From TAIWO AMODU and CHUKS AKUNNA, Abuja
The fate of three governors believed to be opposed to President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election bid is to be sealed by the report of the reconciliation committee led by Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Tony Anenih, Daily Sun has learnt. The report will define the Presidency’s relationship with Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), and Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, as well as Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido, even as a group is seeking to reconcile Jonathan and Amaechi.
Should the governors embrace Anenih’s “olive branch”, sources disclosed, the Presidency would reciprocate by soft-pedalling on some punitive measures already lined up against them. Some of the measures include launching of co-ordinated attacks on the credibility of the governors, and creating a public relations problem for them. The plot reportedly took into account the difficulty in getting the governors’ state assemblies to impeach them, but the easy target is their relations and associates. Another option reportedly explored was probing the public service records of the governors. Prior to becoming governor,
Aliyu was permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, Cabinet Secretariat and Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), among other ministries. Lamido spent four years as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Obasanjo administration. Last December, Kano airport officials arrested his son, Aminu Lamido, for reportedly concealing $40,000. He is undergoing trial. A source told Daily Sun that it won’t be difficult unearthing “something damaging” on Lamido and Aliyu, who also served as permanent secretary in the National Planning Commission, Ministry of Transport, Establishment and Pension Matters.
Another Presidency source, however, told Daily Sun that the three governors may have realized the dangers ahead and have begun to soften on President Jonathan and seek ways to worm their ways into his heart. The official listed the allegiance of loyalty which Amaechi pledged to the PDP leadership two weeks ago when the National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, visited him in Port Harcourt. The source also disclosed that the Presidency was analysing the body languages of Governors Lamido and Aliyu in view of Anenih’s reconciliation visits, last week, to both governors. The official said they were encouraged by comments by Lamido’s colleague, Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State, that he remained loyal to PDP.
Daily Sun learnt that the Presidency was also pleased that Anenih tried to assuage feelings in Niger State, by declaring that the PDP’s 2015 presidential ticket was open to all. “The magic wand worked, because Governor Aliyu didn’t raise the issue of President Jonathan’s pact, but instead made a scapegoat out of the national chairman, blaming the intra-party crisis on his leadership style,” the source said. Meanwhile, a group, ‘The Caucus’, whose majority is believed to be South-South leaders are seeking to reconcile Jonathan and Amaechi. The group is worried over the cold war between the two Niger Delta leaders.
The team which met about a week ago, according to a Daily Sun source, is operating under the name, “The Caucus’’, whose membership also include politicians and technocrats and spread across the country. Amaechi’s leadership of the forum of 36 governors, the NGF, has set him on a collision course with the Presidency. A new platform, the Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum had since emerged under the chairmanship of the Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio, to galvanise support for the Presidency and the party. The source revealed that Governor Amaechi attended the meeting of “The Caucus” where resolutions were taken towards ensuring amity between ‘’two eminent sons of Niger Delta zone.’’
According to the source, “ the meeting was very revealing as both sides were frank; Governor Amaechi was very forthright in his remarks. He told us that he has nothing personal against Mr. President, but with the system. The system, he said, is not working in the interest of Nigerians generally and we are presented with an opportunity to correct it. He is hoping that with the governors working in conjunction with Mr. President, they can jointly correct it. He believes that President Jonathan is a good man, a wonderful person but he (Amaechi) is concerned that Mr. President had been unable to press that personality down to the Presidency.
He is uncomfortable that crucial issues have been handled in-house in the interest of the party, but Nigerians’ interest have sometimes been compromised while we pretend to be protecting party interest.’’ Governor Amaechi, according to the source, mentioned the East-west road which is being given attention after his public outcry, the management of Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) and the fuel subsidy removal which, he noted, courted public opprobrium for the PDP-led Federal Government last year during the sudden fuel subsidy removal. Amaechi was advised not ‘’ to operate through third party, since he has direct access to the Presidency that he should convene his feelings, directly to Mr. President on issues he feels strongly about.
He was also advised to redouble his focus on the development of Rivers State.’’ The source was, however, not revealing on whether Amaechi came out quite frankly on his speculated presidential ambition. The news was rife in the media of a purported 2015 joint presidential ticket with Governor Lamido as presidential aspirant and Amaechi as his running mate. Both governors had since denied the speculation. Meanwhile, Chief Anenih is expected to submit his report and recommendations on his recent reconciliation tours to some PDP-controlled states this week. Members of the Anenih delegation include former Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani, secretary of the board, Senator Walid Jubrin
, former governor of old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo, former deputy national chairman, Chief Shuaib Oyedokun and Chief Ebenezer Babatope. Chief Anenih during his trouble-shooting mission met with Governors Lamido, Kwankwaso and Aliyu. The governors expressed their dissafection over the running of the party by the Bamanga Tukur-led National Working Committee (NWC).