NGF: Presidency angry with Akpabio, others

By The Citizen

There were indications on Saturday that the Presidency was not happy with the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, because of the outcome of the Nigerian Governors' Forum election, which returned the incumbent, Governor Rotimi Amaechi, to office for the next two years.

A presidential source, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said the Presidency felt betrayed that the election was allowed to hold in the first place.

The source said Akpabio had informed the Presidency that he had the majority of the governors with him.

According to the source, who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, the plan was to go the venue of the election with the endorsements by the northern governors and the governors of the Peoples Democratic Party, that Governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, was their candidate.

In the endorsements, the two bodies had said they were supporting Jang, which made the duo of Ibrahim Shema and Isa Yuguda step down.

But unknown to the Akpabio group, the dummy to put Jang's candidacy forward was meant to weaken the group.

'What we said was that they should not allow election to hold. We asked them to go with the resolutions of the governors of the PDP and that of the northern states.

'We knew that some of the governors could not be trusted if they are allowed to vote. They have grudges against the party and the Presidency.

'That was why we wanted them to stick by the earlier endorsements. But they allowed the opposition to overwhelm them with their arguments and see the mess we found ourselves.'

At the end of the election, Jang was defeated by the Governor of Rivers State, who is also the incumbent chairman of the Forum.

Members of the Akpabio group later met in Abuja on Saturday at the Benue State Governors's Lodge in Abuja, where they held their maiden meeting.

At the end of the meeting, the group decided to visit the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the party, Chief Tony Anenih and Vice-President Namadi Sambo to explain their side of the story.

The meeting with Anenih was held behind closed doors at his residence in Asokoro, Abuja.

Among those who were at the meeting included Jang, Akpabio and the acting Governor of Taraba State, Alhaji Garba Umar.

As soon as the meeting ended, the team moved to the Presidential Villa to brief the vice-president.

Those whose names were on the list of the governors at the meeting were Jang, Idris Wada(Kogi), Suswam, Sullivian Chime(Enugu), Martin Elechi(Ebonyi), Yuguda, Theodore Orji(Abia), Mimiko, Shema, Ralman Yero(Kaduna) and Emmanuel Uduaghan(Delta).

Others were Obi, Garba Umar(Taraba), Imoke, Akpabio, Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) and the deputy governor of Gombe State,  Thannod Rubainu.

However, both Chime and Elechi were not seen at the meeting even though their signatures appeared on the list.