As the controversy over who is the authentic chairman of the all-powerful Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) rages on, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra has accused his colleagues that are backing Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers of doctoring the constitution of the Forum.
Speaking on Sunday, Obi said he never missed any meeting of the Forum, insisting that at no time was the constitution amended or ratified to make provision for election of the chairman of the Forum.
Governors Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers) and Jonah Jang (Plateau) are now laying claim to the chairmanship of the NGF with the former saying he emerged by election and the latter by consensus.
“Four out of the five governors in the South-East say Governor Jang is their choice; five out of the six governors in the South-South recognised Jang as their chairman; in the North, it is the same thing, so what are we talking about?
“This is a body of equal partners, a voluntary group and there has never been a time we had election. It had always been by consensus. They doctored the constitution which was never even ratified.
“Let me tell you, all those things were not approved by anybody. They doctored it. I am one man who attends every meeting, I can’t remember ever sitting down and adopting the constitution you are talking about,” Governor Obi said.
To drive home his point on consensus, the Anambra Governor also went down memory lane, “first, let me say that in the history of our forum, we have never had chairmanship election. In Ilorin, we were about seven governors; later on Oshiomhole came by the time Amaechi was selected.
“Let me tell you what happened, we just arrived there and they said that we need to have a new leadership. Everybody was like; it was going to be me, because I was the deputy, based on the constitution.
“The then governor of Bayelsa, (Timipre) Sylva said Amaechi, and then the PDP governors said Amaechi. Nothing else, nobody said raise your hand. It was just like that. It has always been through consensus, when we agree, we agree. Initially, what worked against me was that they argued that I’m a non-PDP governor. In fact, I have letters, documents to back what I am saying.
“Let me tell you the background so that you will understand very well. When we were having a little bit of problem with (Bukola) Saraki and governors wanted to remove him, we decided that we must formalise everything concerning the forum.
“That is the American constitution and that was what we adopted. Based on this, on the day we agreed to this, I was elected the vice chairman under Saraki. That was in 2009. It was by consensus, the governors said let Peter Obi be the vice chairman. That was how I became the vice chairman,” he explained.