How Amaechi beat Jang to retain NGF seat; Akpabio, Mimiko, others cry foul

Rotimi Amaechi

Rotimi Amaechi

by Isi Esene

The election of Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi as the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum has attracted controversy with opposing governors alleging that the election was rigged in his favour.

In the keenly contested election which took place of Friday at the Rivers State Government lodge, Abuja, Amaechi defeated Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau state by 19 to 16 votes to retain his position as NGF chairman.

[READ: Amaechi re-elected as NGF chairman]

The governors of Katsina, Ibrahim Shema and that of Borno, Isa Yuguda had earlier stepped down for Jang, a late entrant, to go toe-to-toe with Amaechi who had also been earlier advised to step aside.

Read the Premium Times report below:

Mr. Jang was allegedly propped up a few hours to the election by Mr. Jonathan, backed by some top brass of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who wanted Mr. Amaechi out at all cost.

Both Messrs Amaechi and Jang belong to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which has 23 out of the 36 members of the Forum.

The position of the vice chairman of the Forum was picked up by the Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, who emerged unopposed following last minute withdrawal of the Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, a member of Labour Party, LP, from the contest.

Akpabio, others reject results

However, in a curious twist of events, some governors led by the Chairman of PDP Governors Forum, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, rejected the result of the poll which was conducted by secret ballot, saying it was rigged in favour of Mr. Amaechi.

Mr. Akpabio told journalists after a meeting of the opposed governors at the Akwa Ibom State Governors Lodge, Asokoro District, to which they retreated, that the ballot papers used for the election did not have serial numbers; adding that they would recognize Messrs Jang and Mimiko as the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Forum, respectively.

The Akpabio-led governors claimed Mr. Amaechi and his supporters rigged the election. Mr. Akpabio told journalists that the Rivers State Governor failed to step down prior to the election. He, however, did not state why he and his supporters, who said they voted for Mr. Jang, agreed to proceed with the election despite their claims.

Some of those that aligned with Mr. Akpabio include Mr. Mimiko, Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta, Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa, and Mr. Jang.

Jubilation

The Rivers State Governors Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja, the venue of the election, was thrown into was wild jubilation after Mr. Amaechi’s victory. Leading the victory celebration was Ibim Semenitari, the Rivers Commissioner for Information who danced to no music few minutes before the results were officially announced.

The meeting where the election held was attended by 35 governors, which cut across six parties, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; Action Congress of Nigeria, CAN; All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP; Congress for Progressive Party, CPC; Labour Party; and the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.

Only the Kebbi State Governor, Saidu Dakingari, did not attend the meeting. 35 governors voted in the election and 35 votes were counted.

[READ: NGF election: “Today our democracy was tested and proven” – Amaechi gives acceptance speech; Akpabio rejects outcome]

Intrigues and intense horse-trading preceded the election, which had heated up the polity; with Mr. Jonathan and other leaders of the PDP, including its National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur; and Board of Trustees Chairman, Tony Anenih, showing interest in who emerges the chairman and vice chairman of the Forum. Mr. Anenih had earlier in the week alleged that the NGF had been hijacked by opposition governors.

The president’s discreet intervention is also said to have been responsible for the withdrawal of the Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema; and his Bauchi State counterpart, Isa Yuguda; both of whom were allegedly thrown up by Mr. Jonathan to challenge Mr. Amaechi.

Messrs Shema and Yuguda had on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, picked the nomination forms indicating their readiness to contest the chairmanship seat.
Sources, however, said that the two men were prevailed upon by the Northern State Governors Forum, NSGF, at its meeting held at the Niger State Governors Lodge, Abuja, earlier in the day, to step down for Mr. Jang in what appeared to be a move to soften the hearts of the governors opposed to the president.

The governors of the PDP also held a separate meeting chaired by Mr. Akpabio at the Akwa Ibom State Governors Lodge where it was agreed that like the NSGF, Mr. Jang would be presented as the consensus candidate of the party and Mr. Mimiko of the Labour Party, his deputy.

