By JIMITOTA ONOYUME
PORT HARCOURT— GOVERNOR Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State, has insisted that he remains the authentic chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF.
The governor, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr David Iyofor, yesterday, lashed at the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Mr. Ahmed Gulak, for saying that President Goodluck Jonathan did not recognise him (Amaechi) as Chairman of the forum.
The governor said he was sure that Gulak did not consult with President Jonathan before his comments in an interview with a national newspaper, where he accorded recognition to Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State as Chairman of the forum.
He said: “Again, Ahmed Gulak, the Presidential Adviser on Political Matters, displayed his complete contemptuous lack of basic democratic tenets and principles and sadly painted the Jonathan Presidency as a partisan undemocratic Presidency that has no regard or respect for the peoples’ mandate expressed through the ballot box when he told reporters that the Presidency does not recognise Rivers State governor, Amaechi, as the duly elected Chairman of NGF. Not done yet, Gulak further said that the Plateau State governor, Jonah Jang, who lost the NGF chairmanship election to Governor Amaechi, is the NGF chairman, recognised by President Jonathan.
“It is a known fact that in the election for the chairman of NGF held on May 24, 2013, Governor Amaechi got the mandate of the majority of his colleague governors to continue to serve as their chairman when 19 governors voted for him as against 16 that voted for Governor Jang. 19 is always greater than 16. It is that simple.
“But for the Jonathan Presidency (according to Gulak), 16 is greater 19. We, like most Nigerians, are further saddened that the likes of Gulak in the Presidency are so ignorant and totally bereft of substance that they lack the capacity to comprehend the quantum of damage comments like that do to the President and the Presidency.
They are paid with taxpayers money to serve and protect. By his comments in the newspaper, Gulak just told Nigerians and the world, that the Presidency (off course with President Jonathan) does not respect, has no regard and does not recognise the result of a free and fair voting process that produced a clear winner in the person of Governor Amaechi.
“It continues to baffle us, like most Nigerians, that small, petty minds like Gulak in the Presidency will continue to make undemocratic comments that do enormous and sometimes irreversible damage to the President and the Presidency in their thoughtless, madcap self-imposed mission of persistently pouring intemperate, obnoxious and opprobrious invectives on Governor Amaechi.
But this is not about Governor Amaechi. It is about respecting and recognising a democratic, electoral process that produced a winner. And it does not matter whether they like the winner’s face or courage or ability to speak his mind. It does not matter whether the person disagrees with Mr. President on certain national issues; they are duty-bound to respect and recognise that democratic process that produced a winner.
Governors Forum is internal business of governors
“ It is certainly rude, uncharitable, ill-mannered and nonsensical for Gulak, an appointed aide, to condescendingly, derisively and superciliously refer to elected governors as ‘Amaechi Governors Forum’. Ahmed Gulak and his likes in the Presidency must be told in unambiguous terms that the Governors Forum is the internal business of the governors and who becomes their chairman can only be determine by the governors and the governors alone; and certainly not the Presidency. And for now, the majority of governors have democratically elected Governor Amaechi to serve as their chairman. Governor Amaechi remains the only authentic chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum. Casting nasty aspersions on governors elected by their people will never change that fact.
“Finally, we want to assume that bigmouthed Gulak who talks first, then thinks later, was only speaking his wrenched and warped mind; and speaking for himself and not for our dear President, or the Jonathan Presidency. We want to assume that his comment to the newspaper, which is an obnoxious and futile attempt to distort the fact was not authorised by President Jonathan. This is why it is imperative and pertinent for the Presidency to dissociate itself and Jonathan from the unbefitting, perverse, delinquent comment of Gulak on who is the authentic chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum.”