[EXCLUSIVE] VIDEO: Watch Voting and Counting at Controversial Governors’ Forum Election

Presiding Officer, Asishana Okauru, announcing the result of the controversial NGF election that divided the Forum in 2013

We now bring you an amateur footage of the May 24 Nigeria Governors’ Forum election during which Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, was reelected chairman after he defeated his only challenger, Jonah Jang of Plateau State 19 votes to 16.

PREMIUM TIMES had exclusively reported that a recording of the voting was done by a governor in the camp of Mr. Amaechi.

With his mobile phone, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun captured most of the proceedings of an election that featured intense maneuvering from governors on a clear divide, either in support or against President Goodluck Jonathan’ candidate, Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau state.

The president has repeatedly denied having interest in who becomes the next chairman of the group, but that claim has been disproved by insiders and governors, and even the president’s body language.

The footage documents how the 35 governors voted, the counting of votes and the declaration of result by presiding officer, Asishana Okauru, who is also the director general of the forum.

At a point during the counting of votes, the arrowhead of the opposition against Mr. Amaechi, Governor Godswill Akpabio, realized the election was being taped and he charged angrily at Mr. Aregbesola. But once Mr. Akpabio turned away, the governor simply resumed his secret recording.

With allegation of fraud now up against Mr. Amaechi’s victory from governor’s known to be die-hard associates of the president, the recording is seen as the first documented evidence of a transparent process to crush that concern.

The outcome of the poll has been rejected by governors in support of Mr. Jang, and apparently, President Jonathan. The protesting governors, led by Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom state, said the process violated key rules, and declared the group’s decision not to recognize Mr. Amaechi as the winner.

But for all the authority of incumbency and presidential leverage, Friday’s elections provided a teachable moment on the potency of an alliance between discontent members of a ruling party, and the opposition  All Progessives Congress – a coalition bonded by common goal to upset and humiliate the establishment.

Mr. Amaechi, not favoured to win by the pro-Jonathan team, emerged despite intense strategizing that saw the Peoples Democratic Party raise a list of supporting governors who agreed Mr. Jang was the rightful candidate to win the seat. Nineteen PDP governors signed the document before the polls.

The Northern Governors Forum met early Friday and prevailed on the Katsina and Bauchi governors, Ibrahim Shema and Isa Yuguda, respectively, to yield their ambition, for a consensus candidate in the person of Mr. Jang.

But in the end, at least three governors, who rallied that support on paper, backed off when afforded the luxury of an unmarked ballot paper, and a secret voting system. Their votes, alongside the opposition, apparently went Mr. Amaechi’s way.

After the polls, Mr. Akpabio, backed by other governors in support of Mr. Jang, said using the unmarked papers (which should betrayed those who opposed the president’ choice), and the refusal of Mr. Amaechi to resign first before the poll, nullified the elections.

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  • Adoki

    So, the obvious question is this: How come 18 governors attended Jang’s meeting the next day?

    • jigsaw

      The fear of EFCC, look even Yuguda and Shema could have secretly voted Amaechi

      • Adoki

        Now, we are really discussing. So, in that case, any governor who does not have the courage to support Amaechi openly, is simply deceiving him in secret. That is not democracy.

        • Concern

          You again……

          • Adoki

            My brother, let’s keep dialoging. I am as concerned about the build-up to 2015 as you are. If we keep talking and talk sensibly, we may be able to separate the wolfs from the sheep, and hopefully identify a genuinely credible alternative in 2015. All this noise for politicians with questionable character is really getting on my nerves.

        • marshalnew

          Wash a pig, powder a pig, perfume a pig, a pig still remain a pig. I can see how extra idiotic some people can be.

        • ifebuche

          That’s where you got it roundly wrong. That is exactly the beauty of democracy. One should be able to do what they are convinced off privately given the tough and many a time unreasonable pressures and blackmail the system is fraught with in public. That’s why it is called a ‘secret ballot.’

          • Adoki

            You know, I am very surprised that the same Nigerians who overwhelmingly called for “open ballot” (option A4) as the key to electoral transparency are the same ones now triumphantly proclaiming the sanctity of secret balloting. For a closely knit elite club like the NGF, they should trust themselves enough to indicate (with a show of hands for instance), behind closed doors, their preferred candidate. If they can no longer trust themselves to stand up for each other (again, for a close knit elite fraternity), then what is the point in having the association in the first place?

            By the way, your logic of ‘blackmail’ ultimately raises questions about the character of the participants and the morality of the whole process. A man who has a lot to hide is the one who can easily be blackmailed. There is certainly no pride in being supported by people who have so much to hide, who would not hesitate to deny you in public. There is no glory in having questionable characters as your friends.

