By NBF News

Yar'Adua: Senators move to checkmate governors
…Want full support for Jonathan's presidency
From AMOS DUNIA, Abuja
Monday, March 08, 2010
The stage seems set for what may look as a showdown between members of the National Interest Group in the Senate made up of more than 86 Senators and the Governors Forum.

The Senators are determined to checkmate the Governors Forum to ensure that Acting President Goodluck Jonathan takes absolute control of the governance of the country without any hindrance.

This is coming on the heels of emerging details as reasons adduced by the Governors Forum that rose from its emergency meeting in Abuja last Tuesday declaring support for ailing President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua to remain as President while Dr. Jonathan should continue to serve as acting president.

The Senators in the NIG are expressing concern that a body such as the Governors Forum that is not known to law is now being allowed to take control of national issues by singing different tunes at different times.

The NIG members therefore resolved to ensure that the Governors Forum does not dictate the political pace any longer in the spirit of true federalism.

'We want to tell these governors to face governance in their respective states that are begging for attention and leave the Presidency to those that are constitutionally empowered to oversee it and that is the National Assembly and not a forum that is unknown to the law,' a member of the NIG in the senate said.

Daily Sun authoritatively gathered that the governors who are presently in control of the machinery of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) particularly the National Executive Committee of the ruling party reasoned that their interest in 2011 may not be properly protected in a Dr. Jonathan's presidency, thus the need to checkmate him by making him remain in acting capacity even if President Yar'Adua does not get well enough to resume work.

However, Senators in the NIG are so uncomfortable with the stand of the governors who they see as mere political opportunists who want to eat their cake and have it.

A senator and member of the NIG told Daily Sun that the governors are merely afraid of losing 'control of our party (PDP) as a Jonathan Presidency may want to move to ensure that there is genuine electoral reform and other policies that may not favour the interest of majority of the governors who are quite aware that if there is genuine, free and fair elections in the country, a lot of them would have to go back to their villages to remain local champions.

'I can tell you very frankly that the resolution of the Governors Forum was all about protecting their interest in 2011 by ensuring that Jonathan does not take control of the structures of the PDP.

'Are these not the same governors that rushed to the National Assembly wanting to beg us to make Dr. Jonathan Acting President except that before they came, we had already passed a resolution authorizing him(Jonathan) to assume office as acting president, so why the sudden change?' the Senator stressed.

It was further gathered that members of the National Interest Group have therefore resolved that the acting president must not only be seen to be totally incharge but must be effectively in control while the governors should be made to face issues affecting their respective states.

Daily Sun learnt that most of the senators prefer a situation where acting president Jonathan is fully incharge to protect the general interest of credible and popular candidates as against the firm grip of the governors, some of whom are already appointing all manner of Special Advisers and Assistants as a build up towards 2011.

Already, two of the governors under the platform of the PDP, one from the South-South and the other from the North Central state and another AC governor from the South and the only APGA governor are believed to be opposed to the decision of their forum and have commenced subtle moves to tilt the tide in favour of Acting President Jonathan.