The National Coordinator, Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, has said the crisis rocking the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the Northern States Governors’ Forum will not affect its political ambition in the 2015 general elections.
He accused the Presidency of masterminding the crisis rocking the NGF and the “artificial crisis” among northern governors.
He said some northern governors had been compromised by the Presidency to frustrate all oppositions in 2015.
In an interview with our correspondent on Friday, Mohammed, however, said the plot could have any impact only when it affected average Nigerians, their security, welfare, dignity and property.
He said, “Nigerians will not tear apart because there’s crisis masterminded by the Presidency among some unscrupulous and over-ambitious northern governors, who are on the payroll of the Presidency and have been promised something.”
The May 24, 2013, controversial chairmanship election had polarised the forum. While the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi was re-elected with 19 votes, his opponent and Plateau State counterpart, Jonah Jang, got 16 votes.
Jang, however, announced that he won the election and later opened a new secretariat.
The two apex northern bodies, the Northern Elders’ Forum and the Arewa Consultative Forum, have said the crisis in the governors’ forums would not affect the interest of the North in 2015.
While the NEF described the conduct of the governors after the election and the endorsement of Jang faction by the President as embarrassing, ACF said the governors might be called to a meeting if the crisis persisted.
The publicist of NEF, Dr. Paul Unongo, said the North would not allow the governors to be used against the region.
He said it was unfortunate that northern governors could support Jang, who lost the election.
He said, “I don’t know how that can affect the intelligent people of the North as regards their political ambition and the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. If there are some people in the North who believe that 16 are greater than 19 and they put up their candidate, they will lose.”
Unongo noted that the video footage of the election showed that it was peaceful and fair.
He queried why pro-Jang governors did not protest the result of the election at the venue. “Not one of them raised an objection to the counting,” he added.
He berated President Goodluck Jonathan for acknowledging Jang as the chairman of the forum.
He said it ridiculed the president’s personality.
Unongo said, “I don’t think that was a thing that should have attracted the president’s attention. I am a member of PDP and I’m ashamed.
“I was taught in primary school over 60 years ago that 19 is more than 16. It will be an insult to my integrity and intelligence to join in the joke that is going on in Nigeria by adults that are supposed to be chief executives of government in 35 states.”
Unongo berated PDP for allegedly holding the country to ransom.
He said members of the forum, including those from the Action Congress of Nigeria; the Congress for Progressive Change and the All Progressives Grand Alliance, were democratic but the PDP had made its internal crisis national.
The National Publicity Secretary, ACF, Mr. Anthony Sani, also described the crisis as a distraction.
He said the governors should “work hard and overcome the crisis and help bring northerners together in order that they can unleash their synergy and in unison confront their collective challenges.”
Sani said, “I do not believe the differences between the northern governors have reached that level of intervention, more so that the governors are too intelligent not to know the dire consequences of their disagreement. But if the crisis persists unduly, there will be no harm in ACF calling them for a truce.”