The running battle between President Goodluck Jonathan and Rivers state governor, Rotimi Amaechi over who becomes the next chairman of the all powerful Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF took a new twist few days to the election as President Jonathan who is desperate to have Amaechi removed and install his anointed candidate threatened the ruling PDP governors to pressure other opposition parties governors to agree to hold the election right under his watch in the presidential villa.
The election which is just few days away, “the Nigerian president has gone for the broke and so paranoid because of an ordinary governors forum election,” an influential member of the forum who is also a governor in one of the Northern states said.
The governore further revealed that out of desperation for his return in 2015, Mr Jonathan has also dropped his support for the governor of Katsina state, Ibrahim Shema for his Bauchi state counterpart, Isa Yuguda.
“As we speak, two of our colleagues who are the arrow heads of the group of governors promoting the Jonathan agenda within the forum, I mean Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue and Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom state are in the villa with the president where they are calling the governors for the president to speak with them one after the other. This is in addition to the on-going collation of supporting governors’ signatures for the election”, the governor who will not want to be mentioned for fear of victimisation stated.
The source further disclosed that in addition to the efforts of Jonathan, Suswam and Akpabio, the Board of Trustees Chairman of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih has equally been speaking with the governors to support the president’s choice for the NGF. He said one of the governors that has been won over by Anenih is the Cross River state governor, Liyel Imoke who was until now a stauch supporter of Amaechi. “Imoke has turned his back because he was blackmailed that he has a number of cases pending in EFCC and was also promised some oil blocs”, the source added. Indeed, it has been reported that Anenih was about a week ago in Calabar to meet Imoke.
Another governor in the south- west who also spoke on the matter confirmed that President Jonathan had personally called him to seek his support for his choice for the NGF chairmanship. ” I was surprised that the president will call me to ask me to support his choice for the chairmanship of our forum even when he knows I belong to another party and not a PDP member. It shocked me but it confirms our fear that the man (Jonathan) is becoming too desperate about this his 2015 ambition”, the southwest governor added.
Notwithstanding the president’s desperation, there are indications that Governor Amaechi will still win the election scheduled for Thursday in Abuja if allowed to hold in a conducive atmosphere, free and fair. “There is no disputing the fact that the president’s illegalities in Rivers in an attempt to cripple the state government have won some sympathy for Governor Amaechi. It is obvious the battle is about 2015, so majority of governors from the North will back Amaechi and it is certain that all the 11 APC governors are giving him their votes”, the source added.