As the Federal Government and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) get jumpy over the 2015 polls and the emergence of a coalition of opposition parties, nine governors of the ruling party and some of its lawmakers in the National Assembly have been placed under surveillance.
It was gathered yesterday that the presidency and the party have directed security agencies to monitor the activities of the governors and the lawmakers from their states, who are considered “sympathisers” of the All Progressives Congress (APC), a coalition of opposition parties.
The presidency and some PDP governors, it was also learnt, have begun mounting pressure on Rivers State Governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, who doubles as the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) chairman to drop his re-election bid and concede the post to the party’s anointed candidate, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema, the Katsina State governor. Amaechi’s tenure as NGF chairman ends in May.
Sources told CODEWIT that the security personnel assigned to the governors have been instructed to monitor the movement of their principals, their visitors and meetings with a view to knowing their game plan for the 2015 polls.
One of the sources said the motive behind the surveillance is aimed at availing the party with information on some of its members that could be serving the interest of the opposition coalition while remaining as PDP members.
According to a governor through his speech on Wednesday, the party and the presidency in their attempts to monitor the political activities of the affected governors suspected of nursing political ambitions, and members of the National Assembly, especially their interaction with APC members, have decided to keep a close tab on those the governors meet and the meetings they attend.
It was gathered that the PDP governors under surveillance are four from the North-west, one from the South-south, two from the North-central and two from the North-east.
The source said the decision to place the governors’ activities under watch was because of security reports that linked them to having close ties to APC.
Some PDP members in the National Assembly, who hail from the same states as their governors, are also being monitored.
The source said the security personnel attached to the nine governors would closely report back to their handlers the meetings the governors attend and those who visit them.
The source said: “Though the earlier report pointed out that 12 PDP governors from the north and southern states were already making contacts with the APC, it was also gathered that the governors in question have one leg in PDP and one leg in the opposition.
“But our investigations show that they are actually nine in total and not 12, and the party is closely monitoring their political activities, including the meetings they attend, those that visit them, and so on.”
The source explained that the statement credited to Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, who was on Sunday elected chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, that there are Judases in PDP and that it was the duty of the party to wean them out was borne out of the decision to monitor the “disloyal” governors.
The source added that both the presidency and PDP do not want to be taken unawares, hence the need to keep a close watch on what the nine governors are doing.
“This is politics and we know what they are doing; it is therefore necessary to watch them and when there is enough evidence of anti-party activities against them, the party will come out in the open to challenge them.
“You cannot belong to a party and secretly be working against the party. This is not good,” the source said.
However as the party places some of its members under surveillance, it has continued to mount pressure on Amaechi to concede the NGF chairmanship to Shema.
CODEWIT gathered that Amaechi is being put under pressure to prevent a situation where he and Shema would stand for the election slated for May, as it would portray the PDP as a party incapable of controlling its governors/members.
CODEWIT learnt that Amaechi was prevailed upon at a meeting of some PDP governors held at the Akwa Ibom State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja.
At the meeting, the governors in attendance said it would be against the interest of PDP to allow Amaechi to contest against Shema who is the party’s consensus candidate for the NGF chairmanship position.
The source said the decision to persuade Amaechi was necessary because the election for the NGF chairman would be based on a secret ballot through which the Rivers governor could secure a victory by splitting PDP governors votes and counting on the support of opposition governors.
Should this happen, it will be very embarrassing for Shema and the party.
PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, alluded to the idea of ensuring that the coast is clear for the party’s candidate to chair the NGF, when he said the party with the highest number of governors in the forum would present a candidate for the office of the chairman of the NGF.
“During the election of the chairman of the NGF, PDP will officially present candidates for the offices to contest,” he had told CODEWIT.
This implies that the PDP would pursue the agenda to ensure that only political parties sponsor governors for the NGF election.