Posted on Wednesday, August 14th, 2013
By Chukwudi Nweje
Assistant Features Editor
Although the political crises in Rivers State and the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) appear to have subsided, the actions of five Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors- Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano, Sule Lamido of Jigawa Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto, Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger and Murtala Nyako of Adamawa States who went on solidarity visit to Governor Rotimi Amaechi in the heat of the altercations has not.
The governors under the aegis of ‘Save Democracy’ initiative have been touring some parts of the country in the last few months, consulting with prominent Nigerians on as they put it, ‘the state of the nation’. They had in that instance, met with former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, who called them “true patriots” for initiating peace moves to end the crisis of confidence in Rivers State and the nation in general. They also interacted with former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Second Republic President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari among other prominent Nigerians both within and outside political circles.
Incidentally, while the governors see their consultations on the ‘state of the nation’ as a patriotic endeavour geared towards not only resolving the crisis but also saving the nation’s democracy and the country from implosion, the leadership of the PDP interprets their agenda from a different angle and has thus them to retrace their steps.
National Chairman of the party, Bamanga Tukur not only objects to their mission, which he describes as exposing the challenges within the party for the whole world to see, but has also threatened that the party leadership will be expecting them to furnish it with a report at the end of their mission.
“As much as we as a party respect the constitutional rights of individuals to public opinions, movement and association, such exercise should be done with some element of civility and in keeping with the norms of the society and the party’s constitution and guidelines. To this effect, it is advised that all party faithful who are aggrieved should use the party’s internal resolution platform, that is to say the party’s reconciliation committee or the leadership of the party,” Tukur warned.
Some analysts agree with Tukur on the need for the governors to provide a report on their consultations. As a matter of fact, some argue that there is more to the visit than meets the eye. In fact, one such observer insists that the consultations could be veiled discussions ahead of the 2015 electioneering campaigns. According to him, the governors’ missions may be all about the northern geo-political zone’s quest for the presidency come 2015. He argues that they are merely testing the waters and seeking support to actualise the quest.
To buttress his position, he also observes that the governors have held their talks mainly with retired generals and northern political elite, arguing that it is not a coincidence that all of them belong to the Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF). He however adds that “if indeed the consultations are in the interest of nation, they should give situation reports not just to the PDP but Nigerians on the out come of the wide consultations.”
Although the Niger State governor who is the chairman of the NSGF had said in the past that the North was not insistent on producing the president in 2015, but that rather, the zone was willing to negotiate with every presidential aspirant in a bid to safeguard and protect the region’s interests, insinuations that the consultations by the governors are due to the northern region’s presidential aspiration are still rife.
Debo Adeniran, executive director, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) agrees that the governors’ consultations may be veiled 2015 political manoeuvres “Their visit portends nothing than the fact that they want to form a coalition against President Jonathan for the party’s presidential ticket. If President Jonathan wins the ticket, as he is likely to do, they might move to another party. That is why they are visiting retired generals ostensibly for them to convince the Army to give democracy a chance no matte how wobbly it is or looks.”