As the Peoples Democratic Party Governors Forum (PDP-GF) meets today to arrive at a consensus candidate for the post of chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), which would also meet later tonight to discuss the modalities for the chairmanship election slated for May, the party would discover that the task of removing the current NGF chairman and Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, is not going to be an easy task.
President Goodluck Jonathan had met with some select governors across party lines on Sunday night and convinced them on the need to decide on a consensus candidate who shall be presented at the NGF meeting tonight as Amaechi’s replacement.
Speculations have been rife that the president would want the Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema to supplant Amaechi as the new chairman of the NGF, but a reliable source had informed THISDAY that Jonathan is not as fastidious as to who emerges as long as it is not Amechi.
The president, the source said, had impressed it on them that Amaechi had to be replaced, as his loyalty to the party could no longer be guaranteed.
But some of the governors, it was gathered, are favourably disposed towards Amaechi’s re-election since the election would be held through a secret ballot.
However, a review of the NGF Constitution, which was obtained from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), has shown that Amaechi’s ouster will be easier said than done.
Titled “The Constitution, Aim and Objectives of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum”, the document states without ambiguity that the chairman of the forum is entitled to a second term. Amaechi, who has held the post for one term, is seeking re-election in May.
The constitution negates the position of the Chairman of PDP-GF and Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio who last week had said that the constitution stipulates only a single term for any governor that serves in the capacity of chairman of the NGF.
He also said that the constitution does not guarantee a second term for a serving chairman of NGF.
Section 6.9 of the constitution, however, states: “The chairman or the vice-chairman shall hold office for a term of two years, but shall be available for re-election for another final term of two years.”
Section 6.8.1 further adds that the principle of federal character shall endure, while stating in Section 6.8.2, “The need to reflect political party representation on the board, so as to ensure that the chairman and vice-chairman are not persons elected as governors of their states on the platform of the same political party but on the platform of two political parties with the highest representation in the board.”
The NGF constitution also stipulates the quorum at the general meeting, which shall be half of the total number of the members.
In section 17, which deals with the provisions for amendment of the constitution, sub-section 1 states: “Subject to the provisions of this section, a general meeting of the governing board (all the governors) of the NGF may amend any of the sections or provisions of the constitution by the passing of a special resolution and a special notice shall be required for such a resolution.”
While Section 17(2) and (3) state: “A special resolution to amend the constitution shall be valid if and when passed by not less than two-thirds (2/3) of the members present and voting, provided there is a quorum.
“Any addition, alteration or amendment made to or in the constitution must first be filed with the Corporate Affairs Commission.”