Monday, 7 April 2014

Open Secret:Patience Jonathan Plans To Remove 3 Governors Leaks

Patience Jonathan Plans To Remove 3 Governors Leaks
First lady Patience Jonathan is set to play the godmother of governors in at least three states: Bauchi, Bayelsa and Rivers. Sources confided in LEADERSHIP at the weekend that the wife of the president has positioned her favourites to clinch the tickets of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the states ahead of the 2015 election. That of Bayelsa, however, is scheduled for 2016.

In Rivers State, Mrs Jonathan is said to be working to ensure that the governorship candidate of the PDP emerged from one of the riverine local government areas of the state, possibly Okrika.
By implication, the supervising minister for education, Nyesom Wike, who had had a running battle with Governor Rotimi Amaechi, apparently in the hope of getting the party’s ticket for 2015, may well consider himself out of the race.
A highly placed source in the know of the calculations told LEADERSHIP that the president’s wife has not hidden her desire to have a riverine person govern the state for the first time.
“She has withdrawn her initial support for the bid of supervising minister of education Mr Nyesom Wike to succeed Amaechi at Brick House, Port Harcourt in 2015. But you know this is politics; much as she might want to have her kinsman as governor, some persons have also reminded her that an Okrika man, Ada George, had been governor before. So, in the alternative, she might go for the executive director of finance and administration of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr Henry Ogiri, who is also from the riverine but not Kalabari or Okrika but Abua/Odual,” he said.
It was gathered that the plot had leaked to Wike, who was said to have been jolted and livid that he had been dumped after he was used to fight his kinsman and benefactor, Governor Amaechi.
LEADERSHIP learnt that the latest calculation informed the reluctance of Wike to resign his appointment and formally declare his intention to contest the governorship election.
It was obvious that the powers that be had sent the signal to Wike, as an ex-militant commander and a kinsman of the first lady, Chief Tom Ateke, indicated interest in the governorship election. Posters of the former militant leader saturated major roads and streets of the state capital last week.
Findings showed that although Tom Ateke was not the choice of the first lady, he was being drafted to fly the kite and gauge opinions of the stakeholders in the state.
“The first lady has changed the game plan,” the source said. “Tom Ateke is certainly the John the Baptist, a forerunner. The main man would soon be unmasked, but what is sure is that the first lady has made up her mind to give the PDP governorship slot in 2015 to her people.
“The calculation is that if a riverine man is not made governor now that their in-law is the president, then, it might be a foreclosed chapter for them.”
Neither Wike nor Ateke took calls nor replied to text messages sent to their cell phones on the subject matter.
Not oblivious of the challenges and ripple effects the latest move might have on the party, some elders of the PDP in Rivers State over the weekend warned against ethnicising the party’s governorship ticket.
In a release, signed by Chief Ferdinand Alabraba and Chief Maxwell Tasie Amadi on behalf of the group, the elders frowned at a situation where people were fanning the embers of ethnicity in their jostling for the gubernatorial slot in the state, adding that it could become divisive and detrimental to the unity of the party in the state.
The elders warned that although PDP remains the preferred party in the state, the threat to party unity as a result of parochial sentiments arising from ethnic group campaigns and endorsements for the governorship could not be ignored or underestimated.
The Bayelsa scenario is also interesting in many respects. Findings showed that the wife of the president has positioned the special assistant (domestic matters) in the presidency, Dr Waripomowei Dudafa, to succeed Governor Seriake Dickson in the 2016 election in the state, a development that has been generating suppressed ripples in the home state of President Jonathan.
Dudafa, a former member of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, who also served as special adviser and commissioner in the administrations of Jonathan and Timipre Sylva in the state, is regarded as “a son of the first lady”.
He was a personal aide to the first lady before he was upgraded as SA (domestic matters) in the presidency.
Although LEADERSHIP gathered that Dudafa has not formally declared his intention to run for the highest political office in the state, clandestine moves to project him had commenced in the state barely a year ago.
