Four northern governors met on Monday with former Heads of State, Generals Abdulsalami Abubakar and Ibrahim Babangida, and appealed to them to ask President Goodluck Jonathan to restore public order to Rivers State.
The governors are: Babangida Aliyu (Niger); Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto ); Sule Lamido (Jigawa); and Rabiu Kwankanso (Kano).
Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako, who was supposed to be at the meeting, sent apologies. Nyako was one of the four governors – Wamakko, Lamido and Kwankwaso – who had a closed door meeting with another former Head of State and President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, in Abeokuta last Saturday.
Sources at the Monday meeting in Minna, said the governors did not mince words in their condemnation of the recent activities of Jonathan, which they said were capable of derailing the nation’s democracy.
The sources said that the governors specifically cited the crisis in Rivers State.
One of the governors, who spoke with one of our correspondents said, “We know that the nation’s democracy is in danger with what the President is doing.
“We cannot have a democracy where the President would be mocking governors and would be attempting to impeach them without following due process.
“We told them (Abubakar and Babangida) that what is happening in Rivers State, as explained by Mrs. Patience Jonathan, was orchestrated by the Presidency.
“We have appealed to the two leaders to reach out to other stakeholders and save this democracy.”
Another source also explained that what took the governors to see Obasanjo was what made them to meet the two Northern Nigerian former leaders in Minna.
He said, “They, like most Nigerians and lovers of this country, are worried about the situation we have found ourselves. The four governors were in Minna to consult on the way forward for the country.
“The upcoming national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party and the 2015 general elections were parts of the discussions held behind closed doors.
“What will follow in the next few months will be a flury of activities which will paint a clearer picture of what is the way forward.”
However, Aliyu, who is also the Chairman of Northern States Governors’ Forum , said after the 80-minute meeting that what they discussed with Abubakar and Babangida, would enhance “our political dreams.”
He said, “The meeting is a platform that could be used to actualise our political dreams.Now, we are consulting with our elders and leaders to look at some of the problems and solutions to the problems that some of us are facing, simple.
“The solution to Nigeria Governors’ Forum crisis, political issues which have come up and we are consulting to make sure that we all understand the issues and we all come out with a solution; and we will also carry our people along as we move on.”
Asked what their resolution was, Aliyu, replied, “We are still consulting.’’
On the lingering Rivers State crisis, he stated that what they discussed with Abubakar and Babangida was larger than the “Rivers issue.”
The governor said, “There is no gathering in Nigeria now that Rivers’ issue will not come up, but our meeting today(Monday) is a larger issue than even the NGF crisis. We are discussing on how to solve them.”
Nyako, through his Director of Press and Publications, Sajoh Ahmed, gave an insight into their Abeokuta visit. He told an online news portal, Premiumtimes, that it was part of efforts to save the Peoples Democratic Party from collapsing.
“We will continue to make our efforts to save the party. But, if our efforts do not work, we have no alternative but to fold our arms and see PDP die and help in burying it,” he said.
The governor emphasised that unless “these serious minded Nigerians” intervened in time, the PDP would die a natural death.
Nyako described the current events in the party as worrisome, stating that they constituted a threat to the survival of democracy in the country.
It was gathered that the governors would also meet soon with a former Minister of Defence, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma .
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress has called on Jonathan to display “uncommon statesmanship”in resolving the Rivers crisis.
President of the NLC, Mr. Abdulwahed Omar, said workers were worried by the growing rate of impunity in the country.
He stated that the attempt by five lawmakers to impeach the Speaker of the state House of Assembly and the travails of Governor Rotimi Amaechi constituted a threat to democracy.
The labour leader made this comment at the 11th NLC Rain School at Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on Monday.
He said, “Of importance to the working class has been the rate and extent of impunity in the country. The show of shame in Rivers State, where only five legislators attempted to impeach the speaker and the protracted travails of Governor Amaechi are capable of derailing democracy in our country.
“We reiterate our call on Mr. President to demonstrate uncommon statesmanship by ensuring that the political crisis in Rivers State is checked and resolved in the interest of the people of the state and the nation.”
Omar, who also commented on the issue of the decentralisation of the National Minimum Wage Law by the Senate, said that all the state councils of the NLC and industrial unions were being mobilised to protest the Senate decision.
He said that the National Minimum Wage Act did not contradict the concept of federalism contrary to the claim of “the now fractious NGF.”
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