NGF CRISIS: HOW COUP AGAINST DANIEL WAS HATCHED
Fresh facts have emerged on how the attempt by the some governors loyal to President Goodluck Jonathan to install Governor Gbenga Daniel as chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) failed.
Eleven governors had last Sunday met at the Asokoro, Abuja residence of Governor Daniel and announced his as the new leader of the NGF to the consternation of many of their colleagues.
Although the Presidency washed its hand off the plot, a source however disclosed that the attempt to enthrone Daniel at the head of the governor's forum was actually part of a grand plot to prepare a fertile ground for the emergence of President Jonathan as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) standard-bearer in the 2011 presidential poll.
It was gathered that the President's men had agreed on the plot after a review of the political terrain and an admission that the race for the PDP ticket might be too tough for the president in spite of the incumbency advantage he enjoys.
According to the source, the decision to put the governor's forum under the control of a trusted hand was to ensure that the body lends its voice in favour of the President at a crucial stage in the contest for the PDP ticket.
'The President's men were bothered that the northern opposition to Jonathan's candidacy and the prospect of a consensus northern candidate may make things difficult for the President in the race.
'The fear was that if the northern opposition continues and the South West and South East zones remain non-committal to the Jonathan aspiration, as they appear now, and northern leaders succeed in getting some power blocs in the South to see reason why the Presidency should be retained in the North for the next four years, the PDP may be forced at the last minute to stand by its zoning arrangement and advise Jonathan to shelve his presidential ambition in the interest of the party,' the source explained.
Speaking further, the source added: 'At such a critical moment, the President will need the support of critical caucuses like the Governor's Forum and the National Assembly to withstand the pressure. 'Unfortunately, with the fate that befell the President's amendment Bill to the Electoral Act at the Senate, you do not need a rocket scientist to tell you that his support base in the National Assembly is thin. So he needs to have the governors who can talk to National Assembly members from their state under his armpit.'
He noted that the President's men also realized that leaving the NGF in the hands of the outgoing Kwara governor, Dr Bukola Saraki or his lackey as successor, would mean Jonathan would be denied the critical support of the governors in the build-up to the presidential primaries.
Another well-connected PDP stalwart however shed light on how the plot to reverse the 'coup' at the NGF was hatched. He disclosed that some northern governors, along with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and General Ibrahim Babangida, spearheaded the annulment of the election of Daniel. The two presidential aspirants were said to have stimulated a particular Northern governor to summon a meeting in the early hours of Wednesday in Abuja to work out strategies to reverse what one of them at the meeting called 'a coup' in the forum.
At the meeting held in the Asokoro area of the federal capital, those in attendance were said to have acknowledged that the plot was a bold step by Jonathan and his men to pocket a critical power base within the PDP.