Three sources within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) today confirmed to SaharaReporters that Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State and his Delta State counterpart, Emmanuel Uduaghan, actually walked out on the PDP’s national chairman, Bamanga Tukur, and Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, the chairman of the PDP Governors Forum (PGF).
Our sources said Mr. Amaechi and Mr. Uduaghan staged the walk-out during a meeting of the South-South special zonal executive committee on Sunday, March 17, 2013 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. One of the sources accused the two Niger Delta governors of teaming up to walk out in order to embarrass Mr. Tukur and their Akwa Ibom State counterpart. Governor Akpabio, who was recently chosen as the inaugural chairman of the PDP’s governors’ forum, is known to be extremely servile towards President Goodluck Jonathan.
Mr. Jonathan and Governor Amaechi have been carrying on a quiet feud for some months now. In a move to cover up shunning of Mr. Tukur, the Delta State Commissioner of Information, Chike Ogeah, had issued a statement claiming that Governor Uduaghan’s exit from the Port Harcourt meeting did not translate to disrespect for the PDP chairman. Mr. Ogeah’s statement asserted that, on arrival in Port Harcourt, Mr. Uduaghan had informed Mr. Tukur of his intention to return to Asaba, the Delta State capital, the same day.
“Given that Asaba Airport closes to air traffic by 5 p.m., the Governor had sought the permission of the chairman to exit the meeting whenever it gets to the threshold of arriving Asaba Airport ahead of its closure to air traffic,” wrote the commissioner. He added: “Alhaji Tukur had graciously agreed to let Governor Uduaghan leave to enable him [to] return to Asaba on time. When eventually it was time to leave for the return flight to Asaba, Dr. Uduaghan again notified the chairman who wished him a safe flight.” According to Ogeah, “Governor Amaechi, as the host governor, had to see Dr. Uduaghan off.
At no time was there any disagreement to elicit a walk out by anybody. Alhaji Tukur had conducted the meeting in an atmosphere of candor and camaraderie and before Dr. Uduaghan left the meeting, all the parties present had addressed the meeting.” Mr. Ogeah’s narrative was contradicted by a senior official of the Delta State government who was in Mr. Uduaghan’s entourage. The source disclosed that Governor Uduaghan did not head straight for the airport after leaving the meeting in Port Harcourt. Instead, he went to Governor Amaechi’s residence where he and the host governor as well as a few others shared a few bottles of wine.
In the words of the source, “The truth of the matter is that His Excellency, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, and his Rivers State counterpart really walked out on the national chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and the Governor of Akwa Ibom who is the chairman of the PDP Governors Forum (PGF), Chief Godswill Akpabio during the South-South Meeting of PDP held on Sunday, March 17, 2013 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.” The source noted that Mr. Uduaghan left shortly after the delivery of some speeches. He disclosed that the Delta governor stood up and told Mr. Tukur that he was leaving. “As he was going out, the host governor, Mr. Amaechi, stood up too.
Governor Amaechi pretended that he was seeing off my boss. But to the surprise of many, the two governors’ convoys drove straight to Governor Amaechi’s lodge where we all came down and were ushered in. Governor Amaechi then asked his aides to bring out drinks and my boss was treated to a good reception.” Our source revealed that the two governors discussed in hushed tones but laughed loud as they enjoyed themselves. SaharaReporters learnt that Governor Uduaghan spent approximately one hour before leaving for the airport to board an aircraft bound for Asaba.
A senior PDP official told SaharaReporters that Mr. Tukur and Governor Akpabio were upset to discover that Governors Amaechi and Uduaghan left the PDP parley to go and share drinks. “Do you need a prophet to tell you that the two governors actually walked out on the party chairman and other dignitaries at the meeting?” he queried. When SaharaReporters contacted Governor Amaechi, he stated that he had to leave the meeting due to a slight medical reason. He added he and Mr. Uduaghan exited the meeting at the same time after notifying the PDP chairman.