by Stanley Azuakola
The crisis within the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) assumed a new dimension in the early hours of Monday after governors elected on the platform of the PDP and some party leaders including President Goodluck Jonathan met at the state house for several hours.
It’s unclear what was discussed at the meeting, but the conclusion is that a new forum was formed: The PDP Governors Forum. The new forum would be led by Gov. Godswill Akpabio, a key ally of President Jonathan.
Although Akpabio claimed that the new forum would not be at loggerheads wih the older Nigeria Governors Forum, it is clear that the decision to launch the new forum was part of the plot to help whittle down the influence of the main governors forum and especially that of its current chairman, Rotimi Amaechi.
The forum is expected to be at par with the already divided NGF led by Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State.
Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting that extended into the early hours of Monday morning, Akpabio said, “The Governors Forum still subsists and the new forum will not lead to a crack in the larger forum as other political parties also have the right to form a similar forum.
“There was no move to remove the Rivers Governor as chairman of the Governors’ Forum.”
The decision to form the PDP Governors Forum might have been reached probably because the anti-Amaechi forces did not have enough numbers to ensure his removal in an election.
The idea of a counter forum strictly for PDP governors and led by an ally of the president is the next best thing for the ambitions of President Jonathan, especially as his first battle in the race to 2015 would be within the PDP itself.
Akpabio said the forum would only be meeting and be taking decisions on issues affecting the party.
He said that his emergence as chairman was unanimous, and promised to lead his colleagues with respect as he is only “the first among equal.”
PDP chairman, Bamanga Tukur, another key ally of President Jonathan, presented Akpabio to journalists.
During the presentation of Akpabio to journalists, the Rivers governor, Rotimi Amaechi was conspicuously absent although he was present at the meeting where the decision on Akpabio’s emergence was taken.