Rivers State Government has restated that Governor Chibuike Amaechi remains the authentic chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and called on the aides of President Goodluck Jonathan not to meddle into the affairs of the governors.
The state was reacting to media reports that the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, said the presidency did not recognise Amaechi as chairman of the NGF.
In a statement issued yesterday by the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Amaechi, Mr. David Iyofor, the state government said it was saddened that the president's aide would refer to Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, as the authentic chairman of the forum, when it was obvious that Amaechi defeated Jang by 19 votes to 16 in the last NGF election.
“It is a known fact that in the election for the chairman of NGF held on May 24, 2013 that Amaechi got the mandate of the majority of his colleague governors to continue to serve as their chairman when 19 governors voted for him as against 16 that voted for Jonah Jang. Nineteen is always greater than 16. It is that simple,” Iyofor said.
He said such comments from the aides to the president were painting Jonathan in bad light.
The CPS said: “We, like most Nigerians, are further saddened that the likes of Gulak in the presidency are so ignorant and totally bereft of substance that they lack the capacity to comprehend the quantum of damage comments like that do to the president and the presidency, they are paid with taxpayers money to serve and protect.
“It continues baffle us, like most Nigerians that small, petty minds like Gulak in the presidency will continue to make undemocratic comments that do enormous and sometimes irreversible damage to the president and the presidency in their thoughtless, madcap self-imposed mission of persistently pouring intemperate, obnoxious and opprobrious invectives on Amaechi.
“But this is not about Amaechi. It is about respecting and recognising a democratic, electoral process that produced a winner. And it does not matter whether they like the winner’s face or courage or ability to speak his mind. It does not matter whether the person disagrees with Mr. President on certain national issues; they are duty-bound to respect and recognise that democratic process that produced a winner.”
Iyofor restated that the affairs of the NGF remained the preserve of the governors and urged the presidency to respect the rights of the governors to choose their leader.
“(Aides) in the presidency must be told in unambiguous terms that the governors’ forum is the internal business of the governors and who becomes their chairman can only be determine by the governors and the governors alone; and certainly not the presidency. And for now, the majority of governors have democratically elected Amaechi to serve as their chairman. Amaechi remains the only authentic chairman of the NGF. Casting nasty aspersions on governors elected by their people will never change that fact,” Iyofor said.
He said while he believed that Gulak did not speak the mind of Jonathan, it was necessary that the presidency called the aide to order.
“This is why it is imperative and pertinent for the presidency to dissociate itself and President Jonathan from the unbefitting comment of Gulak on who is the authentic chairman of the NGF,” Iyofor said.