          • Dan maikoko

            Option A4 and any option that does not allow for secret ballot is not democratic. A secret ballot allows a man to vote for his hearts choice without fear or favour. It is the ultimate in democratic expression. Think of it this way; when forced to sign a paper openly, they chose Jang. When given the opportunity of free expression without fear they chose their hearts choice Ameachi. The real choice therefore is Ameachi and their forced choice was Jang. Its now up to you to decide which is genuine.

          • Adoki

            If you ask for my personal preference, I will tell you that the logic of secret balloting is almost faultless. But I am bothered less by the circumstances of the NGF election than the way our logic keep shifting from one situation to the other. During the Third Term debate in the National Assembly, Nigerians roundly supported ‘open balloting’ in the way that those who would have secretly voted for Third Term were effectively intimidated into voting against the ‘project’. Back then, the sacred doctrine of free choice didn’t seem to important. Back to the NGF election, I think we should be honest enough to admit that we are interested because we think it is about 2015. Now, if these powerful governors (in whom we have placed our hopes for 2015) cannot stand up openly to defend the choice they have made behind closed doors, then maybe they are not the messiahs that we should be looking for.

          • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

            Adoki, you would have been very right in your postulations if integrity is an every day garment for the common Nigerian politician.

            But alas, this is not so.

            Principles do not feature in Nigerian politics, from Aso Rock down to the local councillor.

            So why are we debating in the realms of idealism rather than realism?

  • Felix Ugbaje

    where was jang?when Ameachi read his acceptance speech,how long will it take a winner to accept victory?who do look up to as mentor,role model’s and examplary leader’s.Am ashamed to called Nigerian if this are truly executive governor’s of their respective state………………..President jonathan should tell nigerian his stand.

    • Adoki

      At about the same time Amaechi read his victory speech, Jang was on air (Channels TV) declaring that he won the election, and that from that moment, all issues should be directed to him as chairman. I am not saying that Jang or Amaechi won the election. I am simply asking you to get your FACTS straight. Facts, they say, are sacred.

      • disqus_I5FuucAlIy

        Adoki, from the footage how many people voted? and what was the result at least you can hear the voice in the background.

        • ifebuche

          don’t mind the guy. He is talking of facts and ignoring the one he is commenting under.

          • Adoki

            What SPECIFIC ‘fact’ did I ignore?. Please mention it.

          • nadmati

            nature have cut them,no man is bigger than God almighty,time will tell,wike should beg God for forgiveness

          • Lawrence Aje

            It is not only a shame to the Governors at this forum who could not honor their own agreement but more disgrace to fellow Nigerians who for their political jaundice and convenience attempt to reduce truth to how they perceive it. This video clip shows some of the actors in the drama, presents each atom-vote as cast, vote count was pure and undiluted and winner announced with a simple majority win but some people here want a Hollywood type of video in a charged environment like that. Some even technically dubbed the clip VOICE OVER STILL PHOTO. No wonder we are in so much trouble in the land. Some say option A4, secret ballot open ballot. All these nomenclatures are nuisance term if there are no honorable men and women in place of authority. In simple term, whatever method of voting they all agreed on should be the binding factor but they all went through the same election because some people did not emerge winner then the method becomes invalid. There is nothing wrong with how that election was conducted what was at stake is invalid minds run Nigerian affairs. Jang and Mimiko should clamptheir hands on their faces for their ignoble role in this mess. This projects straight into how questionable the elections that brought them to power were. Mimiko in particular is now an embarrassment to himself and his entire state having made a statement on this issue.

          • Adoki

            Do yourself a favour, stop crying for these people. How they formed their elite governor’s club, you don’t know; was it formed to protect your interest? Do you know why the governors voted for one candidate or the other? Do you know what promises they made to each other? Between Jang and Amaechi, do you know who has stollen more money from his state treasury?

          • Lawrence Aje

            Mr Adoki, all you said are not relevant to the topic under review. The issue is that an election was held and the outcome is a bad reflction on our elected officers. So, for us that are crying we sometimes open our eyes to see why we cry, afterall, we cry for our counry but we cannot stand the truth on its head and pretend.

          • Adoki

            I sincerely apologise for not taking this NGF election as seriously as you. But God forbid that I would be here making value judgements about a completely meaningless and self-serving institution called the governors’ forum. Here is my confession: my real motive here is that I am celebrating the disintegration of an institution that has become a serious liability to our hope for change in 2007. Instead of Nigerians beginning now to mobilise for truly credible people to lead us come 2015, we are looking for how the NGF election would tell us who is going to win in 2015.

