Court Ruling: G7 govs, Atiku vow to fight on
BARELY 24 hours after a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja barred the Kawu Baraje-led faction of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from parading themselves as 'New PDP', the revolting governors, led by Niger State governor, Muazu Babangida Aliyu, have resolved to fight on.
This comes as the Presidency and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), Saturday, disagreed sharply on allegations of impunity in handling the political situation in Rivers State.
The G7 closed-door meeting, which lasted several hours, at the private residence of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, took place few days after Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State hosted APC leaders, led by the party's National Vice chairman, Northeast Zone, Alhaji Umar Duhu, at the Government House. Nyako is said to have also anchored the governors' meeting that was reportedly attended by representatives of five 'rebel' governors of Jigawa, Kwara, Kano, Rivers and Sokoto.
Credible sources said that the meeting was to fashion out new strategies that could ground the 2015 ambition of President Jonathan, who was given a clean bill by his party to run for the general elections.
The governors were said to have resolved not to stop the battle unless the President withdraws his ambition to contest the 2015 election, and the national chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, resigns from office.
It was further gathered that the revolting group also agreed to remain in the PDP, but work for a northern presidential candidate in the newly registered All Progressive Congress (APC).
Further investigation revealed that the rebel group at their Yola meeting asked Atiku to drop his ambition of using the newly registered Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) platform to contest the presidential poll in 2015 and, instead, lead the battle to save the interest of the North in 2015
The meeting also agreed that it would influence the APC leadership to produce a northern Christian Presidential candidate in other to dilute the religious politics some PDP members are championing to defend the 2015 presidential ambition of Jonathan.
The Niger State governor, Aliyu, who spoke yesterday in Yola during the turbaning ceremony of Mr. Daniel Madu Bwala, said that the fight is to defend the North, as well as for Justice, fairness, accountability and transparency in the party.
He said that lack of internal democracy in the PDP, as ruling party, could destroy the entire democratic system in the country.
For some reasons not too hard to conjecture, Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, and his Rivers State has remained in the news following alleged 'political' squabbles between the prominent member of the 'G7 rebel governors' forum' and the Presidency regarding, among other issues, the call to redeploy the State Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu.
But the Presidency and the opposition APC, yesterday, disagreed sharply on allegations of impunity in handling the political situation in the state.
While the presidency, through the Special Adviser to the President (Media &Publicity), Reuben Abati, denied meddling in the 'domestic affairs' of Rivers, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the interim national publicity secretary of the APC, told The Guardian that 2015 elections would face some challenges unless the political situation in Rivers State is checked.
Accusing The Presidency of impunity, Mohammed wondered why President Jonathan would retain Mbu in Rivers despite the fact that both chambers of the National Assembly passed resolutions recommending his redeployment.
'Even the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)', the APC scribe said, 'gave an ultimatum that was, as well, ignored.' According to him, there is the danger of replicating the Rivers incident(s) in other states. '…If this madness goes on, it will be replicated in other states come 2015. What happened in the Delta Central Senatorial by-election the previous Saturday was just a sample of what we have been crying about. In a situation where we have commissioners of police, who are untouchable and above the law like Mr. Mbu, in any state, then the result of the election of the state will be a forgone conclusion.
Describing Jonathan as a fascist, Mohammed said: 'Let us concede, not admit, that the problem in the state is between the first family and Governor Amaechi. As long as he (Amaechi) remains the governor of Rivers State, he has constitutional roles to play. It is either you remove him or he resigns. But as long as he has not been removed and has not resigned, he remains the governor of the state. You (therefore) cannot continue to treat him the way he is being treated.'
But Abati, who described the opposition as being 'good at thinking the worst of the best situation,' disagreed with the APC scribe and, instead, referred to Mr. President as a democrat. 'No. I disagree. President Jonathan runs a democratic administration. He has been consistent in demonstrating that this is a free, democratic country under the rule of law, and that both the leaders and the governed have an obligation to conduct themselves within the bounds of the law,' said Abati
'His commitment to free and fair elections, his assenting to the Freedom of Information Law, his promotion of a culture of openness and dialogue: these provide clear evidence that he is truly a democratic leader. He took an oath of office to defend and promote a Constitution that is anchored on democratic principles, and he has been very faithful to that. Why fascism? Where did you get that word? That must have been invented in the present circumstance by someone trapped in a time warp,' he said.
On the Rivers crisis, Abati said: 'When there was a scuffle in the Rivers State House of Assembly, the National Assembly, which has the constitutional responsibility to do so, waded into the matter, and as it happened, it decided to take over the functions of the State Assembly in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Even if the Presidency is concerned, it has no powers to overrule. THE GUARDIAN