For the first time since the election that caused a division in the NigeriaGovernors’ Forum, almost all the 36 state governorsconverged on the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday for a mid-term dinner organised by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The two main antagonists in the NGF crisis Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, who won the May 24 election of the forum and Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State, who leads a faction of the group- attended the event.
Although Jang and members of his faction were already seated before the arrival of the President which signalled the commencement of the dinner, Amaechi and his loyalists arrived at the same time shortly after the event had started.
A mild drama however played out when Amaechi, who cancelled a meeting of the NGF earlier scheduled for 8pm on Wednesday, joined the table where Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State and others were already seated.
In the process of exchanging pleasantries, Amaechi was heard pointing to Akpabio and saying, “No, you can never be a democrat.”
Some governors in the Amaechi faction were initially seated among journalists at the back of the hall before they were ushered in to the front where seats were reserved for them.
The other governors in attendance were those of Niger, Lagos, Nasarawa, Imo, Edo, Adamawa, Zamfara, Ogun, Kano, Ekiti and Jigawa.
Others were the governors of Sokoto, Cross River, Bauchi, Abia, Plateau, Kogi, Ebonyi , Ondo, Delta, Anambra and Kaduna states.
The acting governor of Taraba State and the deputy governors of Bayelsa, Kwara, Katsina, Benue and Gombe States were also in attendance.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwwal, was however absent at the dinner attended by the President of the Senate, David Mark; and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu.
The dinner was still ongoing at the time of filing this report.
Before the cancellation of the NGF meeting, some of the Pro-Amaechigovernors had converged on the Rivers State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, where they took the final decision to attend the dinner.
In a brief chat with journalists before they moved to the Villa, Amaechi said “We have shifted the meeting to honour the invitation sent to us for dinner by the President. We would have loved to meet, but we have to honour the President’s invitation.