Jonathan Tackles Governors; Empower Ministers Against Them as New Governors Forum Emerge
If the recent happenings as concerned the 2015 election is anything to go by, then it just might be right to conclude President Goodluck Jonathan is gearing up for the 2015 battle. The President appears to have devised a strategy of making the all too powerful governors especially those from the states ruled by the Peoples Democratic Party less important so as to have an easy ride in 2015.
It emerged Sunday evening that a new forum known as the PDP governor’s forum was formed with the expectation of putting it at par with the already divided NGF led by Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State.
The newly formed governor’s forum has Governor Godswill Akpabio, a known ally of President Goodluck Jonathan as the chairman with the believe that Amaechi’s power and influence as the chairman of the NGF would be greatly curtailed and wittled down.
Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting that extended into the early hours of Monday, Akpabio, the governor of Akwa Ibom State, said the PDP Governors’ Forum would not work in conflict with NGF.
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.”
He said the forum would only be meeting and be taking decisions on issues affecting the party.
Describing his emergence as unanimous, the governor promised to lead his colleagues with respect as he is only “the first among equal.
The formation of the new governors forum does not seem to be the end to the many strategies the president and his men have put in place to wittle down the powers of the governor’s forum. It was learnt that the president has concluded plans to empower ministers against the state governors of their home states and create alternative power base from which Jonathan could tap for his second term ambition in 2015.
The ministers that would readily benefit from this presidential empowerment, as already discussed and decided on by members of the President’s kitchen cabinet, are those from states whose governors have been seen as antagonistic to Jonathan’s 2015 ambition.
Insider source said that the President had decided to sidetrack the unfriendly governors and use the ministers to mobilise support from such states.
When the strategy begins to unfold, the ministers would be the one to nominate candidates from their states to be appointed to boards at the federal level.
Apart from that, the ministers would also be allowed to appoint what the source called “a point man” at each local government.
All this is happening as the Nigerian Governors’ Forum holds meets on Monday (today) in Abuja with governor Ameachi gunning to continue a second term as chairman of the forum.
The plan is to ensure that Amaechi is unseated as chairman of the forum and if this fails, the presidency will switch fully to the ‘Plan B’ option which a source said is to ‘empower the ministers’ especially in state where the governors are deemed not to be loyal to the president.
Though President Goodluck Jonathan said on Sunday that it had no interest in the governors’ forum elections, these indications tend to differ from that claim.
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