‘Anybody who thinks, whether at the party or presidential level, can clip the wings of the governors is wasting his time’
Behind the scenes tensions between some governors and President Jonathan blew open yesterday when the Niger State governor said there are moves at the “presidential level” to “clip the wings” of the governors but that such attempts would fail.
Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, who was speaking at an event in Minna, also said the major cause of the crisis in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was the effort to weaken the governors in the party.
The Nigeria Governors Forum, headed by Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, has been at loggerheads with PDP national chairman Bamanga Tukur who enjoys the support of President Jonathan.
Tukur had along with the President engineered the formation of the PDP Governors Forum, apparently to weaken the Nigeria Governors Forum which Presidency officials accused of constituting itself into an opposition block against Jonathan.
In a defiant speech in Minna yesterday, Aliyu said the main governors’ forum was a registered association that could not be tamed.
“A governors’ forum is an association registered by Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). An association is not a union and anybody who thinks whether at the party or presidential level can clip the wings of the governors is wasting his time,” he said when he received a delegation of the Northern PDP Secretaries Forum in Minna.
“The major part of the crisis of my party today is the desire to clip the wings of the governors. We must continue to talk the truth because that is the only way Nigeria will move forward.”
The ruling PDP has been enmeshed in leadership crisis for months now, with many of its governors angling for the removal of national chairman Bamanga Tukur.
Reports also say that Tukur and Jonathan have been plotting the removal of Amaechi as chairman of the forum when his first term ends this month, allegations they denied.
Aliyu himself had been at loggerheads with the Presidency since he said recently that President Jonathan had made a single-term pledge ahead of the 2011 elections.
He along with seven other PDP governors were reported to be considering defecting to the opposition’s All Progressives Congress, a report they variously denied.
Aliyu, who is chairman of Northern States Governors Forum, also yesterday spoke on the recent violence in Baga, Borno State, where 228 people were killed according a senator from the area.
He said initially the northern governors had contemplated constituting an investigation committee but dropped the idea because the Borno State Government and the Federal Government had already instituted investigations.
“Initially, Northern Governors Forum wanted to constitute an investigation committee but when Federal Government and Borno State did that we decided to hold on,” he said. He urged the probe committees to carry out an objective investigation.
In his address, chairman of the PDP secretaries forum Aminu Yusuf said they wanted to see Governor Aliyu in a higher position after ending his governorship tenure.
“Today you are the governor of Niger State and after that we want to see you up there,” he said.