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The Message of the Governors

| May 28, 2013 More

The re-election of Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, as the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) is a refreshing streak of politics in a polity already seized by petty-minded and self-centred politicians. Amaechi’s triumph is a stern rebuke of the overreaching and overbearing politics of President Goodluck Jonathan and his party. Wherever Jonathan was that Friday, he couldn’t have slept well; he must have had a nightmare induced by Amaechi’s victory over Ibrahim Shema or Isa Yuguda or David Jang or whoever was it that lost the NGF election. President Jonathan was reportedly antagonistic of the re-election of Amaechi and so had drafted, first, the Governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shema, and later, his Bauchi State counterpart, Isa Yuguda, before finally settling for David Jonah Jang of Plateau State.

To begin with, the election of Amaechi has strengthened his hands in his face-off with political buccaneers and anti-democratic elements intent on overawing and unseating him. It is Amaechi who will sleep better now knowing that his colleagues still have confidence in him. His victory must have shocked his adversaries both in Port Harcourt and Abuja and put to shame those who even hours to the NGF election had promised to fix things for Jonathan.

Secondly, Nigerian Governors have liberated themselves and overcome the fear of Jonathan. The threat of withdrawing security for the Governors and inviting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate them over financial misdeeds is empty, because Nigerians know that there is nothing that happens in the 36 Government Houses that doesn’t happen inside the Villa. If the president withdraws their security cover, they have every reason to make alternative provisions for themselves and challenge him in court. As for financial crime, a dispassionate investigation of such expenditure as amnesty, the cost of the so called new residence for the Vice President, replacement of cutlery in the Villa, NNPC books, or budget implementation, is bound to reveal sleaze and so those Governors can as well brace up for Kunar Bakin Wake, in the larger interest of the country. This country is so misguided that if something different is not done in 2015, there will be serious rupture.

Thirdly, by Amaechi’s victory, Bamanga Tukur, Godswill Akpabio, Tony Anenih and Jonathan have lost face. Every effort had been made to stop him and every one of those efforts had floundered. They staked so much but reaped the whirlwind. Clearly, this is the beginning of the end of the Jonathan reign and the dominance of the PDP. The attempt to seize the available space in readiness for another declaration in 2015 is founded on miscalculated sums.

Fourthly, the re-election of Amaechi, despite the presidential orders forbidding such, shows that Jonathan is defeatable. If the president and his handlers cannot guarantee the election of their candidates in a Forum with 36 voters, despite the resources at their disposal and the threats of retribution for those who refuse to kowtow, it demonstrates that Jonathan is firmly on the road to electoral defeat in 2015, if he dares contest. If you cannot corral and command the support of just 19 of the so called 23 Governors from the Peoples Democratic Party, then your opponents have taken the wind out of your sail.

Equally, by re-electing Chibuike Amaechi as Chairman of the NGF, the Governors have preserved an increasingly important power centre. At a time when Jonathan is overreaching himself to prove he is not weak, the country needs such a very important power block to check him. The revelation that he has given himself power to seize and administer the funds belonging to the three states under his emergency raises questions about the limits presidential authority in a Federation. What if he turns over the seized money to the PDP or some of his cronies?

On a personal note, Amaechi remains a hard nut to crack. Those who have been working on the blueprint that will remove the Governor have to return to the drawing board, as it is often said in this country. Amaechi has proved that when it comes to forming alliances and winning the confidence of diverse interests, he is head and shoulder above provincial calculators working on analogue. Amaechi, like him or not, is clearly a focused, courageous, purposeful and shrewd fighter. He has outfoxed and outflanked the presidency. This is to be expected because the post-Obasanjo political era revealed a chivalrous Amaechi able to regain what is his. Amaechi had challenged in court his party’s mishandling of its primary election when it sought to replace him with his cousin, Celestine Omaehia, prior to the 2007 gubernatorial election. By the time the Supreme Court restored him, his ticket had already won the election.

Furthermore, Amaechi’s re-election has shown that the NGF is beyond the control of a fatigued political party called PDP and remains a platform for all political tendencies. The NGF is pan Nigerian and represents broader interests of five political parties – All Nigeria Peoples Party, All Progressives Grand Alliance, the Labour Party and the Congress for Progressive Change, and not just the PDP. Since last weekend, I have heard people hail the outcome of the NGF election saying it presents a counterpoint to the scary, arm-twisting and desperate politics inspired by the PDP.

The message from the Governors is unmistakable: they will not allow those who will variously use religion, ethnicity and money to secure allegiance, while they drive our country to Golgotha.

Category: Bauchi State News

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