The faction of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum under the leadership of Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi met yesterday in Abuja, with 15 governors in attendance. Yesterday’s meeting was the first to be convened by Amaechi since his re-election as chairman of the Forum of 36 states governors in a controversial election.
Speculation was rife yesterday that the meeting was postponed in deference to President Goodluck Jonathan who had also fixed a dinner with the 36 governors for yesterday night. Daily Sun checks however revealed that some of the governors in the Amaechi camp insisted that the meeting must hold in order not to give impression to the Jonah Jang led faction of the Forum that the Amaechi group has no followers.
Further checks revealed that besides governor Amaechi five PDP governors also honoured his invitation for the meeting. The list include the Chairman of Northern states Governors Forum and Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, his Jigawa and Kano states counterpart, Sule Lamido and Rabiu Kwankwaso and governors Murtala Nyako and Dr. Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Adamawa and Sokoto states.
Others in attendance were governors of Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Zamfara, Edo, Nasarawa and Imo states. The governors of Osun and Borno were represented by their deputies. The meeting lasted for 45 minutes before the governors rose to proceed to the Presidential Villa for the dinner appointment with President Jonathan.
There was no communique at the end of the meeting. Chairman of the Forum, Rotimi Amaechi told journalists that the meeting was cut short to meet up with dinner appointment with President Jonathan.
“There was no meeting, we decided to differ to the president. We agreed that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that as compatriots and as governors of different states, we must honour and respect the president and having invited us to a dinner, we decided to go for the dinner.”
On when the meeting would be re-convened, Amaechi said, “the next meeting will be at the next National Economic Council, NEC meeting.” Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, however, gave indication that they might still reconvene yesterday night.
“We are going to the Villa to honour Mr. President invitation to a dinner. If the dinner ends in good time, we would be back for our meeting. If it stretches much longer than we anticipate, we would sit with the President.” The Forum of 36 states governors had since been polarised into two camps following the rejection of the Forum election held on 24th May, 2013, where the Rivers State governor polled 19 votes, as against his rival, Jonah Jang of Plateau State who scored 16 votes.
The Jang faction which has Ondo State Governor, Segun Mimmiko as deputy chairman had since vowed not to recognise Governor Amaechi’s leadership of the Forum as it claimed that the chairman of the Forum had always emerged through consensus, not election.
The governor Jang faction had since opened a parallel secretariat in Maitama area of Abuja.