The president has come under knocks from opposition parties for recognizing Mr. Jang.
The opposition party, Congress for Progressive Change, CPC has described as “shameful” President Goodluck Jonathan’s endorsement of the Jonah Jang’s faction of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF.
The NGF became factionalized after the election held a week ago to select a new Chairman in which Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers state emerged winner. Some of the governors later accused Mr. Amaechi of rigging the poll and extended their allegiance to Plateau Governor, Mr. Jang.
The governors are widely believed to have acted at the behest of the president who has since indicated that he favours a leadership change at the forum. Presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati has repeatedly denied that claim.
But despite the denial, and Mr. Amaechi’s clear win, the president has recognized Mr. Jang as the chairman of the governors’ forum, contradicting his earlier claim.
Action Congress of Nigeria lambasted the president on Sunday, calling his conduct “deceitful” and dishonourable.
The CPC followed suit in a statement by its spokesperson, Rotimi Fashakin, on Sunday, saying the presidency’s’ “deception did not travel for too long”.
“President Good-luck Jonathan’s endorsement of Governor Jonah Jang as the ‘elected’ Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF has finally removed the wind off the sail of the rigmarole and denials as regards the source of the contrived crisis in the NGF,” the statement said.
CPC said Mr. Jonathan “did not believe that the Rivers Governor’s re-election would be helpful for his own re-election bid in 2015. He plotted, using the Platform of his Party, People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to truncate Mr. Amaechi’s ambition. At first, a new platform for PDP governors was birthed, with a fierce Jonathan-loyalist in charge”.
It added that “the high-wire intrigues deployed by the PDP high command belied the determination of the President to use the election as the litmus-test for his readiness to capture the country in 2015. As a way of getting firm assurance of victory, endorsement of his preferred candidate, Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau state, was purportedly assented by nineteen PDP Governors before the election.
The election, which was recorded, revealed 19-16 majority victory for Governor Amaechi. The anti-Amaechi group made known its rejection of the election on the premise that a pre-election endorsement of their candidate, Governor Jang, had showed victory.
According to CPC, “for any dispassionate and discerning observer, this puerile predication of the anti-Amaechi group’s dissent is laughable and utterly ludicrous. The question asked is, can a pre-election endorsement be the same as the actual votes cast in an election? The logic of this group’s dissent stretches credulity beyond tolerable elastic limit”.
“Though initially flummoxed by Mr. Amaechi’s victory, the PDP national leadership believed that travelling on the road of perfidy would really fit its demagogic, larger-than-life image as the ruling party, hence the President’s endorsement of Mr. Jang as elected. This anti-democratic stance should not surprise anyone familiar with PDP’s brand of democracy. The split in the NGF was the impetus needed by the leaders of PDP to unveil the plan for ensuring distortion of the Nation’s electoral process hereafter”.
“As a Party, we are appalled by the President’s abandonment of the ship of state to cause needless overheating of the polity. The NGF, as it stands, remains a voluntary platform among Nigeria’s governors, with no constitutional function. How the election of the chairman of the NGF captured the animated interest of the President, despite the seeming myriad of issues besetting the Nation State, is still puzzling,” it said.
CPC said the NGF crisis is another attestation of the President’s ‘besmirched reputation for wrong priorities’.
“Undoubtedly, the President’s conduct in the just concluded Governor’s election is a pointer to the immense electoral incongruities being planned for the 2015 elections. Unfortunately, all the President’s men and women have sworn to obsequious subservience which explains why he is egged on to continue with the capricious politics that is only geared towards exacerbating the overheated Nigerian polity.
“We hereby call on the International community to take greater interest in Nigeria’s democracy which, with the President’s brand of deleterious politics, is in danger of peril. We call on the Nigerian people to remain resolute in defending the cause of democracy because eternal vigilance is the price for liberty,” they said.