Akpabio defends governors’ forum
Chuks Okocha and Okon Bassey
The crisis of confidence between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and governors elected on the party’s platform took on a new dimension Monday as party chairmen from the 37 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) joined the fray.
Tukur and the governors have been locked in a prolonged battle of wit over the leadership of the Adamawa State chapter of the PDP with the governors backing a faction of the party led by Alhaji Mijinjiwa Kaugama, who heads the group of officials loyal to the state Governor, Alhaji Murtala Nyako.
Tukur, on his part, backed another faction led by Ambassador Umar Damagum, who chaired the caretaker committee that conducted local government and ward congresses in the state that produced Chief Joel Madaki, as the state chairman of the party.
Twenty, three governors of the party had two weeks ago at a meeting presided over by Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State, recognised the Kaugama-led faction.
They also said they supported the resolution of the 10 members of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) that dissolved the Damagum caretaker committee.
One of the governors, Chief Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State also yesterday warned against the criticism of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) by some eminent Nigerians.
However, the chairmen, in a communiqué issued yesterday after a meeting held in Abuja last Thursday, supported the governors’ position that Kaugama, not Madaki, is the chairman of the party in Adamawa State.
At the meeting, presided over by the Benue State PDP chairman, Dr. Emmanuel Agboh, who chairs the PDP State Chairmen’s Forum, the party chairmen said they would recognise only the Kaugama-led PDP in Adamawa State.
The communiqué signed by Agboh and the Secretary, Makunjuola Ogundipe, said: ”The conference expressed delight on the development in Adamawa State which saw to the re-instatement of the Kaugama-led executive and appealed for continued fraternity on the part of members so as to further enhance the party’s internal cohesion.”
One of the party chairmen told THISDAY that the forum was not aware of the various congresses in Adamawa State that produced the Madaki executive.
He said: “I don’t understand the hue and cry over Kaugama heading PDP in Adamawa State. His election was confirmed at the March 2008 national convention and again, he was reconfirmed in the March 24, 2012 national convention. All the delegates from the state were admitted into the national convention. So, what else is outstanding?
“He attended the PDP chairmen’s conference and we recognised him as the state chairman. We are not aware of the Joel Madaki group and he is not one of us and therefore, we are not aware of any congress election that took place.
“Moreover, our governors that are the leaders of the party in the respective states have spoken and we are supporting their position that the state executive of the party is the one led by Kaugama. As chairman of the party in the states, we are expressing delight at the position taken by the governors of the party and that is why we are expressing our support.”
Also, the forum set up a committee to ensure reconciliation between the national leadership of the party and the governors, as well as the presidency.
In another development, the PDP yesterday lauded its victory in Gaya and Garko Local Government Areas of the where bye-elections were held last weekend.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, said in a statement in Abuja that the victory was a sign that PDP could still defeat opposition parties despite their alliance.
“The sweeping victory in the two bye elections is a clear indication that the people still have faith in the PDP. It shows that the PDP is still the most popular party among Nigerians despite the much touted alliance and mega party.
“The results of the bye-elections show that the PDP won over 80 percent of the total votes in the two areas respectively leaving the other parties to collectively scramble for the remaining 20 percent. It shows that the PDP is still the party to beat,” he said.
Meanwhile, Akwa Ibom State governor has described as unfortunate the criticism by some Nigerians of the activities of the NGF.
The governor, on arrival yesterday at the Ibom International Airport, Uyo after about two weeks abroad, told reporters that the forum was principally an interactive one.
He explained that the stability of democracy in the country is the of the forum, adding that apart from supporting President Goodluck Jonathan, the forum, among others, helps in deepening democracy, ensuring good governance, tackling the challenges of security, decayed infrastructure and has adopted the peer review mechanism to ensure healthy competition among the 36 states of the federation.
Akpabio lauded the efforts of Jonathan in ensuring the resumption of work on the East-West Road, which was suspended due to paucity of funds.
He praised the Ministry of Niger Delta and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for keeping faith with the road through the yearly budgetary allocation for its construction.
On his activities while abroad, he said while in London, he attended several meetings aimed at bringing investors to establish a fertiliser plant and develop the Ibaka Deep Seaport, among others and expressed the hope that soon the result would show.