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NGF – Time for a Conclave of Elders

| May 30, 2013 More

You had to look elsewhere even if you were in a ‘siddon look’ mode, to ignore the debacle from the Nigerian Governors Forum. It is a story told many times and in many ways, 35 Governors of Nigerian States, locked in a room to elect one leader among themselves, came out with two. Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi as returned elected Chairman of the Forum, and Plateau State’s Jonah David Jang as declared by Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, believed to be the Presidential point man, Chairman of the PDP Governor’s Forum and leader of the losing side.

From whatever angle you view matters, it cannot be denied, there has occurred a fundamental injury to the national psyche. My affordable solace should have come from the fact that it is entirely an ruling Peoples Democratic Party Matter, but then the Nigerian Governors Forums includes non PDP Governors, and therefore affects the whole country. As I have often quoted the late Senator Uba Ahmed, “a crisis in the ruling party is a national crisis – what affects the ruling party affects the Government and the nation”, the crisis in the party over the soured relationship between President Jonathan and Governor Amaechi has eventually engulfed the nation.

When the Adamawa PDP Executive was dissolved by National Chairman Bamanga Tukur’s National Working Committee, I drew attention to what ominous clouds were following on the heels of that seeming storm in a teacup. Since then, things have gotten worse coming up to this present embarrassing impasse with the Nigerian Governors Forum split in two.

We must understand that this incident, as unnerving as it appears, is normal in the Peoples Democratic Party if we recall that we once had President Olusegun Obasanjo and his Vice President like at fisticuffs. The conflict between The Presidency and the Governor of Rivers State Rotimi Amaechi is child’s play since it is merely for the soul of the Governors Forum which many wish to call a non Governmental Organization. This the Peoples Democratic Party doing it its way. In the end, it will paper over all cracks and gullible Nigerians will be told it is a mere family affair.

But at what cost? By the time it plays out, we assume it will consume Amaechi who has no powers against the Federal might. The Presidency is determined Goodluck Jonathan must run for President in 2015 unchallenged so the dragnet will widen to consume more Governors. Regrettably a look at the main dramatis persona in the ongoing macabre dance reveals how it is the most accomplished governors, mostly of the PDP that are on the firing line.

If we recall that in 2007, while President Olusegun Obasanjo succeeded in denying President Atiku his ambition to rule the country, he was also denied his third term bid no thanks to Atiku’s counter “insurgency”. Both noble men lost whatever they desired even as Obasanjo has continued to deny to this day that he ever wanted a third term.

If there was a lesson in the Obasanjo/Atiku feud, both men lost, and President Goodluck Jonathan should know that he cannot possibly win them all. Between now and 2015 is a long haul and fraught with high and low tides.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has meanwhile been speaking and has called on the founding fathers of the Peoples Democratic Party to come together to save the party from crises capable of leading to avoidable implosion.

Atiku said he was “disturbed by the worsening polarization of the party and the internal divisions which might weaken the party structures at the state and deepen the crisis between the governors and the President.”

For the sake of the country, one would support the former VP’s view of a way forward – a view expressed by columnist Adagbo Onoja succinctly in one of his write-ups calling for a conclave of elders of the PDP to determine if it is in the interest of the party to have the President run again. The worries that President Goodluck will make a bad Presidential ticket in 2015 have for long not been discussed in hushed tones in the different circles of the party.

You would expect that across the aisle you would find the opposition working hard to take advantage of the crisis in the PDP, but it is awfully quiet there, partly in hope that indeed the feared implosion would occur and the Alliance for Progressive Change would reap from the fall out. Fact however is that the APC is itself faced with its 2015 woes even at this onset – for it is hard to see how the issue of a flag bearer would be sorted out without causing ripples in the ruling party.

In 2007, no such conclave was required by President Obasanjo to locate a successor in President Umar Musa Yar’adua. President Obasanjo was the only conclave and vacillated from Odili of Rivers State and Mu’azu of Bauchi State before settling for ailing Yar’adua. Obasanjo and Atiku gave clout to the Governors’ Forum, in a political system where the congress for the nomination of the Presidential candidate depends on state delegates shepherded to a vote by each State Governor. But look who is gnashing teeth now, for no one can claim to be more disappointed about the state of the nation than President Obasanjo even if he has not spoken about matters yet. The Nigerian Governors Forum is furthermore crucial purely because of the established assurance of two thirds majority in a Presidential poll which the Governors alone can provide.

A chairman of the forum that is aloof to a PDP president that wants to run in 2015 is undoubtedly uncomfortable. But there is a crack in the boat! And yet sitting pretty in all this, is National Chairman Bamanga Tukur, who appears to have hopped stepped and jumped out of the downward slide of his leadership and is holding bargaining chips. A sitting of founding fathers is a necessity before the Party kills its own children, as it is won’t to have courtesy of Hausa Folk singer Haruna Ningi’s ‘Shegiyar Uwa’ (bastard mother).

Category: Bauchi State News

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