BY Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North
ABUJA—In a dramatic twist, the Presidency declared, yesterday, that there was no rift between President Goodluck Jonathan and the Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
Special Adviser on Political Matters to the President, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak, told Vanguard in an interview that the seeming face-off between Jonathan and Amaechi was a media creation.
Gulak’s reaction came barely 24 hours after Jonathan and Amaechi met at the Port Harcourt International Airport, embraced and exchanged pleasantries, the first of such encounter in a couple of months.
The frosty relationship of the duo reached a crescendo, last Wednesday night, when a willing Amaechi, who had called off a meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, to honour a dinner date at the Presidential Villa, was prevented by security men from shaking hands with Jonathan.
But all that changed when the two men met at the Port Harcourt Airport on Saturday, when they appeared to have made up at least, as their non-verbal gestures suggested.
Gulak said: “Jonathan and Amaechi are brothers and they are not fighting as some people are saying. I have never believed there was a crisis between the two brothers.
“Let me tell you, the President that I know and has been working with is a man of peace who takes all the governors, including Amaechi as his friends and there is no need for anyone to say that there is a feud between the President and Amaechi. The seeming friction between the duo is nothing but a media creation,” the Presidential aide said.
The political adviser dismissed as untenable the claim that the President was opposed to Amaechi’s leadership of the NGF, pointing out that Jonathan had no interest in the forum, which he described as a mere association that does not have a place in the Nigerian Constitution.
Reacting to the rejection of the Budget Amendment Bill by the National Assembly, Gulak described the development as a setback to Nigeria and its people.
According to him, the budget was not about Jonathan but about the country and its people, whose wellbeing was tied to the budget.
“Anybody who thinks that the budget is about President Jonathan does not understand the issues. Jonathan means well for the nation and it is unfair to treat the budget that caters for the people the way it is done,” the aide pointed out.
It will be recalled that the House of Representatives on Tuesday threw out the budget amendments being sought by the President to rejig the 2013 fiscal document, hinging its action on poor procedure by the Presidency.