The Presidency on Friday said it was in the best interest of Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State to heed the advice of the All Progressives Congress governors asking him to meet President Goodluck Jonathan on the crisis rocking the state.
The governors said this when they paid a visit to Amaechi and discussed the volatile security situation in Rivers on Thursday.
The governors were Mr. Babatunde Fashola (Lagos); Dr. Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti); Senator Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo); Mr. Rauf Aregbesola (Osun); and Senator Ibikunle Amosu (Ogun).
The entourage also had deputy governors; Mr. Eze Madumere (Imo); Dameshi Barua Luka (Nasarawa); and Alhaji Muktar Ankar (Zamfara), who represented their principals during the solidarity visit.
Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, while reacting to the visit by the opposition governors to Port Harcourt in an interview with one of our correspondents, said the Presidency had no problem with the visit to Amaechi because free movement was part of the governors’ constitutional right.
According to him, the Presidency would receive the governor if he decides to visit Aso Rock.
He said, “The governors who visited Amaechi have the constitutional right to move freely and decide who they will associate with.
“Don’t forget that before that latest visit, four PDP governors from the North had paid a similar visit although they had issues with the people of the state who felt they were the ones pushing their governor.
“I think the eight governors advised him properly by asking him to seek ways of resolving the impasse.
“I am happy they told him the truth that media war will not solve the problem and that dragging the name of the President into it won’t solve the crisis.
“I hope the governor will not squander the goodwill and that he will listen to the words of reasoning his colleagues gave him.”
When asked whether the Presidency did not view the visit as an indication that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party might have lost Amaechi to the yet-to-be registered All Progressives Congress, Gulak said nobody was forcing the governor to remain in the PDP.
He said although Amaechi’s claim to be a PDP member by face, the governor had for long been romancing opposition parties.
Gulak said, “I have always been saying it that nobody is forcing him (Amaechi) to remain in the PDP. He has the constitutional right to join any party he wants. It is his constitutional right.
“Everybody knows that he has a face of PDP but deep in him, he has been romancing opposition parties.
“But my advice for him is that he should not forget the 2007 court ruling on the basis of which he is occupying that seat. The verdict was that it was PDP that won the governorship seat and not Celestine Omehia.
“That means he is indebted to the PDP and the only way he can pay that debt is to continue to be loyal to the party.”
On Friday, Amaechi, who spoke to SUNDAY PUNCH through his Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, confirmed he would heed the advice of the APC governors.
The governor said there was nothing wrong with what his fellow governors had advised him to do.
Amaechi, however, did not state when he intended to visit the President.