was told, warned that the earlier the NEC meeting is convened the better for the party. A source said it would not be out of place that the PDP governors will give a deadline for the NEC meeting to be summoned or commence the collection of signatures from the members of NEC to convene an emergency NEC meeting.
The PDP constitution stipulated that an emergency NEC meeting could be summoned with a two third signatories of NEC members.
Also, the PDP governors will discuss the accusation levelled against them, that they are threats to democracy and that their actions constitute a destabilisation act against democracy. Elder statesman and former minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark, had last week accused the governors of being agents of instability.
Clark had last week accused the PDP governors of over bearing influence.
He said: “The over-bearing influence of the Governors Forum in the polity has become a matter of serious concern. The activities of the PDP Governors Forum in particular has become very disturbing and calls for urgent correction as it is fast eroding the authority and the supremacy of the party and posing a serious threat to our democracy. The Forum has become a powerful tool in the hands of the Governors who now use it to pursue and promote their individual and collective interests with little or no regard to the letter and spirit of the Party’s Constitution and supremacy.”
According to a governor from the northwest, there is the belief that Clark has the mandate of President Jonathan to castigate them and therefore will demand an apology from Clark, as his accusation against the governors was over exaggerated.
It was also gathered that on the heels of the PDP governors’ meeting, Tukur too is expected to hold a private meeting with all the deputies to the members of the NWC. Except the Deputy National Chairman and Secretary who are member of the NWC, all other deputies to wit, the deputy national organising secretary, deputy national treasurer, deputy national auditor, deputy national youth leader, deputy national woman leader, deputy national financial secretary are not members of the NWC.
The meeting is expected to hold at Tukur’s residence in Wuse 2 by 8 p.m. This meeting is in continuation of an earlier one the deputies with President Jonathan in December 2012, where they complained of being sidelined with no allowance.
It was agreed after the meeting that they should be placed on a monthly allowance of N350,000 per month, since Tukur was on a monthly salary of N2 million, the deputy national chairman on a monthly salary of N1.7 million and the national secretary on a monthly salary of N1.5 million. Other members of the NWC were placed on a monthly salary of N1.2 million per month.