By Dayo Benson,Â Â Political Editor
As controversies rage over 2011 presidency and the geo-political zone that is entitled to produce a candidate in the ruling Peopleâ€™s Democratic Party, PDP, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State has emphasised that governors’ role on who emerges as acceptable candidate cannot be underestimated.
Governor Amaechi who spoke against the background of a statement by South-South leaders that governors should not arrogate to themselves power to choose the next president insisted that since governors appointees would be delegates to party convention where the presidential candidate would emerge, then governorsâ€™ influence on their delegates should not ignored.
Amaechi who spoke in Lagos, weekend, at a media parley also hinted that whenever it was time for governors to decide who their favourite candidate was, they (governors) would speak with one voice depending on the interest at play.
According to him, â€œsince governors’ aides such as commissioners, special advisers and special assistants would be delegates at convention that would produce the president, governors could influence such delegates on who to vote for.
â€œFor a presidential candidate to emerge, governors can influence delegates they take to convention since they (delegates) are governorâ€™s appointees,â€ he said.
â€œSo, you cannot underestimate the role of governors in determining who the president will be. You cannot ignore the fact.â€
Governor Ameachi who wasÂ commenting on the reaction ofÂ South-South leaders to a statement by South- South governorsÂ that governors would decide the next presidential candidate of the PDP stated that â€œMy statement was a response to question that South -South governor are not supporting Jonathanâ€.
Speaking on whether governors will agree on the choice of presidential candidate for 2011 elections , he said â€œIf the governors ca come to conclusion on 2011 presidency will depend on the interest at play, but I think we â€˜ll come to a consensusâ€
While commenting on move by PDP to reduce governorsâ€™ power at convention, he said, â€œ Letâ€™s wait and see. Iâ€™m for reforms, I will support reform but I think the word should be internal democracy. Let the names of those who win primaries be submitted to INEC.â€