NGF Election: How Three Governors Back-Stabbed President Jonathan

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… As Two NGF Factions Emerge With Jang and Amaechi As Chairman

SAN FRANCISCO, May 24, (THEWILL) - As the controversy surrounding the re-election of Rivers State governor, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, as the new Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) continues, indications have emerged that three out of the 19 governors who actually signed the document endorsing Plateau State Governor, Jonah David Jang, as the new chairman, actually made a volte face during the secret election, thus backstabbing President Goodluck Jonathan and the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) .

The NGF had always chosen its Chairman through a consensus arrangement even though the constitution of the influential association prescribes for an election.

Amaechi had won the secret ballot election by 19 votes to 16 to defeat Jang and analysts believe that three out of the 19 governors who initially signed the document endorsing Jang voted the other way for Amaechi during the election thus making a mess of the political calculation of the ruling party.

Only the Gombe State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, who had previously signed the document electing Jang was absent at the NGF meeting where the PDP has a majority of 25 out of the 36 states Governors that make up the forum.

Two PDP leaders told THEWILL that some governors may have signed the document endorsing Jang for fear of intimidation by the presidency.

Fingers are already pointing in the direction of the Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatal Ahmed, who is considered a stooge of the former Governor of the state, Senator Bukola Saraki, who is now a member of the National Assembly.

There has been no lost love between Saraki and Jonathan since the power struggle at the Presidency that ended with the demise of President Umaru Yar’Adua on May 5, 2010.

Saraki also declared his candidacy for the 2011 Presidential election setting him up against President Jonathan before a consensus arrangement with some northern politicians saw him drop out of the race for former vice president Atiku Abubakar.

THEWILL also recalls that it was Senator Saraki that blew the lid on the fuel subsidy scam that fuelled the petroleum subsidy riot that almost brought down the government of President Goodluck Jonathan in January 2012. Saraki had claimed that funds from the scam were used to fund the election of President Jonathan in 2011.

The Presidency thereafter subtly moved against Saraki who declared wanted by the police anti-fraud unit and questioned over an alleged N21 billion naira fraudulent loan, which a company linked to him obtained from the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc. He was however not charged.

Observers believe that Governor Ahmed may just be allegedly playing along with his mentor in the unfinished business with Jonathan and the pay back time, observers say, may just be here for supporters of Saraki to pay Jonathan and his loyalists back in their own coin.

The identities of the other two governors who betrayed Jonathan and the PDP were not yet clear at the time of filing this report.

However, apparently shocked by the outcome of the election, Governors of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors Forum (PDPGF) and at least two Governors of the opposition parties had rejected the re-election of Amaechi as Chairman of the enlarged NGF. 

The Governors led by PDPGF Chairman and Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio, in a briefing after the election of Amaechi was announced, said the election conducted by Amaechi was unnecessary as 19 Governors mostly of the PDP who control the majority in the forum had previously endorsed and signed documents electing Plateau State Governor, Jang, as Chairman of the NGF. 

Akpabio backed by Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan (PDP); Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi (APGA); Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko (LP); Abia State Governor, Mr. Thoedore Orji (PDP) amongst others, showed journalists a document signed by the 19 Governors who make up the 36-member NGF.

The document clearly showed the 19 State Governors in their own handwritings and signatures adopting Jang and Mimiko as Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the NGF respectively. 

See document below: