How Amaechi floored Jonathan, PDP to emerge Nigeria Governors Forum Chairman; as Akpabio, Mimiko, others allege rigging

Governor Rotimi Amaechi

Thirty five governors voted and 35 votes were counted.

In what can be interpreted to be a humiliation for President Goodluck Jonathan, the incumbent Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, and Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, trounced his Plateau State counterpart, Jonah Jang, by 19 votes to 16, to retain the coveted seat in a keenly contested poll in Abuja on Friday.

Mr. Jang was allegedly propped up a few hours to the election by Mr. Jonathan, backed by some top brass of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who wanted Mr. Amaechi out at all cost.

Both Messrs Amaechi and Jang belong to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which has 23 out of the 36 members of the Forum.

The position of the vice chairman of the Forum was picked up by the Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, who emerged unopposed following last minute withdrawal of the Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, a member of Labour Party, LP, from the contest.

Akpabio, others reject results

However, in a curious twist of events, some governors led by the Chairman of PDP Governors Forum, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, rejected the result of the poll which was conducted by secret ballot, saying it was rigged in favour of Mr. Amaechi.

Mr. Akpabio told journalists after a meeting of the opposed governors at the Akwa Ibom State Governors Lodge, Asokoro District, to which they retreated, that the ballot papers used for the election did not have serial numbers; adding that they would recognize Messrs Jang and Mimiko as the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Forum, respectively.

The Akpabio-led governors claimed Mr. Amaechi and his supporters rigged the election. Mr. Akpabio told journalists that the Rivers State Governor failed to step down prior to the election. He, however, did not state why he and his supporters, who said they voted for Mr. Jang, agreed to proceed with the election despite their claims.

Some of those that aligned with Mr. Akpabio include Mr. Mimiko, Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta, Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa, and Mr. Jang.

Jubilation

The Rivers State Governors Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja, the venue of the election, was thrown into was wild jubilation after Mr. Amaechi’s victory. Leading the victory celebration was Ibim Semenitari, the Rivers Commissioner for Information who danced to no music few minutes before the results were officially announced.

The meeting where the election held was attended by 35 governors, which cut across six parties, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; Action Congress of Nigeria, CAN; All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP; Congress for Progressive Party, CPC; Labour Party; and the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.

Only the Kebbi State Governor, Saidu Dakingari, did not attend the meeting. 35 governors voted in the election and 35 votes were counted.

Intrigues and intense horse-trading preceded the election, which had heated up the polity; with Mr. Jonathan and other leaders of the PDP, including its National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur; and Board of Trustees Chairman, Tony Anenih, showing interest in who emerges the chairman and vice chairman of the Forum. Mr. Anenih had earlier in the week alleged that the NGF had been hijacked by opposition governors.

The president’s discreet intervention is also said to have been responsible for the withdrawal of the Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema; and his Bauchi State counterpart, Isa Yuguda; both of whom were allegedly thrown up by Mr. Jonathan to challenge Mr. Amaechi.

Messrs Shema and Yuguda had on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, picked the nomination forms indicating their readiness to contest the chairmanship seat.
Sources, however, said that the two men were prevailed upon by the Northern State Governors Forum, NSGF, at its meeting held at the Niger State Governors Lodge, Abuja, earlier in the day, to step down for Mr. Jang in what appeared to be a move to soften the hearts of the governors opposed to the president.

The governors of the PDP also held a separate meeting chaired by Mr. Akpabio at the Akwa Ibom State Governors Lodge where it was agreed that like the NSGF, Mr. Jang would be presented as the consensus candidate of the party and Mr. Mimiko of the Labour Party, his deputy.

On their part, 11 opposition governors, who belong to the All Progressives Congress, APC, the product of the merger of ACN, CPC, ANPP and a faction of APGA, met at the Lagos House in the Central Business District of the territory to plot their strategies. The opposition votes are believed to have all gone for Mr. Amaechi.

The intrigues

Following his endorsement by the NSGF and the Presidency, Mr. Jang entered the race and immediately picked the nomination form at about 3 p.m. on Friday, about one hour before the commencement of the election; contrary to the constitution of NGF, which states that the letter of intent should be submitted a day before an election.

Interestingly, Mr. Amaechi attended the PDP governor’s meeting where Mr. Jang was picked as the consensus candidate of the party, but did not oppose the choice.

Just before the election commenced, Mr. Akpabio submitted consensus signatures which they had earlier harvested at the PDP governors’ meeting, saying Mr. Jang was their consensus candidate and therefore there should be no election.

However, the Rivers State Governor resisted Mr. Akpabio, who tried to cause a stir. In the midst of the confusion, the Akwa Ibom governor was seen moving in and out of the hall making frantic telephone believed to be in the presidency.

The resistance of the group led by the Akwa Ibom State Governor did not hold for too long as they were overwhelmed by the pro-Amaechi group, who insisted that the election should hold.

