The Presidency has finally given a reason for supporting the creation of the Peoples’ Democratic Party Governors’ Forum, saying it was not satisfied with the way the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi ran the Nigerian Governors’ Forum.
This statement was made by the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, who said Amaechi ran the NGF as its chairman as a trade union and without having recourse to the laid down party mechanism of resolving issues and in a manner completely contrary to what the PDP leaders expected of a governor elected on the party’s platform.
Gulak, who made this statement on an interview programme on Channels Television, added that the PDP decided to establish a forum for its governors since the presence of opposition governors in the NGF meant that the PDP had no influence on it.
He said, “The PDP, whether it likes Governor Amaechi to lead the Nigeria Governors’ Forum or not, it does not have influence on the forum because other governors are there.
“But what we believe is that the leadership of Amaechi in that forum has completely gone contrary to what PDP expects a PDP governor to do.
“The Nigeria Governors’ Forum has really constituted itself as a trade union, some elder statesmen have really come out to explain things in that perspective.
“For instance, about three weeks ago, Prof. Jubril Aminu came out publicly to say the NGF is not supposed to be a trade union. It is supposed to be an association of governors coming together to discuss common challenges in the country, not to hold the country to ransom.”
He lamented the penchant of the forum to threaten court actions over little things.
“Small thing, they will threaten to go to court contrary to the mechanism within PDP to solve issues. I hope the leadership of the NGF has not done well in that regard as far as we PDP are concerned.
“Our expectation from any governor from the PDP is to first and foremost explore all avenues within the party mechanism to see how issues and problems are solved.”
Gulak said the manner of Amaechi’s leadership at the helm of affairs of the NGF and his refusal to subject himself to party supremacy had caused few people within the PDP to be happy.
“I believe and everybody within the PDP, nobody should pretend that we are happy with the leadership of the NGF. We are not happy because of their attitude, because of their refusal to really explore the mechanism within the party.
“We believe that as chairman of the NGF and as a PDP governor and as a member of the PDP, Amaechi should subject himself to the supremacy of the party and the leadership of the party.
“We have our elder statesmen at the Board of Trustees, some issues must be referred to them for discussion and to proffer solutions.
“We believe that the BOT for example is the conscience of the party and the party is supreme and the party can” question anybody.
He also wondered why the controversy over the emergence of the PDP Governors’ Forum when governors on other platforms such as the Action Congress of Nigeria have been meeting.
He said the establishment of the new forum was one of the ways the PDP was using to strategise to meet up with the challenges that the merging opposition political parties could pose to the ruling party.
He said, “The PDP as a party has decided to have its own Governors’ Forum. Why do we have the ACN Governors’ Forum for example? The ACN governors, though very few in number, meet from time to time to discuss their party, to discuss their common challenges and aspiration.
“Why should people lose sleep because the PDP as a party has decided to form its governors’ forum?
“You are aware that these other political parties, the Congress for Progressive Change, ACN, and All Progressives Grand Alliance recently said they better come together to form another party that will challenge PDP; of course, we encourage them to have a party that will be national in outlook.
“But we cannot sit down as a party to watch them. We have to come back home and strategise and call our governors to strategise.
“Though these people are few in number: the ACN plus CPC plus ANPP is equal to APC is less than the PDP, but we have to strengthen ourselves, move out and continue mobilisation and the good work the PDP as a party has been doing.”
His statement elicited a reaction from the Director-General of the NGF, Dr AsishanaOkauru, who rejected the tag of a trade union on the forum.
“The NGF operates as a policy hub and it is responsible for servicing all the 36 governors across party lines. It (NGF) is not a political association and it is not run like a trade union,” he told one of our correspondents in Port Harcourt.
Another reaction came from the Publicity Secretary of the Rivers State chapter of the PDP, Mr George Ukwuoma-Nwogba, who said it was wrong for anyone to accuse Amaechi of running the forum like a trade union.
He stated that it was only ignorance of administration that would conclude that the forum was being run like a trade union by Amaechi, whom he described as a leader of governors.