By Daniel Idonor
Governor Ikedi Ohakim of Imo State said there was noÂ time the 36 state governors decided that Acting President Goodluck Jonathan should remain in acting capacity while ailing President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua remain the President.
Fielding questions from State House Correspondents, the governor said what they did at the last meeting with Jonathan was to call for immediate ceasefire between the two notable political warring factions.
According to him, after two days of the discussion among themselves and with the Acting President, their efforts paid-off as the pace of political fireworks across the country subsided, as the verbal war between the camp loyal to Jonathan and those loyal to Yarâ€™Adua reduced significantly.
Asked why the governors agreed that Yarâ€™Adua should remain as President and Jonathan to continue to act, Ohakim said, â€œthe governors never took such a decision, for your information and we donâ€™t even have the constitutional mandate to take the decision that the president remains the president and the acting president remains the acting president. No. What we said isÂ â€œcool temper. Let us cool temper. What the governors said was cool temper.â€
He argued that the position of the governors represents most appropriately the views of most Nigerians since the governors were elected by their respective states; saying that â€œwe are serving the people and our people say, ‘please, when you go to Abuja, make sure we protect this country first. Make sure nothing happens to this country and this country is not the exclusive preserve for anybody, all of us must be in it.â€
While calling for massive support for the Acting President, the Imo Governor described Jonathan as a man of action who has the ability and capacity to deliver on his mandate whenever he is called upon, stressing that â€œI told you that within two days he approved Joint Taskforce for security in my state.â€
â€œThat is what the governors have done. Please change your thinking the other way. One problem we have in this country, what prevents any group or group of people or any association or Save Nigeria Group from sending a delegation or leadership and say listen, governors forum, even though we know you are illegal we want to have a dialogue with you onÂ Wednesday XYZ April or May 2010. Let me know why you took that decision and let us discuss. If you are very close to somebody you can hear the smell of his mouthâ€.
â€œYou said Nigerians requires the governors to do the right thing and that after that meeting, Nigerians were not happy and I donâ€™t know which Nigerians you are talking about? First and foremost I am the governor of Imo State. We have at least nine million Imo citizens both those at home and in Diaspora. We have elected members, we have local government chairmen, we meet in our state, and they tell me what the people want. And after that all the governors meet.
He argued that after the meeting with Jonathan the rising tension in the country was significantly doused; saying that â€œif you have thermometer to measure the political temperature, letâ€™s say there is a way of measuring it, the political temperature before the governors meeting and the political temperature after the meeting, if we must tell each other the truth, cannot be the same. The political temperature droppedâ€.
He added that the governors who took the ceasefire decision â€œhave some information most Nigerians do not have. Those who are fighting have not even come home to ask their people why this and why that? This country is bigger than anybody. To protect the integrity of this country, to protect the sovereignty of this country, should be the number one goal of every Nigerianâ€.
Rather than heat up the polity, he said the Governors decided that they must move in swiftly to halt yhe political firework among the actors and call them to order, saying that â€œnow if for example we begin to heat the polity, or begin to say somebody is trying to control the acting president. No human being in this country has or can dictate to the president of the federal republic of Nigeria, represented in person today by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the acting president.
â€œThis is a man of action doing his job. Those who are heating the polity have you removed the veil of their argument? Itâ€™s just like when you get cake, try and remove the icing on the cake; you will see that the colour of the icing is different from the cake. People are fighting because they want to use the opportunity to enter into the political field and begin to play.â€
According to him, â€œin Nigerian, like we know, most people who come to leadership position; they come for their own personal goals. They come because of what they will get. They didnâ€™t come to serve the people.Â There are people who feel that they have been away for a long time and the only way to come in is either to latched themselves to the acting president or latch themselves to the president or latched themselves to the governors or join an association called save Nigeria, which I believe inâ€.
According to him: â€œthis country must be saved. I believe in save Nigeria. People must also be able to demonstrate but if I am demonstrating as save Nigeria, allow the governor also to use their own tactics of saving Nigeria. It is not only your own that is better. All of us must work from different ways to save this democracy and save Nigeriaâ€.