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Plot to sack Amaechi as Govs’ Forum Chairman fails

By Donald Ojogo/Abuja

The NGF met on Wednesday night into the early hours of Thursday but merely released a two-point communiqué to the media on the need to strengthen the administration of the Forum and support the fight against polio.

However, an authoritative source close to the NGF, who did not want his name in print, confided in our correspondent that the meeting was convened because of “feelers that some of Amaechi’s colleagues” had reached an agreement with the Presidency to remove him as chairman of the body at any “auspicious time.”

An impeccable source said three Governors, who were the arrowheads of the plot, had a “brief session” with some Presidency officials on Monday night prior to the NGF meeting.

The three Governors are from the South-South, North West and North East.

According to the source, it was in a bid to foil the anti-Amaechi plot that 33 Governors attended the meeting, “the highest number in a long while.”

The source said when the story filtered out that some of Amaechi’s colleagues were collaborating with some ‘outsiders’ to remove him, he decided that it should be properly done if the Forum needed a change of leadership, hence his decision to summon a meeting.

Amaechi also included “change of leadership” in the agenda for discussion.

He was said to have sought to step aside as chairman and asked if any of his colleagues wanted the position but no one indicated interest. Instead,  majority of the Governors insisted that he continued as their chairman.

Most of the Governors who saved Amaechi’s position are from the North together with non-PDP Governors who attended the meeting.

At that point, one of the Governors who had seen the futility of the plot was said to have left the meeting before the close of deliberations.

Amaechi was said to have got wind of the plot through another Governor who also did not attend the meeting.

For some time now, Governors have been having a running battle with the Presidency over the Excess Crude Account. The Governors are already in court over the issue.

On the side of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the relationship between Governors elected on the platform of the party and National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, has been frosty.

The Governors had reversed Tukur’s unilateral sack of the Mijinwa Kaugama-led Adamawa State executive of the PDP and replaced it with a caretaker committee to organise fresh congresses.

The Amaechi-led PDP Governors’ action was in solidarity with the Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako, who supported Kaugama.

State chairmen of the party have equally lent their support to the Governors’ position, calling for a meeting of the National Executive Committee of the party.

The insistence of the Governors for a NEC meeting, it was learnt, has been a thorn in the flesh of the party and the Presidency, just as their action reversing the National Chairman’s dissolution of the Kaugama-led Adamawa SEC had been endorsed by not less than 10 members of the National Working Committee (NWC) before Olagunsoye Oyinlola was sacked as party scribe by a court order.

One of the NWC members, Bode Mustapha, who endorsed the Governors’ position has also been sacked through same court process and has since been replaced as National Auditor of the party.

Two weeks ago, campaign vehicles with the posters of Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido, and Amaechi for the 2015 Presidential ticket were sighted in Kaduna metropolis.

Both are yet to deny or confirm if they would run together as being speculated, but Amaechi told reporters last week that he was qualified to vie for any office in 2015.

Meanwhile, National Woman Leader of the PDP, Kema Chikwe, has vowed that Jonathan must return as President in 2015.

Jonathan had refrained from making categorical statement on the 2015 race, saying it was premature to do so now.

Only last week, Niger State Governor, Muazu Babangida Aliyu, disclosed that the President had a one-term agreement with Governors in 2011.

But the PDP NWC member’s statement is coming on the heels of unconfirmed reports that the leadership of the party was considering altering its constitution to insert the Right of First Refusal in order to confer on Jonathan the right to run as the party’s candidate without going through primary election.

Chikwe, who spoke at the public presentation of the ‘PDP Women in Power 2013 Calendar,’ said the achievements of the Jonathan administration were numerous, particularly in the areas of women empowerment.

“We are even more confident that when President Goodluck Jonathan returns in 2015, women would be talking about 50 per cent and no longer 35 per cent.

“As we give him unequivocal, undiluted, unreserved and unlimited support and as we march with him to 2015, PDP women will reach the promised land

“See what Mr. President has achieved in all spheres of development, road construction, airports, education, water resources, housing, labour, agriculture, trade and industries, military, his unusual transformation is evident in all sectors, in fact, he must return in 2015,” she said.