          • Lawrence Aje

            Mr Adoki I hope your assertion can be true, so far there are 44 comments on this trend yours alone at my last count read 16 yet you did not take it serious. Truth is like smoke, it is unconquerable .I do not need to reply to this issue any further.

          • Adoki

            I said I was (still am) celebrating the confusion at the governors’ forum. You said you are crying, so obviously it is for you a serious matter. My hope is that maybe now we can turn our attention to more serious matters.

          • ifebuche

            That’s not the issue bro. the issue is what these elders lying brazenly portends for the future of Nigeria. It is not about Amaechi or Mimiko or Jang. It is about the future of this country. Can’t you see that?

          • Dan maikoko

            The fact that we did not witness any recorded election that says Jang won. Let Jang produce his own tape that shows he won!

          • Adoki

            Jang said Amaechi rigged the election. The fact that 18 governors are now with him gives some weight to that claim. Ok, let Amaechi also produce the names of governors in his faction, abi?

          • ifebuche

            You either clueless as to the meaning of ‘fact’ or downright allergic to it. Your fact is ‘Jang said.’ I don’t even know if I should be replying you. Now let’s say Amaechi also said? which one do you take? One has a recording of what transpired and the other just ‘said.’ Is it today you have seen grownups/government officials say/do one thing in private and say another or deny it in public? Were you not yet born when Farouk was exposed? Do you need more instances?

      • Dan maikoko

        You still did not deny that Ameachi made his acceptance first while Jang was on TV claiming he won the election.

        • Adoki

          Do you know which press conference happened first? Channels played the tapes one after the other, at less than 1 minute interval. Or you want to start splitting hairs about minutes and seconds?

  • Michael Ijere

    What a rubbish, a ‘presiding officer’ is flanked by the contestant as well a four other biased Governors, what type of ‘free and fair election’ is this? THIEVES

    • ifebuche

      In the full glare of everybody and they rewrote the votes as they all watched abi? shut up mayne if you got nothing to say that is reasonable. ah ah.

  • femi jaiyeola

    Who saw the eighteen governors? Na lie.

    • Adoki

      The names of 18 governors were published in the papers. It has been 3 days now, and none of them has come out to deny their participation.

      • Sadiq Garba

        But it included Aliyu, who was not there.
        Kwankwaso did not go. He was in Kano attending to a state function at the time they were talking.

        • Adoki

          I find it surprising that those governors are keeping quiet, even when their names appeared in the papers.

  • abankula

    premiuim times, this is more of audio than video

    • Adoki

      They said it is “AMATEUR footage”. I also understand that, the guy who recorded it used his phone. Remember that the guy’s phone was once stolen by a pickpocket who was later sentenced to 45 years in prison? Maybe the pickpocket tampered with the video function in the phone before it was recovered by the police.

  • Who are the 3 turncoats?

    • Adoki

      No, 2 turncoats actually: 16 + 2 = 18. But then, again, I am assuming that all 16 governors who voted for Jang also attended his meeting. Otherwise, there could be 3 or 4 or 5 turncoats. Or maybe, the election was rigged? Remember they said it was the incumbent executive that conducted the election and also printed the ballot papers?

      • Gbenga

        They included the signatures of two governors, Enugu and one other in their so called endorsement and the governors were not there ,According to the ekiti governor,the endorsement was dated April and this is May so solve the puzzle

        • Adoki

          So why has those governors not come out to denounce the claims by the Jang group?

  • Usman yerima

    Goodness! Africans/Nigerians are still in the stone age. The simplest thing is spo complex for them. This is supposed to be a simple closed ballot election, yet, hear how noisy and confusing the entire atmosphere is. Noise and confusion everywhere. How can anyone make sense of what’s happening here?

  • dele

    Anachy is loom.

  • Afam

    This is not video @pm..tell us you have audio recording than misleading headline.

    • Frank

      What difference those it make?I and you now know the truth,it’s up to you whether to believe the lies peddled by Akpabio and his puppets,I believe Jonathan would be even more disappointed in Akpabio with the revelations of this video.

  • siddonlook

    Point of correction :-
    This is not a video recording but a voice recording .
    What u have is still photo and voice over .
    Its just toooo rowdy for that to be a governors meeting .
    There is no names called, whether by cause of discussion or argument by the so called governors .
    This thing called video evidence is non ADMISSABLE .

    What I see here is there’s no honour among THIEVES .
    Simple…

    • paschal

      It would seem you don’t belong to any association of peers or people or like powers. What we hear there for me is nearly very ordered. One woulda expected some fights given what’s in the media but it’s interesting how amicably it proceeded especially after ‘Osun’ was confronted about videoing.

  • Geezoid

    Im sooo happy this video has emerged. God bless Aregbesola!!