The faction wished President Goodluck Jonathan a blissful 56th birthday.
The Abubakar Baraje faction of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has described as “unacceptable and dangerous,” the refusal of the presidency to recognize the Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, as the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF.
The group also wished President Goodluck Jonathan, who turned 56 on Wednesday, prosperous and blissful birthday and prayed God “to continue to guide and protect him from the evil mechanism and unholy counsel from misguided hawks in the Presidency and grant him the wisdom to see himself as a Statesman and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
This is contained in a statement by its spokesperson, Chukwuemeka Eze, in Abuja on Wednesday.
Mr. Amaechi was re-elected the Forum’s chairman on May 24 when he defeated his lone challenger, Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State by 19 votes to 16.
However, governors in Jang’s camp claimed victory for him thereby splitting the Forum into two factions. Since the division, the presidency has been given tacit backing to the group of 16 governors led by the Plateau State governor.
The Political Adviser to the President, Ahmed Gulak, had last weekend said Mr. Amaechi was not the authentic chairman of the NGF.
The Baraje faction also known as the “New PDP,” said President Goodluck Jonathan’s refusal to attend and deliver a keynote speech at the recent retreat organized by the Amaechi-led NGF, was a further reiteration of his support for the Jang faction.
It noted that the presidency’s support for the Jang faction would not only send across a dangerous signal, but would also frustrate efforts to unite the governors to enable them serve Nigerians better.
“The continued refusal of the Presidency to recognise Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, as Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) is, to say the least, unfortunate, dangerous, unjustifiable, regrettable and unacceptable,” it said.
“The Presidency had reiterated this position while justifying the absence of President Goodluck Jonathan at the retreat recently organised in Sokoto by the NGF and to which President Jonathan was invited to deliver the keynote address.”
Stating that it was a common knowledge that Mr. Amaechi won the Forum’s election, the nPDP contended that by refusing to accept the governor’s victory due to his personal differences with Mr. Jonathan and his wife, Patience, the presidency was otherwise saying that majority decision would amount to nothing in an election.
This stance, it stressed, if not checked, was capable of plunging the country into chaos during the 2015 general elections.
The splinter group said it was the same disdain for majority opinion that had factionalised the ruling PDP, and put its very survival in jeopardy.
“We appeal to Mr. President to disregard the misleading advice of the hawks around him and make himself an agent of peace and unity, both in the NGF and the PDP,” the nPDP said.
“He should rise above narrow partisanship and see himself as an impartial father eager to reconcile his feuding children.
“Anything short of this will not only tarnish his reputation but also have dire implications for national peace, unity and progress.”
The Baraje faction also lambasted Mr. Jang for his continued projection of himself as the NGF chair, and advised that everyone should learn to protect the nation’s democracy.
“Sadly, instead of Governor Jang hiding his face in shame he still projects himself as the Chairman of the Nigerian Governor’s Forum after he was duly rejected by his colleagues. We all should learn on how to protect our democracy and avoid any act that may endanger it,” it said.