On their part, 11 opposition governors, who belong to the All Progressives Congress, APC, the product of the merger of ACN, CPC, ANPP and a faction of APGA, met at the Lagos House in the Central Business District of the territory to plot their strategies. The opposition votes are believed to have all gone for Mr. Amaechi.

The intrigues

Following his endorsement by the NSGF and the Presidency, Mr. Jang entered the race and immediately picked the nomination form at about 3 p.m. on Friday, about one hour before the commencement of the election; contrary to the constitution of NGF, which states that the letter of intent should be submitted a day before an election.

Interestingly, Mr. Amaechi attended the PDP governor’s meeting where Mr. Jang was picked as the consensus candidate of the party, but did not oppose the choice.

Just before the election commenced, Mr. Akpabio submitted consensus signatures which they had earlier harvested at the PDP governors’ meeting, saying Mr. Jang was their consensus candidate and therefore there should be no election.

However, the Rivers State Governor resisted Mr. Akpabio, who tried to cause a stir. In the midst of the confusion, the Akwa Ibom governor was seen moving in and out of the hall making frantic telephone believed to be in the presidency.

The resistance of the group led by the Akwa Ibom State Governor did not hold for too long as they were overwhelmed by the pro-Amaechi group, who insisted that the election should hold.

The election held and Mr. Amaechi defeated Mr. Jang by 19 to 16 votes; a result now being contested by Mr. Akpabio and his supporters.

The new claim by Mr. Akpabio and his group that they would not recognize Mr. Amaechi’s victory is expected to throw the governors’ forum into a fresh round of crisis.


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  • PDP members are allow opposition to be using them like cows. It is very interesting to have Ameachi back as NGF chairman mr AKpabio should allow peace to reign but mr president should be careful.

    ifere May 25, 2013 10:00 am
  • PDP members are allow opposition to be using them like cows. It is very interesting to have Ameachi back as NGF chairman mr AKpabio should allow peace to reign but mr president should be careful for He has been surround by evil men.

    ifere May 25, 2013 10:01 am
  • Its an interesting scenario, it shows the beauty of democracy. I urge the losing side to approach the court of law,if possible the Supreme Court!!!

    Ishaka May 25, 2013 10:20 am
  • Ameachi is a disgrace to Niger Delta people and to the entire PDP! He is a confused person, how can Ameachi allow the opposition to use him against His own brother. Ameachi remember that you are a South South man not South East or Northerner. Do You think that, the northerners or East will allow you to become VP president if they want to contest! Stop fooling yourself Ameachi… Akpabio and other keep on doing good and support the president to achieve a better Nigeria and live the Ameachi the traitor to fool around with Buhari, Ibb and Tonubo. Long Live President Goodluck Jonathan, Long Live Nigeria.

    David K May 25, 2013 10:26 am
    • Young man 4 saying this shows that you are a fool, who doesn’t know a true docmocry. I believe it is better for you to go back to primary school and learn how to speech or make comment on issues like this.

      akaninwo, justice May 25, 2013 1:20 pm
      • Congratulation Gov. Rotimi, its clear dat we re abt to practise a true democracy. Dis is a sign for d so call Mr President. Dis is democracy. Those u oppose amechi to go to hell.mr south – south, I guess we shld stop toying wit d future of naija d way Goodluck is doing.dis is a sample of wat 2015 will looks like. Amechi be focus n neglect distractors. Allways remember in brotherhood we stand.

        dayo legacy May 26, 2013 12:22 am
  • I am surprise by the actions of their execellencies. If this is how PDP and heir gang will in 2015 I am afraid. But if they aare not satisfy with the result they can do another on tuesday but my advise is they should accept showing the attendance sheet at the NNGF

    ojabowale oluwole May 26, 2013 8:24 am
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