Defiant Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State has dismissed insinuations that he went against the advice of the Presidency and ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to contest the chairmanship of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).
He stated this while answering questions from Shaun Ley of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) programme, Hardtalk; noted for its frank and often times unsettling questions.
When asked if he told President Goodluck Jonathan, who is leader of the PDP of his ambition to re-contest for the chairmanship of the NGF, Amaechi responded “Nobody told me not to run. My assumption is that you the journalists in Britain have an association. Would the Prime Minister tell you to run or not to run for a public office? That is the kind of freedom we are looking for in NGF. So I didn’t need to go to the president and say, Mr President, I want to run for the office of the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum. I didn’t need to do that and I didn’t do that. And he, in-turn, did not come tell me that, ‘I heard you want to run’. So I ran and I didn’t see the president on the ballot. The person I saw on the ballot was Jonah Jang.”
He insisted that he defeated his Plateau State counterpart by 19 votes to 16 saying, “I didn’t say I beat him, the result was clear.”
On his suspension from the PDP and his often talked about ambition in 2015 which has been touted as the height of his infractions against the presidency, the Rivers State governor said:
“Let’s work on the assumption that I remain in PDP and let’s also assume work on the assumption that I’m running for the office of the vice president, will my leaving PDP not be an answer to your assumption? Let’s assume the president wants to run in PDP and I remain in PDP that means I have no ambition or those that are assuming I have an ambition will be making a lot of mistakes because the place to pursue that ambition will be in an alternative party. But the reason for being in PDP is because nobody can chase me out of PDP.”