The Governor of Yobe State, Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam, who was absent at the meeting of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum in Abuja on Friday, was among the 19 governors that purportedly voiced their opposition to the re-election of Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State as the helmsman of the NGF.
The list, dated May 24, 2013, had Geidam as number 17 among those who signed the resolution opposing Amaechi’s re-election.
He was the only governor who was absent when the governors met on Friday.
The 19 governors, late on Friday, said the NGF would now be led by the Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, who was Amaechi’s only opponent for the election.
This followed the decision of the Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema, and his Bauchi State counterpart, Isa Yuguga, to step down at the last minute.
The 19 governors, in their resolution late on Friday, said: “We the undersigned Governors of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum having taken cognizance of the state of the Nation and the perception of the people, do hereby resolve as follows:
“That we thank the outgoing Chairman, His Excellency, Chief Rotimi Amaechi, Governor of Rivers State for his leadership and achievements.
“That we strongly agree for a change of leadership of the Forum from May 2013 (initially put at April 2013 but obviously changed with a red biro with which the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, signed the paper) to May 2015 (also changed from April 2015).
“We hereby, therefore elect His Excellency Jonah Jang (the space for the name was vacant but also filled in, obviously, with Akpabio’s red biro) of Plateau State (also vacant but filled in with the same red biro) as the new Chairman of the Forum).
Apart from Akpabio, Jang, Geidam, Shema and Yuguda, others who signed the resolution were Governors Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State, Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, Garba Umar of Taraba State, Gabriel Suswam of Benue State, Peter Obi of Anambra State, Idris Wada of Kogi State, and Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State.
Others were Mukhtar hero of Kaduna State, Sullivan Chime of Enugu State, Martin Elechi of Ebonyi State, Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, Theodore Orji of Abia State, Liyel Imoke of Cross River State and Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State.
Sources within the NGF told The Eagle Online that the list was the one compiled by the Presidency, personally supervised by President Goodluck Jonathan, for presentation at the NGF meeting so that there would be no election but affirmation of the chosen candidate of the Presidency.
Jonathan, elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, was only able to convince Obi and Mimiko, elected on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance and Labour Party, to go along with his proposition.
Other governors who signed the paper belong to the PDP.
However, the list could not be used for the purpose it was intended as the opposition governors and Amaechi insisted that the election must be by secret ballot as contained in the constitution of the NGF.
With this development, some of the governors on the list of the Presidency were able to vote for Amaechi, a source at the meeting told The Eagle Online.
As earlier reported by The Eagle Online, some of the governors were coerced into signing the list.
Among those who were summoned by Jonathan to his office after the last National Economic Council meeting in the Presidential Villa, Abuja to sign up were Abdulfatah, Geidam and Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State.
Only Shettima turned down Jonathan’s request.