Governors without character

Precisely because President Jonathan fights with might and means and because PDP is notorious for undermining the spirit of our laws including its own constitution, I predicted a few weeks back that Governor Rotimi Amaechi, despite his acclaimed superlative performance in office, the goodwill of his people and the support of the opposition was not likely going to survive the combined forces of an unforgiving president and a party that loathe the democratic process. That came to pass this Monday when Amaechi, an elected governor, was suspended by his party. This was coming shortly after the suspension of elected members of his state legislature.

PDP and its elected or selected governors despise the democratic process in spite of their professed commitment to democratic rule. Their reaction to Amaechi’s victory in the NGF election and his subsequent suspension from the party has only but confirmed this lack of faith in the democratic process. Beyond this, the PDP governors have by their irresponsible outbursts, infantile lies and unnecessary heating up of the polity just to please the president, demonstrated their weakness of character.

The story was that election for the position of chairmanship of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), was held in which 35 governors participated. The communiqué after the election by the NGF Director-General, Asishana Okauru, confirmed that “The governors of the 36 states of the federation at the sixth meeting of the year elected … for the next two years: chairman, Rt Hon Rotimi Amaechi, governor of Rivers State; and vice chairman, Alhaji Abullaziz Yari, governor of Zamfara State. All the governors present participated in the election except the governor of Yobe State who was not present”, Okauru concluded.” He later told journalists that Governor Amaechi won the election with 19 votes as against 16 votes scored by Governor Jang. He also stated that Governor of Zamfara State Abudlaziz Yari was elected vice-chairman of the forum after Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko stepped down for him.

But without invalidating Okauru’s claims, PDP governors who as we have always said, behave like gangsters, told journalists that 17 governors had chosen Governor Jang as chairman of the NGF while Mimiko would serve as the vice chairman. Their crooked logic was that before the election, Jang had been endorsed by the 19 northern governor’s forum. These bad losers cannot even see the parallel in the triumph of Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the current speaker of the Lower House over the South-west PDP endorsed candidate for the position, ably supported by ex- President Obasanjo and President Jonathan.

Tragically, the battle to discredit an election in which they actively participated was led by Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, the governor of Ondo State who himself has credibility problem. Critics of the very resourceful governor elected on the platform of Labour Party but now openly wears the cloak of PDP, speaks of his serial betrayal having dumped his benefactor, Adefarati, played Brutus on Dr Olusegun Agagu and used Tinubu to retrieve his PDP stolen mandate, only to cross over to President Jonathan, the highest bidder who was in a position to deploy the IG, an army battalion and a contingent of police to Ondo to ensure his victory during his re-election bid last year.

He caught a pathetic picture as he tried to justify the perfidy of desperate PDP men trying to play on the intelligence of Nigerians. According to Mimiko, “Amaechi did not step down as chairman before the election in which he was a candidate; he produced some papers that he called ballot papers, there was no way we could trace the source, we don’t know whether they were pre-marked or whatever”.

Mimiko’s attempt at misleading Nigerians is not in the character of forthright and proud people of Ondo he leads and who are known for calling a spade by its name. But more damaging to Mimiko’s testament is the testimony of his good friend, Dr Kayode Fayemi of Ektit who confirmed the election as free and fair, describing, with his usual grace and depth the outcome as ‘a vote for democracy’ and not as an endorsement of Amaechi or a vote against the president. Nigerians are more likely to believe Fayemi’s account of events than that of those the Yoruba call ’ko se eku, ko se eiye’ (neither rodent nor bird). Above all, the voting process during the NGF election, as shown by some television stations did further damage to the credibility of Mimiko and his PDP forum of bad losers.

The graceless outing of Jonah Jang of Plateau also probably explains why he has for about eight years supervised bloodletting in his state. He knew he lost ‘fair and square’, yet demonstrating ecstasy after being declared winner by 17 governors on Saturday, he told journalists on arrival to Jos his state capital that “As far as I’m concerned I have been given an assignment and by the grace of God I will do my best to unite the forum and make sure the forum provides the right leadership for the people of Nigeria…”.

But charity begins at home. Jang, who was not graceful enough to accept defeat, is obviously also deficit in tolerance and compromise, the two most important ingredients of democracy. He needs these attributes to stop the bloodletting between the Fulani and their chief hosts, the Berom. The Fulani have nowhere else to go. Asking them to go back to the Futa Jallon area where their great forbearers migrated from over 200 years ago is like asking the Jews and Arabs to go back to Ur in Iraq, where Abraham their great grandfather was given a vision of a land flowing with milk and honey. Even when in God’s mysterious ways, the land turned out to be hilly desert full of craters and valleys of death, rather than abandon the land to the Philistines its owners, they have turned it to a land flowing with blood of their children. What Plateau need to avoid such fate is compromise and Jang by his actions has proved he is deficit in honour.

As for the chairman South-east Governors Forum, Peter Obi, “we in the South-east have always worked together as governors… the South-east together supported the candidacy of Jang.” Of course the position of the leadership of the South-east is well known to Nigerians. Their leaders often worked for themselves, feathering their own nests while shouting from the roof top about marginalization of the Igbos after trading off the presidency.

The Chairman of the South–south Governors Forum, Governor Liyel Imoke said: “As chairman of the South-south Governors Forum, we also participated in the process that led to the emergence of Governor Jonah Jang. “Of course” the South–south has always stood behind this administration…” Imoke ‘s freudstian slip confirmed what everyone knows-that the PDP governors attempt to turn the truth on its head is all about president Jonathan 2015 ambition.

The vice chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, Governor Gabriel Suswam, also confirmed the adoption of “a new leadership led by Jang and supported by Governor Mimiko, the Iroko” during a meeting of northern governors. But Suswam did not make mention of the earlier election in which he participated.

Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State said: “we were contestants but stepped down for Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State to be our consensus candidate of the 19 Northern Governors Forum.” But except under feudalism, such an act cannot automatically transform Jang to NGF chairman.

The chairman of the PDP governor’s forum, Governor Godswill Akpabio said: “Yesterday (Friday, it was agreed the chairmanship of the NGF be zoned to the PDP which is the party with the largest number of governors in the forum.” Since Amaechi won the election as a PDP governor, his suspension three days later, meant the script was written well in advance. And finally, if we stretch Akpabio’s logic, what then qualified Mimiko, the only Labour governor, as vice chairman when there are parties with higher number of elected governors?

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