Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors and National Working Committee (NWC) members of the party have expressed concern over the lingering feud between President Goodluck Jonathan and Rivers State Governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, warning that if the crisis of confidence between the duo is not resolved on time, it could hurt the party’s fortunes in the 2015 polls.
Party sources told THISDAY Monday that the governors having watched the frosty relationship between the president and Amaechi take a turn for the worse, warned that the party should do all it can to reconcile the duo.
The simmering feud between Jonathan and Amaechi boiled over following a report of a plot hatched by the presidency to remove Amaechi as the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).
The presidency, it was gathered, was uncomfortable with the governor’s continued leadership of the NGF, which it was believed, he could use as a launch pad for his rumoured bid for the vice-presidency in the 2015 presidential election.
This, aides and associates of the president have argued, could threaten the unconfirmed second term bid of Jonathan, who like Amaechi, is from the South-south geopolitical zone.
Efforts to stop Amaechi’s return as the NGF chairman have led to a crisis in the governors’ forum, which has led to the emergence of camps for and against Amaechi.
Despite the formation of the PDP Governors’ Forum (PDP-GF), purposely set up to stop Amaechi from seeking a second term as NGF chairman, the anti-Amaechi camp has found it difficult to achieve their objectives as even the PDP governors are divided over the matter.
The PDP-GF, after several futile efforts to shop for a consensus candidate to replace Amaechi, at its meeting last month in Abuja, finally resolved that both Amaechi and his Katsina State counterpart, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema, should vie for the NGF chairmanship.
However, Niger State Governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, who doubles as the chairman, Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF), has warned against any attempt to cripple the NGF through external intervention.
Amid the raging crisis over the NGF chairmanship election, PDP sources said the feud between the president and Amaechi was at variance with the reconciliation agenda being pursued by the party at the national level.
One of the party’s governors, who confided in THISDAY on his colleagues’ take on the issue, said: “What is happening between the presidency and the Rivers State governor is very worrisome for some of us.
“Here we are preaching reconciliation on one part, yet there is a raging feud between the presidency and the Rivers State governor. This is coming when we say in PDP that we want to retain power in 2015. Some of us equate the crisis to that of a bull in a china shop.
“Some of us are appealing for restraints, because the crisis is one that will do the party no good. Some of us are also appealing to elders of the PDP to step into this feud before it is too late.”
THISDAY gathered that even within the PDP NWC, some members are not happy over the feud between the president and Amaechi.
An NWC member, who spoke on the issue with THISDAY, said: “What is happening between the presidency and the Rivers State governor is cause for concern for some of us.
“Both the presidency and the governor should know that their actions, whether overtly or covertly, could have a negative effect on the unity of the party.
“Some of us are aware that the governors of the party are not happy, but there is nothing we can do because some of us are even being threatened with sack because of this report from INEC that said the NWC of the party is not properly composed.
“But this is actually the time for the Board of Trustees (BoT) to act. They should intervene as the custodians of the party because elders don’t stay at home and allow a tethered goat to give birth under such a circumscribed condition.”
The NWC member said what was happening between the presidency and Amaechi deserved intervention from the party “at least for the continued unity of the party.”
“If the president doesn’t want Governor Amaechi to contest for the post of chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, the party elders should be invited to speak to him.
“To some of us here, there must be a way out of this. This ensuing crisis will not help PDP as a political party, when the opposition political parties are merging and plotting for 2015,” he added.
In an obvious reference to the face-off between the president and governor over the leadership of the NGF, the Niger State governor urged those plotting to foist a crisis on the forum to desist because they would not succeed, adding that no group or individual can clip the wings of the NGF.
Aliyu said in Minna yesterday, when the forum of PDP Secretaries from the North-central states visited him, that it would amount to a waste of time and energy for anyone to cause a crisis in the NGF.
“Nobody can kill the Nigerian Governors’ Forum. Even the other segments like the Northern Governors’ Forum or the PDP Governors’ Forum would all be subservient to the main governors’ forum no matter what happens during the election for a new chairman of the party.
“People should stop wasting their time in trying to clip the wings of the governors. A little part of the crisis in the PDP today is this desire to clip the wings of the governors and you cannot,” he added.