The Duke, Amaechi Connection, How Presidency sent Akpabio to Beg Imoke
By crossriverwatch admin
These are certainly not the best of times for the amiable governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke as the stormy waters continue to test the strength of the biggest political party in Africa, Nigeria’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Crossriverwatch has gathered that the governor is very unhappy with the way the Jonathan Presidency has treated Cross River State in the scheme of things since its inception.
The governor who recently returned from medical leave is also said to be miffed by the turn of events in his absence resulting from the ongoing power tussle within the Governors Forum.
Recall that Governor Imoke was the South South Regional Coordinator of the Jonathan/Sambo campaign organization and it was expected that after the elections, Imoke will be Mr. President’s ‘Man Friday’.
But soon after the election, the high expectations were not only dashed, the fortunes of Cross River State began to nose dive.
A source very close to Imoke told crossriverwatch that “President Jonathan has the perception that our Governor is not well disposed to his interest in the politics of 2015 and he elected to punish us. Do you remember that Jonathan, while he was Vice President, chaired a high powered committee set up by late President Yar’adua to look into the dispute over the 76 oil wells between Akwa Ibom and Cross River?
“We gathered reliably that the committee resolved that matter in favor of Cross River. But when the dispute resulted in a Court case, President Jonathan became luck warm and refused to disclose that he had been Chairman of a Committee that had resolved the issue in favor of Cross River State.
“He aided Akwa Ibom to win the case in the Supreme Court over the oil wells. President Jonathan knows the 76 oil wells belong to Cross River State but he maintained a studied silence throughout the period of the litigation”. The source said.
Our source who was visibly angry continued that: “The governor is just being a gentle man because of the way Nigerian politics is being played. Who will be happy being treated the way he is being treated having worked so hard as the South South coordinator to ensure Jonathan won the elections? In fact, for the first time, the governor came down hard on those of us who are even his loyal aides and seized the 2000USD that was given to delegates from the state to vote for Atiku at the convention and all delegates were consequently numbered and strictly instructed to vote for Jonathan so he could win.
“But Look at the way the Bakassi issue was handled! The half hearted directive he gave to Adoke to apply for a review of the ICJ judgment and the inability of Mr. President to take disciplinary action against the AGF for not carrying out his directive is a testimony that he was not serious about the Bakassi issue.
“Since he became President, he has visited Akwa Ibom State several times but he has not paid any official visit to Cross River State not minding that our governor was his South South campaign coordinator. President Jonathan only appointed a Cross Riverian as Minister in a low budget Ministry of Culture and Tourism. There is no Cross Riverian among the large number of his personal assistants.
“When Obasanjo from the South West was President, he appointed a lot of our people into strategic positions. Kanu Agabi was Attorney General. Liyel Imoke himself was Special Adviser on Public Utility and Chairman Technical Committee on NEPA and later Minister of Power. Today we don’t have anyone up there even with all that the governor committed into the President’s campaign. How do you expect him to be happy with the party? How? When it was Akpabio that became the bride of PDP after the election?” The source queried.
Crossriverwatch findings across the country also indicate that since his return, Governor Imoke is being wooed by his bosom friend, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State who is believed to be on his way out of the PDP.
Amaechi is a very close friend of Governor Imoke and that is to the knowledge of Mr. President. The Cross River State owned aircraft that is presently managed by Aero Contractors was purchased from Amaechi of Rivers State and both governors are perceived as sympathetic to Atiku and others who are Jonathan’s political foes.
The frosty relationship between Amaechi and Jonathan over who controls the Governor’s Forum climaxed in the factionalization of the forum with the emergence of the PDP Governor’s Forum which is believed to have been instigated by President Jonathan to prop up Akpabio who is openly angling for a post 2015 Jonathan Presidency.
It is generally believed that whoever controls the Governor’s Forum will determine where the PDP ticket goes in the run up to the 2015 elections. With the President in firm grip of the PDP Chairmanship and the BOT, the Governor’s Forum remains a target Presidency sources say they must capture to consolidate their efforts to ensure the President runs in 2015.
Amaechi who is also believed to be interested in the Vice Presidency is working towards the emergence of a presidential candidate from outside the South South region who will guarantee his ambition. And this has forced the Presidency to factionalize the Governor’s Forum.
