In what is obviously a fallout of last Friday’s election of chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, in which Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi defeated the anointed candidate of his party, Jonah Jang of Plateau State, the National Working Committee of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Monday suspended Amaechi from the party.
However, PDP said Amaechi was suspended based on a petition by the Rivers State Executive Committee against him.
The decision to suspend Amaechi, Olisah Metuh, PDP National Publicity Secretary said, was taken at the end of an emergency meeting of the NWC held Monday morning.
The communiqué issued at the end of the NWC meeting and made available to journalists reads: “The National Working Committee at its emergency meeting on Monday, 27 May, 2013 considered the petition submitted by the PDP Rivers State Executive Committee against His Excellency Rt Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the Executive Governor of Rivers State for violating Articles 58 1 (b), (c ), (h) and (m) of the PDP Constitution.
“The National Working Committee after preliminary hearing, in exercise of the powers conferred by Articles 57 (3), 59 (3), 59 (5) and 29 (2.b) hereby suspends the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Rt Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as a member of the PDP and refers the matter to the appropriate disciplinary committee of the party.
“This is in furtherance of the determination of the leadership of the party to enforce discipline at all levels within the party.”
The NWC of PDP regarded as the highest administrative organ of the party is headed by Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
Governor Amaechi could not be reached immediately for his comment on this development.
Amaechi has been having a running battle with the national leadership of PDP and the presidency over claims that he wanted to contest the 2015 elections as vice president to a Northern candidate.
Last Friday, Amaechi, against all expectations, defeated Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State who is the favoured candidate of PDP to re-emerge as the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum to the chagrin of the leadership of his party.
The Chairman of PDP Governors Forum, Governor Godswill Akpabio later rejected the result of the election, insisting that Jang who had earlier been endorsed by 18 Governors is the recognised leader of NGF. The outcome of the election has split the NGF into two factions.
Meanwhile, eminent Nigerians have warned against the crisis in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, saying it portends grave danger to the nation, especially at this time of high level of insecurity in parts of the country.
The crisis has split the governors’ forum, with both factions holding tight to its position.
Constitutional lawyer, Prof. Itse Sagay said what is happening reflects the situation in the country. He said it’s clear that Amaechi won the election, but that those who lost want to divide the forum.
“There was an election and Amaechi won and the group that lost the election is creating this division. This group is illegal. They could not have won their elections in their states, which was why they are causing confusion.
“They are the group of people responsible for failure in our electoral system; they will never accept any election unless they are declared winners. They are an illegal organization,” he stated.
Reacting to this development, the Afenifere said the crisis portends grave danger for the nation and shows that the nation is not ready to move forward.
“This crisis shows that the country is still divided and the issue is heating up the polity. This is the time when insecurity ought to be tackled seriously but the governors are divided.
“The governors should be held responsible if anything goes wrong in their states. They were elected to cater for the people and not become a pressure group,” said Mr. Yinka Odumakin, National Publicity Secretary, Afenifere.
Also speaking, Dr. Ola Makinde, Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria, said what is happening is dangerous.
“All governors should unite in the interest of the people they govern. There is much poverty and insecurity in the land and this is what they should be addressing. They should work together.
“The governors’ forum is not a constitutional matter but a forum. They should work together instead of wasting their time on irrelevant things,” he said.
Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo warned that the ongoing crisis is unhealthy for the nation and called for a change from the governors.
Comrade Debo Adeniran of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, said the crisis among members of the forum shows that many of them are over-ambitious and that it is a sign of what to expect in 2015 as the governors have shown that they could never acquire power legitimately.