By Chesa Chesa
The closed-door meeting between Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday ended in a deadlock.
The bone of contention was the recent extension of tenure for the party’s elected officials at all levels, which was eventually denounced by Buhari.
The governors were led to the meeting which started at 2:15 pm by the chairman of the APC Governors Forum and Imo State governor, Rocha’s Okorocha.
The meeting was the first between the governors and the President since he upturned the party’s earlier extension of tenure for its elected officials, a move that many of the governors had consented to.
The President however, at the party’s recent National Executive Council meeting, dissociated himself from the move, citing constitutional illegality.
The issue of tenure elongation has created division in the ranks of the APC governors supporting the national party chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, against those supporting the party’s national leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who want Oyegun out of office as soon as possible.
The meeting was well attended by the governors with that of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, arriving as early as 10am; while Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, who sustained an ankle injury last week, made it to the meeting in his crutches.
Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, and his Kebbi State counterpart, Atiku Bagudu, said the opening Christian and Islamic prayers.
Before then, one of the governors had been heard insisting that a�?what they are bringing to the table today, we will not allow it to stand. This is a coup and we will not allow it to standa�?.
It was obvious that the grey areas around the tenure elongation and struggles to maintain unity ahead of next year’s general elections were not resolved when the governors emerged from the parley that lasted more than an hour.
When approached for comments, none of the governors was willing to speak to State House correspondents, which was an unusual development.
El-Rufai pointedly said they had agreed not to talk to the press, while Okorocha who was willing to speak was quickly reminded by his Oyo State counterpart, Abiola Ajimobi, that he was not supposed to grant interviews.
While some of the governors bottled up their feelings despite wearing long faces, one of them was overheard telling another that a�?some people who think they are tall, think they can control us; it will not worka�?.
It was learnt that things almost came to a head when the President left the governors during the meeting to decide among themselves on when the meeting would reconvene.
While the Zamfara State Governor and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Abdulaziz Yari, proposed April 9th and 10th, el-Rufai reportedly would have none of that as he was said to have countered those dates.
With some of the governors taking sides over the issue, the meeting ended in a not too friendly note as they left one after the other.
By Chesa Chesa