Defending the emergence of the PDP Governors’ Forum, the Political Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Ahmed Gulak, had said the forum under the leadership of Amaechi was being run like a trade union.
With the factionalization of the Governor’s Forum and the emergence of a Jonathan sympathizer, Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State as the Chairman of the PDP Governor’s Forum and a highly publicized Abuja Court judgement which say Jonathan can run in 2015, it seem like the coast has been cleared for President Jonathan to pick the PDP ticket at the convention.
Despite all the public denials, Amaechi and other PDP governors sympathetic to him are threatening to leave the PDP. The governors reportedly resent the strong-arm tactics employed by President Goodluck and his men in their bid to take over the party machinery.
Crossriverwatch reliably gathered that just last week, Imoke had a meeting with Amaechi and Governor Uduaghan of Delta State at a Rubber Plantation in Akamkpa. Our source says that the governors attended the meeting without their aides.
Details from the meeting were not public but our source says the governors discussed their political futures having lost faith in the ability of the Jonathan Presidency to protect their interest.
“There are opportunities opening up with the merger of political parties. But it is also not a position these governors will take in a rush. The three of them are close friends and there are exploring the possibility of finding an alternative ground where their political interest will be better protected”.
Crossriverwatch investigations in Lagos also reveal that a former governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke has been holding private meetings with the leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu to see how Cross River State can join the opposition and the talks are said to enjoy the blessings of the governor.
A source in the Bourdillion street, Ikoyi home of Tinubu, the Jargaban of Borgu, told crossriverwatch that, “Your former governor is always coming here. It is not like he just started coming because of APC. But no doubt, Jargaban is a leader of the opposition and most PDP politicians who have lost their position in the mainstream politics of the ruling party are finding their way back to the progressive camp.
“Yes I can tell you there are ongoing talks between Jargaban and Duke to see how Cross River can replay what the state had in 1999 when the opposition were the ones calling the shots but don’t forget that I don’t have any authority to speak to the press on the matter so I will not want to be quoted”. The source warned.
In January 2013, during a New Year courtesy visit by Cross River State PDP leaders to the Senate Leader, Senator Ndoma Egba, a top party chieftain while responding to a comment said: “If Mr. President wants to campaign, he can go everywhere and campaign but at the end of the day, Cross River people will know where they stand. Cross River people are very unhappy with Mr. President and we will never support him again. Not after all these experiences we are having”.
Worried by these developments, a Presidency source told crossriverwatch that: “All of this is politics. He (Imoke) will not decamp. The President knows that the governor is not happy and he knows when he will pacify him. That is why Mr. President sent Akpabio to attend Imoke’s thanksgiving service last week in Calabar. Both of them had a short chat after the service and the discussions were very useful and instrumental to the political developments you have just enumerated”.
It is believed that the president sent Akpabio to the thanksgiving service which was officiated by Bishop Oyedepo of Winners Chapel, to beg Imoke not to cave in to pressure from the Amaechi camp and desert him.
But a senior aide to Governor Imoke who spoke to crossriverwatch on condition of anonymity said “There is an unpalatable trend we are seeing. There is no way Governor Imoke will be able to work with Akpabio in the new PDP Governors Forum. The President wants to begin to run the party again like a personal property and this has been demonstrated by the sack of some members of the National Working Committee, who Mr. President perceives as working against his second term ambition. He has also returned Chief (Tony) Anenih as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees; they have factionalized the Governors’ Forum”.
“I can assure you that if the Amaechi camp eventually decides to leave PDP, our governor will not stay back. He will follow his friend because that is where his interest is protected. He cannot trust Jonathan and he cannot work with Akpabio. The Governor cannot say that in the open now because there are grand plans to victimize any of the governors that threatens decamping opening and that has been said by the Chairman of the PDP Governor’s Forum who has described those who disagree with Jonathan as Judases and threatened that they will be probed.
“So we will see a President that is desperate to use security and anti-corruption agencies to begin to hound dissenting governors. But that will not deter Governor Imoke. When the chips are down, he will follow the camp that will protect his interest. That is politics”. Our source concluded.
follow us on twitter @crossriverwatch
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.