President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday adjourned an enlarged meeting with state governors on security challenges facing the country till Wednesday.
The adjournment was necessitated by the absence of the All Progressives Congress governors.
Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State told State House correspondents that the meeting was adjourned till 4pm on Wednesday to give room for the All Progressives Congress governors to attend.
All the APC governors did not honour the President’s invitation to the meeting which was scheduled to commence at 1pm at the First Lady’s Conference Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Only 15 Peoples Democratic Party governors, one All Progressives Grand Alliance governor, one Labour Party governor, two PDP deputy governors and an acting governor arrived at the venue as of 2pm on Thursday.
But Akpabio claimed that only the PDP governors were invited to the Thursday meeting to interface with the President and his security chiefs because of the challenges being faced in some parts of the country.
He said, “This is a fallout of our meeting which we held with the PDP governors and we felt that there was a need for us to also meet with security chiefs.
“Mr. President has listened to us and even said that since it is a problem that involves all the states of the federation, it is better for all the state governors to be in attendance. Because of that, he has graciously agreed to meet with all the governors of the 36 states of the federation on Wednesday by 4pm.
“Of course, you know we are very much concerned first as the PDP governors and the centre belongs to the PDP and so we felt that we should see our 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.
“So I believe strong notice will be going out and all governors will be at the meeting with Mr. President and service chiefs next week Wednesday so we can sit and discuss and proffer solutions to the current insecurity in the country. I believe it will come to an end.”
When confronted with the fact that Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State (Labour Party) and Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State (All Progressives Grand Alliance) attended the meeting, Akpabio said he was at liberty to invite anybody he wanted to the meeting.
He however said there was no state governor who would not love to attend such a meeting and add his voice to how the current security situation could be tackled.
The governor warned against the politicisation of the security situation, saying all hands must be on deck to end the insurgency.
Akpabio said the President did not disclose his next line of action on the state of emergency declared in three states which expires on Saturday.
He said since the governors of the affected states did not attend the meeting, their heads could not be shaven in their absence.
He expressed the belief that the issue would be discussed on Wednesday when all the governors would be around.
Presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, had in a statement on Wednesday said Jonathan had summoned state governors to an enlarged National Security Council meeting on security developments in the country.
Abati had said members of the council and the state governors would review the security situation as well as the ongoing measures and operations with a view to determining the best way forward.
The meeting presided over by the President also had Vice- President Namadi Sambo; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; and the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) in attendance.
The APC later released a statement in which it denied that its governors shunned the meeting with Jonathan.
The party, in a statement by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the truth of the matter was that its governors were given the impression that the meeting had been called off, hence they stayed away.
The statement partly read “On Wednesday, the Presidency called the Chief Detail of the Kwara State Government to say that the meeting had been called off.
“On the basis of this information, which apparently got to other governors under the aegis of the APC, our governors did not attend.
“Now that the meeting has been held, it is incumbent on the Presidency to launch an investigation into the source of the call to the Kwara State Government and what the call was meant to achieve.
“Irrespective of the totally unfounded and absolutely irresponsible allegation that the APC is behind the escalating security situation, our party will not shy away from any serious effort to end the terrorist attacks in our country. Therefore, it is not true that our Governors shunned the meeting with the President.”
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