Security meeting with Jonathan APC governors not invited, Akpabio says
A meeting called by President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday with governors over sharp deterioration in security situation in the country was soon mired in controversy as the day progressed.
Presidential spokesman Reuben Abati announced Wednesday Jonathan would hold two meetings beginning with security council meeting with service chiefs followed by an enlarged meeting with state governors in attendance.
The meeting was called after 75 people were killed when a suicide bomber attacked a bus station in the morning rush hour on Monday and the abduction of 129 female students in Borno State the following day.
But as the meeting was about to get underway it emerged 16 All Progressives Congress (APC) governors were not in attendance. Soon rumours began to circulate that the opposition governors had boycotted the meeting.
At the end of a two-hour meeting journalists sought for explanation from Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio on the absence of APC governors but he said they were not invited to the meeting.
Also, Theordore Orji of Abia state said the meeting was convened at the behest of PDP governors during their meeting in Jigawa recently.
Orji said details of their discussion with the president were not for public consumption. “We undertook an essential discussion on the security of the nation. That is exactly what we did. Details are not for public because they are security issues. Of course, no governor is happy with what has happened, but bear in mind that the meeting is at the instance of the PDP governors. We took a decision when we went to Jigawa and we requested the president to invite us to a meeting with the security chiefs. That is why we are here. We initiated the meeting for clearance”.
Akpabio also said Jonathan noted that the current security challenges involved all the states of the federation and had therefore agreed to meet with all the 36 state governors at 4.00pm, next Wednesday.
Akpabio, who is the chairman of PDP governors’ forum when asked why Ondo and Anambra governors, who are not of the PDP, attended the meeting, said he personally invited them because “I have the right to invite whoever I want.
“We just wanted to meet with our president and some service chiefs to air our views and also make some suggestions.
“Now, he (Jonathan) is insisting, which is right too, that it is a national issue because it must be handled nationally, and that is why all the governors must be here. I don’t think there is a governor who will not love to be here to also add his voice and suggestion on how we can tackle the current situation.
“Of course, you know we are very much concerned first as PDP governors and the centre belongs to the PDP, and so, we felt that we should see our dear president and if need be, with some of the security chiefs. He has graciously listened to us and he said since it is a national issue, we must have all the 36 governors in attendance.
He expressed optimism that a meeting of all the 36 state governors with the president and all the service chiefs would bring an end to the current security challenges.
Akpabio also disclosed that the president did not give them the details of the ongoing emergency rule in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States because of the absence of the governors of the three states.
“On the state of emergency, no, he (the president) didn’t go into details with us. Of course, you know that is a national issue, and if you discuss, you can shave a man’s head behind him. The governors of the states that are involved in emergency are not here. So, I believe that issue will be taken on when all the governors are around on Wednesday,” he said.