Why governors want to be part of the helicopter crash probe - Gov. Amaechi
Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, who doubles as Chairman of the Nigerian Governors' Forum, said on Friday that the governors 'interest in the probe of last Saturday's helicopter crash was in good faith.
Governor Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State, the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA), General Patrick Azazi, and four others, including the pilot and co-pilot of the Nigerian Navy Augusta helicopter died in the crash.
President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered a probe of the crash with the governors asking that they want to be part of the investigation.
Amaechi said that their interest did not stem from distrust of the Federal Government on the probe.
He said: 'We are being misunderstood all the time. What we said was that we wanted to be given an observer status, if we can't participate so that we will bring a professional who will observe the process; how it is going on and brief the Governors' Forum. Not that we passed a vote of no confidence on those who are investigating.'
Amaechi spoke while emerging from a meeting which President Jonathan had with the PDP leadership and PDP governors
Asked whether their position was informed by the death of Gov. Yakowa in the crash, Amaechi said their only motive was the frequent air crashes in the country.
'We felt that too many crashes have occurred in Nigeria, and that it is proper that we have a professional advice so that we can know what contribution we can make to the Federal Government. Not that because our colleague was involved, after all, the general who died was not our colleague,' he said.
The PDP meeting was said to have discussed issues of bonding within the party and charting a way forward.
It was also learnt that the parley discussed the 2013 budget just passed by the National Assembly.
Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State, who briefed reporters at the end of the meeting, said it was meant to ensure a coordinated approach to issues.
His words: 'I think it is very important that the President should meet us because we can understand and appreciate the issues better so that this country will have better leadership.
'And then we can have better ways of governing the country. So, he called us and solicited our support.
'It is all about bonding together. We understand that sometimes there are statements that are not coordinated in the states and at the centre, and meanwhile, we are running the same government.
'Majority of us are in the same party. All that we discussed here among the president, the governors and the party is about how we can bound the party together.
'If we have that bonding together, all the seeming misunderstandings, some of them are artificial anyway, will be resolved. And that will create a better room and enabling environment for all of us at all levels to provide better leadership for this country which is what I think is very important for this country at this point in time.'
Also speaking on the meeting Chief Olisa Metuh, PDP National Publicity Secretary said it addressed ' issues facing the nation; x-raying the outgoing year and looking forward to the new year; the vision of the President in line with the agenda of the party and how we want to ensure that we provide for the people of Nigeria. That is the most important thing that we discussed.
'We want to assure Nigerians that the PDP is ready and able to satisfy the aspirations of Nigerians. We are going to produce a lot of reforms and innovations in the new year to ensure that the people of Nigeria will be happy with the party in government.'
On his reaction to the allegation that the PDP instigated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to proscribe some political parties, Metuh dismissed the allegation as frivolous.
'It is normal in a football match. When there is a winning team, the losing team will always accuse the referee of bias. We are not the referees, we are not the arbiters, we are part of the team, we are all playing, we listen like them and we await the decision of the INEC and we will abide by the decision of the INEC. It is an independent body,' he said.
Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Joy Emordi, said that the issue of budget came up for discussion amongst other issues.
When asked if the budget was part of the discussions at the meeting, she answered in the affirmative, saying: 'Yes, it was discussed like every other thing, and I do not think that there is any problem with the budget passed.'