• Amaechi not shunning meetings, says commissioner
PEOPLES Democratic Party (PDP) governors have, after a poorly attended meeting Tuesday in Abuja, debunked a claim by former Zamfara State helmsman Ahmed Sani Yerima, that plans have been concluded to receive en-masse some of them and their supporters to the new opposition coalition, All Progressives Congress (APC).
They met late Monday night under the aegis of PDP Governors’ Forum (PDP-GF) whose chairman, Akwa Ibom’s Godswill Obot Akpabio, told reporters that the claim “is not true, and is false in its entirety.” Instead, he said plans were in top gear “to bring other states’ governors into the fold.”
Senator Yerima (representing Zamfara West) told a national daily in an interview last month that about 19 PDP governors had secretly contacted him and other senior APC members in a bid to join the new mega party.
Attendance at the meeting was poor as major proponents of the PDP-GF were absent. Katsina’s Ibrahim Shema who is being allegedly tutored to take over from Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State as the chairman of the umbrella Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) sent his deputy, as did Bauchi’s Isa Yuguda and Benue’s Gabriel Suswam.
Of the 23 PDP governors, no fewer than 15, including their deputies, attended the meeting.
Meanwhile, Amaechi has denied insinuations that he shunned the PDP governors’ meetings.
Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, told The Guardian in Port Harcourt yesterday that prior to the meeting, Amaechi had been invited to speak at the Commonwealth Observance Day celebration held at Westminster Abbey in London on Monday.
Also, PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) Chairman, Chief Tony Anenih, has advised governors to pay serious attention to intelligence gathering in spending their security votes.
In his address at the second meeting of the PDP-GF in Abuja on Monday night, Anenih, noted that perpetrators of insecurity live among the people.
Akpabio, who spoke with journalists at the Akwa Ibom Governor’s Lodge in Abuja, venue of the meeting, also hinted that it would be imperative to amend the NGF’s constitution, but he did not elaborate on the aspects or nature of the amendment.
He emphasised that the proposed amendment was to strengthen the forum, and not to witch-hunt anybody.
But sources said it was part of the PDP’s agenda to curb the NGF chairman’s powers.
Akpabio also announced the formation of a Security Committee by the Forum. The five-man advisory committee is to collaborate with the Federal Government in tackling security challenges confronting the country.
Headed by Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, its other members are Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano) and Theodore Orji (Abia).
On the crisis in the South-West zone of the party, Akpabio declared that Governor Uduaghan has submitted an interim report on how to resolve the crisis to the forum, which is now awaiting the full report, which will be transmitted to the PDP’s national leadership.
He reiterated that the PDP-GF was not in rivalry with the NGF but rather would strengthen the latter through its (the former’s) contributions.
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