Dudafa is also reported to be making efforts to gain upper hand and control of the structure of the ruling party in the state.
It was learnt that as the plot by the first lady to draft Dudafa into the 2016 governorship race thickens, Governor Seriake Dickson is also not oblivious of the development and has commenced moves to consolidate himself in power.
The governor was said to have embarked on strategies to dislodge some loyalists of the first lady and close associates of Jonathan in the power equation ahead of the 2016 governorship election.
It was gathered that the governor was apprehensive that the first lady had recruited some associates and friends of her husband, some of whom were notable politicians in the state, to dislodge him from power.
To this end, political observers interpreted the recent cabinet re-jig in which Dickson sacked seven commissioners as part of the bold moves to whittle down the influence of the president and his wife as well as their surrogates in the politics of the state.
As a signal that he was not prepared to tolerate any mole in his cabinet, Dickson fired two appointees of the first lady — Dudafa Gesiye Isowo, commissioner for special duties in charge of federal projects; and Dr Sylvanus Abila, commissioner for environment.
Also, three others — Barrister Francis Egele, former justice commissioner and attorney-genera,l and his colleagues in the tourism development and health ministries, Mr Nelson Belief and Anapurere Michaeal Awoli, respectively — who were nominated by an associate of President Jonathan, King A.J. Turner, were shown the way out of the cabinet.
Turner, a traditional ruler, is the chairman of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and was a principal factor in the installation of Governor Dickson.
The sack of the ex-commissioner for science, technology and manpower, Mr Parkinson MacManuel, has a bearing with his relationship with Chief Dikivie Ikhiogha, the chief of staff, Abuja Liaison, an another associate of Jonathan.
A top politician in the state said: “Governor Seriake Dickson is already aware of the moves by the first lady to deny him a second term ticket by drafting Dr Waripomowei Dudafa to take over from him in 2016. The threat to Dickson’s job is real because the presidential aide is like a son to the first lady and you don’t expect the governor to fold his hands and watch helplessly.
“As a strong member of the political camp of the wife of the president, Dudafa is considered a threat and anyone seen as his loyalist is an enemy to the present administration in the state. So, the governor is carefully removing the moles around him and establishing and asserting himself strongly in the politics of the state ahead of 2016.”
But Dickson’s chief press secretary, Mr Daniel Markson-Iworiso, said the sack of the commissioners had no link with the re-election of his boss in 2016, adding that it was due to the ongoing re-organisation of government ministries, departments and agencies for a more optimal implementation of the Restoration Agenda.
He said there was no iota of truth that his boss had a frosty relationship with the first family to warrant his being denied a second term in office.
“All these are stories peddled by those who want a crack in the relationship between the governor and the first family; they have looked for so many opportunities to create friction but it has not worked; so this is one of the strategies they are adopting. So please, ignore all such stories; they are lies,” Markson said on telephone.
In Bauchi, although there is no incumbent seeking re-election, Mrs Jonathan’s desire to crown a serving minister as the next governor of Bauchi State might clash with the interest of Governor Isa Yuguda.
Yuguda’s joker for the governorship is his in-law, Dr Musa Babayo.
But findings showed that the first lady had scheduled the said minister to take over from Yuguga in 2015 by securing the nod of relevant stakeholders in the state in favour of her choice.
In the ensuring permutations, the position of the PDP national chairman, Adamu Mu’azu, who until lately was not in good terms with Governor Yuguda, has remained hazy.
Although the minister in question has not resigned his portfolio to enable him join the governorship race, it was gathered that he is likely to throw in the towel at the end of ongoing consultations being spearheaded by the first lady.
“The first lady is confident that her choice will scale the hurdles and she asked the minister to wait till the appropriate time before quitting the Federal Executive Council (FEC),” added the source. “The first lady has never hidden her relationship and likeness for the FCT minister and his entire family. You can recall that she was one of the few high-profile personalities who paid a condolence visit to the minister when he was bereaved recently.”

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