Drama as presidency seats Amaechi beside Jang at NEC meeting

Rotimi Amaechi, middle, River state governor and Godswill Akpabio, Akwa-Ibom governor, to his left.

The two governors lay claim to the chairmanship of the NGF.

A mild drama occurred on Thursday morning shortly before the commencement of the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, as two claimants to the post of Nigeria Governors Forum Chairman were made to sit beside themselves.

In what is probably the first meeting attended by both men since the governors’ forum, NGF, election in May, the seating arrangement was altered, which allowed Governors Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers and Jonah Jang of Plateau to sit beside themselves.

Mr. Amaechi defeated Mr. Jang by 19 votes to 16 to emerge chairman of the NGF in May, but the Plateau Governor rejected the result and instead set up a parallel faction.

Obviously following directives, presidential aides altered the sitting arrangement at NEC meetings. Previously, the Chairman of the Governors Forum would sit directly opposite Vice President Namadi Sambo, who chairs the council.

However, on Thursday, no seat was reserved for the NGF chairman as the council apparently failed to recognize anyone for the position. The seats were rearranged for the governors in alphabetical order of the name of their states. With no state starting with the letter Q, Mr. Amaechi of River’s seat was directly beside that of Mr. Jang of Plateau.

The Rivers Governor went into the Chambers and headed for his usual seat opposite Mr. Sambo only to be informed that his seat was the one marked with R. He then realised who his neighbour was going to be.

The Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, who supports Mr. Amaechi, approached the latter and kick started the small talks and jabs.

“So you are going to sit with Jang. This is very nice oh. Somebody is trying to be diplomatic here,” Mr. Aliyu told the Rivers Governor.

Mr. Amaechi replied saying: “We are still together. So, I am going to sit with him. The real chairman and the… (laughter)”

Observers watched curiously to see how Mr. Jang and other governors would react to the sitting arrangement.

When Mr. Jang arrived; he walked in and exchanged pleasantries with other governors including Mr. Amaechi. After being told he was to sit beside his opponent, he did.

“You are welcome, I am the authentic chairman,” Mr. Amaechi told Mr. Jang while exchanging greetings.

The Plateau Governor did not respond and both governors sat without saying anything to themselves for a while before others started arriving.

The Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, who noticed the situation, held Mr. Jang’s hand and pointed to Mr. Amaechi, saying “that is my chairman.” He added that the Plateau Governor was the leader of the other Peoples Democratic Party extended faction of the governors’ forum; which drew laughter from those present at the venue.

The governors were finally accompanied to the meeting by their respective commissioners of finance and education.

While the mood at the event was mild, it also showed that the rancour within Nigerian governors was far from over. The crisis in the NGF worsened after the elections as supporters on both sides have thrown caution to wind, with verbal attacks through the media.


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  • Dominic’s

    As d saying goes in politics, No permanent friend no permanent enemy but permanent interest

  • wole agunbiade

    I am just wondering what the online spies and defenders of Goodluck Jonathan have to say to this. My point is that even if it is conventional that you reserve a seat for the Chairman of NGF, the fact that that seat was not reserved at this meeting shows Goodluck Jonathan, his presidency and PDP have failed to respect the basic tenets of democracy that led to the emergence of Mr. Amaechi as the Chairman of NGF. To me this a tragedy for our democracy and Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency is a farce and complete negation of basic tenets of democratic tradition. Democratic practice says “acknowledge the winner even if you lose and your opponent is the winner”-for it you do this, the society gains. For this reason, I am sorry for the tragic state of Nigerian democracy under Goodluck Jonathan-too bad

    • Es3

      Wole,
      Who is the chairman of NGF in Nigerian constitution? What are his/her constitutional roles and what democratic ideals do they expouse or represent so far in Nigeria?
      if Jonathan gave any NGF chairman a special seat before it was when the ‘association’ was still led by sane person besides that fact that the seat was a previledge and not a right!!!

      • wole agunbiade

        so based on your post and by implication of your post the position of the chairman of NGF would be in the Nigerian constitution when NGF was led in time X by “sane” person! And since NGF is no longer led by “sane” person in time Y the position will be uprooted from the constitution! And if the person in time X and in tie Y are the same person, it does not matter!!! It means the Nigerian President called Goodluck Jonathan has the imperial power to determine “sanity” of the same person at different times X and Y!!! Es3, you cannot be serious if you want me to continue this conversation with you based on the absurdity embedded in the internal logic of your post. have a blessed day Mr. Es3 . Based on the absurdity in your post I will NOT respond to anything you say on this. Thanks.

        • Abdulkareem A.

          Thanks for your valid arguments leave MUMU he doesn’t even know the word sane in it’s meaning here. and I will NOT respond to any of his comment either. God bless Nigeria

          • Ayo Kellany

            Thank you both for pointing this out to our brother. Mr Wole Agunbiade i know you have a brain please try reasoning with it at all times especially public when you write publicly. It’s disheartening to know that a yoruba man can reason so shabbily as you have done.

        • Es3

          Wole,

          I do not expect you to continue on this discourse because it does not meet your already accepted paradigm (or cast) of Amaechi the victim?! Also, I do not expect continuation from you because the truth is always bitter!!!

          However as you discontinue, always remember that the you can only demand for your rights and not your previledges?! Draw a distinction between the two and it will help your reasoning a lot!
          Also note that the continued enjoyment of your priviledges is dependent on continued benevolence of your benefactor and such can be terminated if it is making the ‘head’ of the beneficiary to grow bigger than his ‘body’!
          That was the case with Amaechi!!!

  • Frank

    Happy Premium Times! The seating arrangement was not altered. That is how they have been seating before because it is in alphabetical order. i.e Plateau, Q (no state begins with Q) then R Rivers State.

  • Frank

    When Gov Tinibu opposed certain undemocratic and anti-people policies of the then president OBJ,some gullible Nigerians said he was fighting the president,he wants to VP to Atiku,he’s a traitor of the South west,today put Tinubu’s relevance in today’s Nigerian politics with that of OBJ your judgement is as good as mine,today there’s a repetition of the same scenario with Gov Ameachi and Jonathan starring this time,I do not have any doubt the result would be same,time would tell.

  • gwobezentashi janinjaka

    The real question is, if Jang had won, would they have kept a chair for the NGF chair?

  • emmanuel

    At least this shows that there is a power that be in Nigeria. Meanwhile, God has answered my prayer concerning the NGF

  • Obong Akpaekong

    I can see Amaechi and Jang reconciling soon and moving their once highly respected body forward. It was common sense not to keep any seats for the NGF chairman at the NEC.