Governor Isa Yuguda
Chuks Okocha â€¨
Horse trading over who would become the next chairman of Nigerian Governors' Forum (NGF) continued as the Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda; Rivers State Governor and Chairman of the NGF, Chibuike Amaechi; and Akwa Ibom State Governor and Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum (PDP-GF), Godswill Akpabio, held a meeting with the former chairman of the NGF, Senator Bukola Saraki Tuesday in Abuja.
Though details of the meeting between Amaechi, Akpabio, Yuguda and Saraki were not disclosed, THISDAY learnt that it was aimed at reaching a compromise on the leadership crisis rocking the NGF.
Saraki, a former governor of Kwara State, is by the NGF constitution, a trustee of the forum.
President Goodluck Jonathan had met with some select governors across party lines on Sunday night and convinced them on the need to decide on a consensus candidate who shall be presented at the NGF meeting tonight as Amaechi’s replacement.
Speculations have been rife that the president would want the Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema to supplant Amaechi as the new chairman of the NGF, but a reliable source had informed THISDAY that Jonathan is not as fastidious as to who emerges as long as it is not Amaechi.
The president, the source said, had impressed it on them that Amaechi had to be replaced, as his loyalty to the party could no longer be guaranteed.
But most of the governors, it was gathered, are favourably disposed to Amaechi’s re-election since the election would be held through a secret ballot.
The governors, it was gathered, are protesting intrusion of the presidency in a matter that concerns them.
Meanwhile, it was an anti-climax yesterday as the 14 governors who met under the auspices of the PDP-GF, kept silent on the quest for a consensus candidate who will be presented during the NGF chairmanship election slated for next month.
Rather, the chairman of the PDP-GF Governor Godswill Akpabio, told journalists that the governors discussed only issues on the PDP South-west crisis and the present security challenges in the country.
According to him, the meeting discussed the report of the Shema Committee on the South-west Crisis and expressed optimism that the crisis will soon be over.
Akpabio also said the governors discussed the report of the Governor Murtala Nyako Committee that discussed the security situations in the country.
The governor said the report was in synergy with the amnesty committee set up by the federal government.
He also said the PDP governors discussed the welfare of the ruling party and how to increase the number of states to be won by 2015.
The governors left the Akwa Ibom State Governor’s Lodge for the NGF meeting at the Rivers State governor' lodge, in Asokoro, Abuja.
Some of the PDP governors wore long faces and were in no mood to respond to question after the meeting, giving the impression that they had something to hide over what had transpired behind closed doors.
The governors in attendance included Martin Elechi (Ebonyi), Nyako (Adamawa), Usman Dakingari (Kebbi), Yuguda (Bauchi), Amaechi (Rivers), Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Emmanuel Udughan (Delta), Jonah Jang (Plateau), Shema (Katsina), Idris Wada (Kogi) and Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Babangida Aliyu (Niger) and Gabriel Suswam (Benue). Abia State was represented by the deputy governor.
It was also gathered that the PDP governors, after the NGF meeting, were expected to meet Jonathan last night for another meeting.
The three meetings held yesterday would be followed by a meeting of the Northern Governors' Forum today at the Niger State Governor's Lodge in Abuja.