President Jonathan Distances Self From NGF Election Crisis
Following an unpleasant media reportage of the controversy that trailed the Nigerian Governors’ Forum election, especially the rejection of the outcome of the election by some governors loyal to the President Goodluck Jonathan, led by Akwa-Ibom state Governors, Godswill Akpabio, the president has distanced himself from claims that he is backing a faction of the forum to create a parallel leadership of the body.
Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers state had defeated his Plateau state counterpart, Jonah Jang at the poll yesterday by polling 19 votes to Jang’s 16. Humiliated by the outcome, the Akpabio group which obviously has the backing of Mr Jonathan relocated from the election venue to another place where they addressed a press briefing with a forged document purporting that Jang had been elected Chairman of the forum by another group of 19 governors including those who were not around for the election but whose signature was displayed as having signed the document.
As a result, the presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati had to issue a statement dissociating the president from any complicity in the tangle. The release reads:
“We have noted with regret the mischievous effort by sections of the mass media to portray President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as an interested party and the main loser in yesterday’s election of the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF).”
“Contrary to the impression of Presidential partisanship and interference in the affairs of the Governors Forum erroneously conveyed by some headlines in the media today, President Jonathan who is currently leading Nigeria’s delegation to the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa had no preferred candidate in the NGF elections and could therefore not have been “floored” by any other candidate as some newspapers sensationally reported.”
“President Jonathan has the greatest possible respect for the Nigerian Governors Forum as an independent body of mature, responsible, and knowledgeable elected political leaders who have a critical role to play in strengthening democratic governance in the country, and who are quite capable of running their own affairs without being tele-guided, as some media reports misleadingly implied.”
“The President has always shown a willingness to work harmoniously with any leadership freely and independently chosen by the Governors Forum for the collective progress and development of all sections of the country and will continue to do so.”
“He has not in the present instance or ever before, interfered in elections to leadership positions in the Governors Forum. Reports in the media which convey that impression are totally off the mark and the handiwork of mischievous individuals and groups with the intention of sowing the seeds of discord and disunity in the polity.”
“President Jonathan trusts that as true democrats and respected national political leaders, members of the Governors Forum will quickly resolve the issues and differences amongst them which emerged yesterday and continue to contribute effectively to national development as a strong, and progressive body.”
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