NIGERIA: Jittery Jonathan Begs PDP Governors To Dump Amaechi

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Uncertain of his candidate winning next month’s chairmanship election of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday night met with selected governors at the Presidential Villa and appealed to them not to vote for Mr. Rotimi Amaechi.

The meeting was said to have become necessary when Jonathan's foot soldier, Gov. Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, was unable to convince fellow PDP governors to vote for Gov. Ibrahim Shema for the post.

Akpabio had tried unsuccessfully to persuade a majority of the governors to vote out his fellow South-South governor in place of a Northerner.  Most of the governors from the North believe that his action is not out of love for them but to firm up the machinery for Jonathan's 2015 ambition.

The election for the office of the NGF chairman comes up in May, and the incumbent, who is not popular in the President's camp but is loved by his colleagues, is running.

At the Villa's night meeting, in addition to Akpabio, were 14 other governors, including the governors of Bauchi, Gombeand, and Katsina States.

Sources at the meeting said Jonathan begged the governors to rally round Shema and make sure he defeats Amaechi.

"You can do it. Tell your colleagues, especially those from our party that Shema is our sole candidate," the President reportedly urged. Unfortunately, none of the governors gave the President any word of commitment even when Akpabio asked them to speak.

"We have heard Mr. President. There is nothing to say, but we must make sure that the Forum is not seen as an extension of the PDP," one of the governors was said to have told Mr. Jonathan. 
The NGF has scheduled a meeting for next Wednesday, but the election is not part of the agenda.

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