The Nigeria Governors’ Forum, an association of Nigeria’s 36 states’ governors, will today elect a new leader in a fiercely contested election that has pitched the president, Goodluck Jonathan, against the River state governor, Rotimi Amaechi in an epic battle to control Nigeria’s second most influential association.
The governors are gathered in River State lodge in Abuja where they are expected to choose who will lead them into 2015.
Live updates from the venue will be brought to you right as they develop.
Gov Rotimi Amaechi’s victory speech:
Today our democracy was tested and proven. Democracy is about participation. The aim of democratic governance is for everyone to partake in winning. Today the governors have spoken with one voice reaffirming our faith in democratic governance as the hope of Nigeria’s future. I must thank my colleagues for their tenacity and determination to ensure the unity of the forum but more importantly of our nation.
We remain committed to supporting our leader, the president and commander in chief of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to realize the development dream of all Nigerians by reducing tension, uncertainty and insecurity in our beloved country.
We want to pledge our steadfastness and resolve working alongside Mr. President to better the lives of our people as we render transparent and accountable stewardship.
Finally our thanks go to all those who have patiently endured these times especially our constituents and members of the fourth estate of the realm who have followed these elections with keen interest. We promise that we will not betray the confidence you have reposed in us.
Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, CON,
Governor, Rivers State.
Akpabio, Mimiko, others reject Amaechi’s victory, allege rigging
Some governors on Friday evening rejected the re-election of Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers as the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF.
The governors, led by Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, claim Mr. Amaechi’s election held earlier was rigged.
Addressing the press at the end of an emergency meeting at the Akwa Ibom Government House in Abuja, Mr. Akpabio, leading Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo, Peter Obi of Anambra, and others, said the ballot papers used for the election were not serialized thus allowing for manipulation.
They said they would not recognise Mr. Amaechi’s victory and would instead recognise Mr. Amaechi’s challenger, Jonah Jang of Plateau, as the Governors Forum chairman.
Mr. Amaechi defeated Mr. Jang by 19 votes to 16 on Friday at the election held at the Rivers State Government House.
The Presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party leadership had opposed Mr. Amaechi’s re-election with the PDP Board of Trustees Chairman, Tony Anenih, claiming the NGF had been hijacked by the opposition.
River state information commissioner described her boss’ victory over President Goodluck Jonathan’s interest as “mission accomplished.”
River state delegation singing “it is a miracle working God” outside and more PDP governors depart the election venue.
Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa and Kwara state governors have left the election venue wearing stone faces. Opposition governors are jubilant as they prepare to issue a communique.
Mimiko withdrew for Zamfara governor in the deputy race. Zamfara governor elected un-opposed.
Official results: Ameachi wins by 19 votes. Jang got 16.
Voting is over and it appears the president might have lost. Inside feelers say it is 19:16 in Amaechi’s favour and a cheery Ameachi sympathizers are jubilating outside even without official results yet.
Yobe and Kebbi state governors are not present for voting.
The River State information commissioner, Ibim Semenitari, is seen outside the voting room smiling and dancing without music. ???
Mr. Jang, the northern consensus candidate for the election, did not submit a letter of intent for the position, as required by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum by-law, before today, 24 May 2013. This has caused a hitch in pitching him for the position, we understand.
Despite the consensus candidate from the governors of northern states, Mr. Amaechi, the incumbent, have insisted on having an election, refusing to step down, we understand.
Meanwhile, while other governors are locked inside, the Akwa Ibom state governor, have made repeated trips, out and in of the voting room, to make and receive calls. Observers are whispering “he might be giving live updates to the Villa.”
NGF Election: Shema, Yuguda withdraw from race
Jang emerges consensus candidate of northern governors
The meeting of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, where its officers will be elected, has just commenced in Abuja, with strong indications that two candidates for the position of the chairman, Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema and his Bauchi State counterpart, Isa Yuguda have withdrawn from the race.
About 33 out of the 36 state governors have already arrived at the Rivers State Governor’s Lodge, Abuja venue of the meeting where a source informed that the Plateau State Governor, David Jang, has joined the race for chairmanship seat of the Forum.
With this development, Mr. Jang joins the incumbent chairman of the Forum and Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi in the race.
The position of vice chairman is reportedly being contested two opposition governors, Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State and Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State. Mr. Yari belongs to All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, while Mr. Mimiko is of the Labour Party, LP. The Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi is the outgoing vice chairman.
It was gathered that Mr. Jang, who is about 70 years old, was picked at the consensus candidate at the meeting of the Northern States Governors Forum, NSGF, which held in Abuja on Friday morning.
The northern governors met at the Niger State Governors Lodge in the Asokoro District of the federal capital and lasted for more than three hours. Both Messrs Shema and Yuguda were advised to step down for their Plateau State counterpart by the governors.
Prior to the ongoing meeting of the NGF at the Rivers State Governors Lodge, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governors met at the Akwa Ibom State Governor’s Lodge while the opposition governors under the umbrella of the yet-to-be registered All Progressives Congress, APC, met at Lagos House, to strategise for the election.
It was not clear if Mr. Amaechi, a member of PDP, attended the party’s governor’s meeting chaired by Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State.