The election held and Mr. Amaechi defeated Mr. Jang by 19 to 16 votes; a result now being contested by Mr. Akpabio and his supporters.

The new claim by Mr. Akpabio and his group that they would not recognize Mr. Amaechi’s victory is expected to throw the governors’ forum into a fresh round of crisis.


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  • Bala R

    Jona Jang. Kill more Muslims to win next time.

  • angry man

    In the Mighty name of Jesu, I cast and bind all the PDP inspired demons that want to destroy Nigeria.

    E no go better for una! Blaady foooolss

  • angry man

    Jesus*

  • If the election was free and fair then there should be not problem with a re-vote and each person identified with their vote. It is the only way that this matter can be settled to the glare of the public.

    • Datti

      So governors dey rig? They were only 35 and 35 votes were counted. 23 members were pdp – this house is divided and honestly they, the opposition, has better strategies; maybe they should win come 2015

    • Speak the Truth

      Were u identified with ur votes since u’ve been voting in this country? All d PDP & Jonathan suppoters must be ashamed of themselves. Only 35 people voted in an election & people are crying of rigging. U people are agents of backwardness & failure.

  • wax

    @PM did jonathan contest the election with amaechi? Let’s be careful bout wat we sell to Nigerians pls. Sell the news and not the paper…

    • Correct, my brother.

      • GEJ has turned himself to be Amaechi campaign manager by publicly flex his presidential power to rest power from the incumbent when he is also planning for his second term…. GEJ most weak president of d century…I am more powerful than him if he is to be a normal civilian ….UP UP AMAECHI

  • Can each governor come out and defend their vote publicly.

    • Chybuzzz

      It will be difficult for the governors to come out and defend their vote because, nobody wants to be victimized and named “opposition to the president”. That is why the secret ballot was used in the first place, for the governors to vote their minds without anyone knowing who voted for who. This is Nigeria, we still have along way to go when it comes to politics

  • adeomoade

    Now Jonathan will see Akpabio is a failure…Simple assignment to get the governors vote for president’s choice as chairman of governors’s forum he failed woefully to deliver that…Now Jonathan knows better..he is surrounded by failed people..2015 going going….gone..

  • salisu

    I love this process. Since Jonnathan can not fight Ameachi then APC will surely rule Nigeria 2015. Now we awaits the arrival of PDP Governors to APC sooner or later.

  • This is just a warning signal for President Jonathan to adjust.

  • concernednigerian

    This is the best scenario to get rid of the governors forum. By ‘electing’ Rotimi Amaechi, against the PDP consensus candidate, Jonah Jang, meant two things: (i) Amaechi is no more a member of PDP hence will play no part in the emergence of a PDP candidate in Rivers State in 2015; (ii) The Presidency can go about its activities with the cooperation of the PDP Governors Forum without recourse to the Nigerian Governors Forum whose election the presidency does not recognise in the first place. Now is the time to isolate Rotimi Amaechi from events in the presidency while he and his supporters can declare for APC or any other party. The presidency has done well by activating Plan B. It will also be difficult for law makers in Rivers State to continue to support a turn coat Amaechi without forfeiting support from the Obuah led party secretariat in the state and the presidency. These online arm-chair commentators should recognise that Politics is for intelligent people. By elaborate foot walk and intrigue prone politiking, the Presidency has killed off the Nigerian Governors Forum. This is the best outcome for the PDP elders. Rotimi Amaechi can continue his trade union activities in the governors forum but it will be of no effect as those crying rigging can always make a counter move renouncing Amaechi’s activities on gronds that he did not represent the entire governors forum. Politics is not for fools. The governors forum is dead.

    • Jadesola Fakayode

      bbbbbbb

      • Omo Akin

        Thank you for your thoughtful comments. It was the Governors’ Forum that got Jonathan the ticket to contest as PDP candidate. Without the role of the Governors then, Jonathan would have been defeated by Atiku. It now okay to kill the Governors’ Forum because of Amaechi. Jonathan will still need the Governors’ Forum for future election but he may not be smart enough to know that people like Akpabio are not doing him any good in the long run.

  • Afam

    @PM..keep on the headline as your pay masters want…am not a fan of any group but if i may ask,what are the functions of NGF in our dying country Nigeria? do westerners and other developing countries have such forum? No…then why this cerebration on the media about this gang?

  • Speak the Truth

    Look at these bunch of fools,only 35 people(Governors for God sake) participated in an election & there was an alleged cry of rigging.If they can’t get it right within this limited number,how will they with million of Nigerian participants including u & I? Or are these not set of fools who conduct elections in their various states? While basking in the euphoria of Amaechi’s victory over the imposition from the PDP & Jonathan, I hope Nigerians can now see that PDP is the greatest problem of Nigeria & Nigerians, & d worst dat has ever happened to Nigeria.