Rivers: Five governors to meet IBB, Abdulsalami
Five governors, who launched a save-democracy shuttle at the weekend, are to meet two former Heads of State – Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar — it was learnt yesterday.
Besides, they plan to consult a former Minister of Defence, Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma.
Four of the five governors met with former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta on Saturday on the need to save the nation’s democratic process from collapse as a result of the crisis in Rivers State.
They also drew Obasanjo’s attention to the humiliation of northern governors in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital where their convoy was attacked at the airport when they visited embattled Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi.
They expressed worry about, what they described as the increasing level of political intolerance and intimidation.
They expressed worry that the nation’s political atmosphere might not support a free and fair election in 2015.
The Presidency, it was learnt, is jittery about the visit of the governors to Obasanjo.
The five Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors behind the “Save Democracy” initiative are Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto) and Babangida Aliyu (Niger).
All, except Wamakko visited Amaechi. Aliyu was not in the team that visited the ex-President “because he got the information late”.
A source, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said the governors initiated the shuttles to key national leaders because of the benefit of insight at their disposal on the 2015 polls.
The source said: “The governors told Obasanjo to meet with other statesmen to avert the drift in the country as a result of the crises in the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and in Rivers State.
“They noted that the Rivers crisis may have a wider implication for the nation’s democracy, which is no longer enjoying international confidence. They want Obasanjo and other leaders to intervene before the situation becomes uncontrollable.”
The governors, it was learnt, told of how they were ambushed in Port Harcourt and what would have happened in the North if they had been assaulted.
“I think the visit was just to draw Obasanjo’s attention to the ‘drift’ afflicting the nation’s democracy and the need to intervene in Rivers crisis,” the source, who pleaded not to be name, said.
Replying to a question, the source added: “The governors were also unhappy about what they called anti-North agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan.”
“They want to take the same message to Gen. Babangida, Gen. Abubakar and Gen. Danjuma before the week runs out.
President Goodluck Jonathan visited Obasanjo minutes before the governors arrived at his Abeokuta home.
“What they did was not to make much issue of their visit but for the coincidental presence of Jonathan in Abeokuta,” the source said, adding:
“And it could not be immediately ascertained if security report made Jonathan to change his mind to pay condolence visit to the family of his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr, Reuben Abati, because he had sent his Chief of Staff, Chief Mike Ogiadhome, to represent him at the funeral of Abati’s mum.”
It was learnt that the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had been cautious in moving against the governors because the North is politically volatile.
One of the Special Advisers to the President, who spoke with our correspondent, said the Presidency is not jittery about the governors’ trip to Obasanjo.
The Adviser, who pleaded not to be named, said: “Everybody has the right to visit whoever he likes; there is nothing unusual about the governors’ visit to ex-President Obasanjo.
“You media men are not helping matters. Is that visit unusual? This is an elder statesman that anyone can visit. We should not make an issue out of it.”