By SONI DANIEL, REGIONAL EDITOR, NORTH
There were indications, Tuesday, that the subterranean moves being made by the Presidency to edge out Governor Rotimi Amaechi from the leadership position of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, might lead to the emergence of two rival chairmen.
Vanguard learnt from reliable sources that the subtle attempt by the pro-Jonathan camp to coax some governors to vote against the re-election of Amaechi and the decision to hold the poll at the Presidential Villa might backfire.
It was gathered authoritatively that some independent-minded governors, who are also sympathetic to Amaechi have vowed to conduct their election at the Secretariat of the NGF, as stipulated by its constitution if the pro-Jonathan governors insist on having their voting at the Villa.
Bolstered by the strong support it is enjoying from governors across party lines and regions, the Amaechi group has insisted on having a secret ballot to select the next chairman of the NGF, a position, jettisoned by the pro-Jonathan camp.
The pro-Jonathan group is afraid that many of the governors may vote against their candidate in a secret ballot and is insisting on the selection of one of them as the next NGF leader through consensus.
A governor loyal to Amaechi, said yesterday that, “We know that those who are planning of going to vote at the Presidential Villa are afraid of election and they will certainly lose in a free and fair poll.
“However, if they are sure of having the support and goodwill of the majority of the governors, let them come for a contest when the date is fixed.
“Since we are duly guided by the constitution of the NGF, we will hold election at our secretariat and elect our chairman and those who have the Villa as their secretariat are free to go there and have their election. We will not be distracted by some desperate politicians to do what is illegal, all in an attempt to satisfy certain interests”.
A Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governor from the north told Vanguard that some of the northern governors wanted the post to return to the region since Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State had earlier been selected as the PDP Governors’ Forum Chairman.
“We have already told Amaechi that although we enjoy his leadership style and all that he has been doing for the growth of democracy in Nigeria through the NGF, we cannot allow the two posts to be taken by governors from one part of the country,” the governor said.
“It is as a result of recent political changes in the party and the country that we also want to put one of our own for the NGF position and nothing more.
“We have nothing against Amaechi as a person because despite all that they are saying nobody has been able to pinpoint anything that the Rivers State Governor has done or said against the President,” the source stated.
This was the first time in the history of the NGF that the Presidency is showing more than a passing interest on who becomes its chairman.