Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State stated earlier today that Nigeria’s governors came close to a physical fight during yesterday’s meeting of Nigeria Governors' Forum at which Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi was reelected as chairman. Mr. Amaechi defeated Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau who was backed by President Goodluck Jonathan in the highly anticipated election that held in Abuja on Friday evening.
Mr. Mimiko, who stepped down as a candidate for the post of deputy chairman, revealed that he and his faction of governors would not recognize the validity of the election of Governor Amaechi. Governor Mimiko made the statement while speaking with reporters in Abuja after the meeting on Saturday of the faction that supported Mr. Jang.
Mr. Jang’s camp claimed that the endorsement given to him by the PDP governors as well as by Northern governors was enough to make him the chairman of the Forum.
Curiously, Mr. Jang did not read the communiqué issued by the faction he leads. Reportedly sick, Mr. Jang asked Governor Mimiko to read his group’s statement.
Asked whether there was no difference between endorsement and election and whether they were sure that those who endorsed Mr. Jang eventually voted for him, Governor Mimiko said: “Go and ask those who claimed to have conducted [the] election.” According to him, “The option open to us would have been to be physical but as responsible people, we couldn’t. But we made it clear to them that what they did was inappropriate. Probably that was in line with their decision to divide the Governors Forum.”
Mr. Mimiko said it was wrong for Governor Amaechi to be in office and still conduct the election. “All through that meeting we continued to make a point that Amaechi had to step down, that his tenure has ended,” said Mr. Mimiko. He added: “Even in ordinary village meeting, when tenure ends, the next thing to do is to call for a resolution of the house to elect a temporary leadership who would preside over the election agreed by all. Amaechi insisted he was going to be chairman of that election which he was candidate. He produced some papers that he called ballot papers. There was no way we could trace the source. We don’t know whether they were pre-marked or whatever.”
Asked whether President Goodluck Jonathan and governors stepped down from office before the conduct of election, Mr. Mimiko kept quiet.
Meanwhile, Governor Godswill Akpabio continued with his merry-go-round yesterday by taking Mr. Jang round the homes of PDP chieftains in Abuja. Our sources disclosed that Governor Akpabio took his faction’s chairman to the homes of Tony Anenih, current chairman of the PDP’s board of trustees, as well as Vice President Namadi Sambo.
SaharaReporters learned that the two governors were also planning a visit to the home of the PDP’s national chairman, Bamanga Tukur.
An Abuja-based political observer described the split in the Governors Forum as proof that the Jang faction was hostile to democracy. “Is Governor Jonah Jang leading the PDP governors, or is he leading the NGF?” asked the observer.