Friday, 28 June 2013

The New Face of Amechi - Jang Katakata

Governor Amechi
The recent happenings in the Governors forum (NGF) have kept the spirit of entertainment bubbling in the dearly beloved Nigerian politics.
The May 24, 2013 elections saw Governor Amechi emerge as the chair of the NGF. This was seen in good light by many and of course my humble self especially as it has been making rounds that he, Amechi has not been in good terms with the President over issues relating to the 2015 General Elections. This problem escalated to the point that the Governor’s jet was grounded by the government over several unfounded allegations if you ask me.
Governor Amechi, personally, has been known by me since my days in Port Harcourt when I was doing my Industrial Attachment at NIIT at Kaduna Street. Then in 2005, he was the Speaker of the House of Assembly. I met him at the Presidential Hotel in Port Harcourt in one of those NEITI organised conferences. He came with Governor Peter Odili then and I was impressed by his speech at the event. At that time in 2005, it was rumored that he’ll likely be the next governor of the state to replace the then Governor Peter Odili.
He eventually came to victory but the battle was not easy. He ousted Celestine Omehia on the 26th of October 2007 to become the governor of the state. He has been a mentor of a sort to me. He embarked on several controversial assignments like lowering the fences of all the buildings in some areas of GRA in Port Harcourt…which of course, offended so many people in the state.

Things have been lying low until the recent grounding of his private jet on April 27, 2013. This NAMA, the guys in charge of Nigerian Airspace claimed that it was due to the fact that the Governors pilot did not produce the manifest of all the passengers on the aircraft. This gossip eventually snowballed into the permanent grounding of the plane due to reasons best known to NAMA. This according to some is a way of the Presidency getting at him.

Governor Jonathan Jang
The other targeted way to ‘humiliate’ him was to strip him off the chairmanship of the Nigerian Governors Forum which he has chaired ever since Governor Bukola Saraki stepped down – can’t remember the year. According to what we heard eventually, it was agreed to elect and anonymous candidate - Governor Jonathan Jang of Plateau State.
Due process had its place and eventually saw Governor Amechi reelected as the Chairman after winning 19 to 16 against Governor Jang. Nigerians were thrilled eventually of how after a couple of days, Governor Jang started parading himself as the new Chairman of the Forum.
This has caused a lot of drama and laughter in the media lately. The recent of it all being the events at the Presidential Dinner organised by the President Goodluck Jonathan.

Thisday finished the whole story: LOL
The leadership crisis in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF)  Thursday prompted an alteration in the sitting arrangement at the National Economic Council (NEC), thus making the two claimants to the NGF chair, Rivers State Governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi and his Plateau State counterpart, Chief Jonah Jang, to sit beside each other.
Membership of the council, presided over by the vice-president, comprises governors of the 36 states of the federation and the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Instead of the old sitting arrangement whereby the NGF chairman sits next to the NEC  Chairman, Vice-President Namadi Sambo, protocol did not recognise anyone as NGF chairman and there was no seat with that inscription as it is usually done.
Rather, governors were made to sit in an alphabetical order based on the name of their states and with the new sitting arrangement, Jang and Amaechi found themselves beside each other, as there was no state whose name starts with letter Q that would have made that governor to sit between the two rivals.
Since the May NGF election in which Amaechi was re-elected by a vote of 19 to Jang’s 16, yesterday was the first time the duo would sit together on a round table.
Jang and his supporters had protested Amaechi’s victory and they broke a way to form a parallel organisation. The sitting arrangement added a touch of drama to yesterday’s session of NEC, where one of the key decisions taken was the reduction of the cost of police reform, which was slashed from N2.8trillion to N1.5 trillion, as the sitting arrangement was not lost on the governors who seized the occasion to banter with one another over the leadership tussle.
A day before the council meeting, Jang had said on the sideline of dinner to mark the mid-term session of President Goodluck Jonathan that he had no quarrel with Amaechi because he was old enough to be his (Amaechi) father.

Like the NEC meeting, there was a mild drama at the dinner as presidential security details fenced off the Rivers governor from paying his respects to Jonathan,  prompting the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to urge the president to institute a probe into the incident.
When Amaechi came into the council chambers to take his usual seat, he discovered that he had been relocated and his new destination was near Jang.
Noticing the sitting arrangement, one of Amaechi’s supporters and Niger State Governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu,  told him: "So you are going to sit with Jang. This is very nice oh. Somebody is trying to be diplomatic here. Amaechi replied: "We are still together. So, I am going to sit with him. The real chairman and the... (laughter). When Jang walked in,  he exchanged greetings with all his colleagues, including Amaechi. He then sat near Amaechi who accepted his greetings, saying: "You are welcome, I am the authentic chairman." Keeping a straight face, Jang did not utter a word, but Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, who is pro-Amaechi, continued the teasing, as he pointed to Amaechi, saying "that is my chairman". This drew laughter from his colleagues.
One of the key decisions taken at the council meeting was the slashing of the  cost of reforming the police from the N2.8trillion recommended by a presidential committee to N1.5 trillion. The meeting also approved the establishment of a 10-man committee on oil theft to be chaired by Delta State Governor, Dr.  Emmanuel Uduaghan.
A day before the NEC meeting, Jang had insisted that he remains the NGF chair. He told journalists on Wednesday night on the sideline of the dinner organised by Jonathan to celebrate his mid-term in office that he had no quarrel with Amaechi because he was too old for such squabbles and he is old enough to be  Amaechi’s father. “Amaechi is my younger brother; in fact, I can say son because if you look at Amaechi’s age, I’m old enough to be his father,”  a report by Channels Television quoted Jang as saying at the dinner.
Asked to respond to Amaechi’s statement that he polled 19 votes to defeat him at the NGF election, Jang said: “Well, that is his problem; but I know that I am the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.”
In a statement by the ACN  National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the president should ensure that whoever is behind such a condescending treatment of a governor is sanctioned to serve as a deterrent to others.

''We are making this call because we do not believe that in spite of the reported frosty relations between the two, President Jonathan  as the father of the nation  will lend the weight of his high office to such a demeaning action as exhibited by the presidential security personnel,'' it said.

/* Thanks to the following sources: Naij, Thisday, Youtube  - they were referenced at one point or the other. */