Cross River State Governor, Mr. Liyel Imoke, yesterday told opponents of emergency rule in states being troubled by Boko Haram insurgents to count him out of their group actions.
Imoke’s statement, as chairman of the South South Governors’ Forum, is in sharp contrast to an earlier declaration by his Rivers State counterpart Rotimi Amaechi who heads the larger Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).
Imoke also expressed support for a second term of office for President Goodluck Jonathan.
Amaechi, who is rumoured to be eyeing the Vice Presidency slot, has been having a running battle with federal forces of late.
On Monday, Amaechi spoke on behalf of the NGF opposing any imposition of emergency rule in the states being troubled by Boko Haram. The following day, President Jonathan imposed a state of emergency on Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
Yesterday, however, Imoke who spoke to State House Correspondents after a meeting with the President, said that the emergency rule was in order and that it had the backing of the South South Governors’ Forum.
He said: “The South South Governors Forum endorses the state of emergency by Mr. President and we ask him to be firm on security. He is enjoying popular support and the support of the National Security Adviser and the National Security Council on the state of emergency.”
Describing the President’s actions as positive, Imoke said: “the democratic institutions are still in place and I think is very significant and commendable.”
He said further: “I think it is for us now to throw our support behind the President, encourage him in dealing with this insurgency and ensure that those states are returned to normalcy.”
He, however, denied knowledge of an alleged frosty relationship between the President and Amaechi. The Cross River State Governor said: “I don’t think my colleague from Rivers State is having disagreement with the President,” adding however that the River State helmsman “might have disagreement with his colleague-governors.”
On the disposition of the North towards Jonathan’s reported aspiration for 2015, the governor argued that since it was the first time a minority is leading the country, the incumbent should be allowed to lead for a second tenure.
“Everybody has the right to agitate and to contest. This is the first time we will have president from the minority and I think it speaks volume about the maturity of our democracy in this country and I think we need to sustain that,” he noted.
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