Ahead of his expected declaration for the 2015 presidential race,
supporters of President Goodluck Jonathan appear to have been pitted
against one another.
The development has threatened the cohesion of the president’s camp as
preparations for the general elections gather momentum.
Although signs of suppressed rumbles have been noticeable in the
president’s political family since late last year, the real threat
became glaring recently as pseudo-mobilisation bodies heightened their
struggle for space in the expected campaign structure that may emerge
in a few months.
The latest sign of cold war materialised in Akwa Ibom State one week
after a similar case in the president’s home state, Bayelsa, in the
form of a supremacy battle.
Already, Governor Godswill Akpabio is said to have complained to
Jonathan about the activities of the presidential adviser on political
matters, Ahmed Ali Gulak.
Akpabio, who is also the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party
(PDP) Governors’ Forum has reportedly asked Jonathan to call Gulak to
order by asking the presidential aide to steer clear of his state as
the 2015 election approaches.
The governor is said to be unhappy over the ‘back-door’ approach the
presidential aide is alleged to be adopting to make incursions into
Akwa Ibom on the pretence of garnering support for Jonathan’s
re-election in 2015.
He specifically accused Gulak of fraternising and associating with his
political enemies in the state.
Akpabio was not comfortable that Gulak was giving tacit encouragement
to some of his estranged political associates who are pursuing agenda
different from his own in the countdown towards 2015.
The governor was particularly angered by Gulak’s well-publicised
political fraternity with his (Akpabio’s) former deputy, Obong Nsima
Ekere, and ex-secretary to the state government (SSG), Umana Okon
Umana, under the guise of membership of Goodluck Suppport Group (GSG),
one of the numerous groups rooting for the re-election of Jonathan in
Gulak incurred the wrath of the governor when he stormed Uyo, the
Akwa-Ibom State capital, on Tuesday, April 14, and inaugurated the
South-South zonal office of the GSG.
Besides that, Gulak did not intimate the government about the visit
and his activities in the state. The ceremony was attended by Umana,
Ekere and other notable political opponents of the governor.
The governor was said to have considered Gulag’s action as
“disrespectful and an affront” to his exalted office.
Akpabio, it was learnt, was infuriated that Gulak created the
impression that he acted on behalf of the Presidency.
The governor’s position may have influenced the last meeting of the
Akwa Ibom chapter of the PDP, which lampooned the presidential aide
over his recent political foray into the state.
In the communique signed by the Akwa Ibom State PDP chairman, Mr Paul
Ekpo, the party accused Gulak of breaching existing and relevant
protocols during his visit to the state.
“Gulak came to Akwa Ibom State and inaugurated a sectional and an
unknown support group in favour of President Goodluck Jonathan without
calling on the state’s party leadership.
“Let Gulak sort out PDP problems in Adamawa State, deliver Adamawa
State to the president before rushing to safe territories like
South-South Nigeria where Jonathan requires no campaign,” the
statement said in part.
Also, one of our sources said: “The Akwa Ibom State governor, Chief
Godswill Akpabio, is very unhappy with the Gulak because of his recent
visit to his state. You know the governor is a known ally of Mr
President and he has reported the presidential aide to his boss for
“How can Gulak come to the state and gather some dissidents and well
known political enemies of the governor for a nocturnal meeting under
the guise of inaugurating an office of a support group for the
president? He did not even bother to inform and relate with the
government and the party in the state during the visit.
“The governor considers his action as disrespectful and an affront and
he has asked Mr President to call Gulak to order and prevail on him to
stop further interference in the political affairs of the state.”
It could be recalled that a similar incident happened in Bayelsa State
last week as the police, allegedly acting on instructions from the
state governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, forcefully stopped a
pro-Jonathan rally bankrolled by another presidential aide,
Waripamowei Dudafa, who is eyeing the governorship of the state in
The group, New Dawn Initiative for Development, led by its national
chairman Olalekan Bello and national secretary Michael Agbo Baro, had
in the announcement and invitation letters circulated to political
leaders in the state, including the state governor, Hon. Dickson,
stated that the rally would kick-start series of programmes and
activities targeted at the grassroots so that the message will gain
traction well before the 2015 election.
In the letter of invitation dated March 28, 2014, and sent to the
governor requesting him to attend as special guest at the rally, the
group noted that “the rally will provide a message loud enough to
reverberate in Aso Villa to the hearing of the president that his
people earnestly yearn for him to continue the good work he has
started through vehicle of his transformation agenda.”
The New Dawn was, however, suspected by loyalists of the state
government to be a new political machinery set up and bankrolled by
While many members of the New Dawn claimed the pro-Jonathan rally was
aborted by the police under instructions from the state governor due
to the rumour that it was to be used as a platform to endorse the
candidature of Dudafa as Bayelsa governor in 2016, close aides of the
governor dismissed the claim.
It was gathered that the leadership of the group had secured the
permission of the state police commissioner Hillary Okpara to hold the
rally at the Opolo Primary and Secondary School, in Opolo area of the
state capital, before the sudden action of the police.
The presidential aide, Dudafa, is touted to be eyeing the governorship
ticket of the ruling PDP, with reports linking his ambition to the
desire of the president’s wife Dame Patience Jonathan to stop Governor
Dickson from seeking a second term in office, a claim she denies.
However, she is said to be backing Dudafa as the next governor of Bayesla State.