The Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has criticized his Plateau State counterpart, Jonah Jang, for “parading” himself as the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum with a spiteful rebuke to stop “Jang-ing” about the position.
Mr. Oshiomhole spoke on Thursday at the ninth Triennial Delegates Conference of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Abuja, where he berated labour leaders for failing to publicly condemn the controversy that has trailed the election.
“When the facts are so clear, Comrade President of TUC, you can’t be quiet. You must take a position, if you believe from all that you have heard and seen. If you believe that Jang won, say so. And if you know that he did not, tell him to stop Janging,” Mr. Oshiomhole said, referring to the president of the Trade Union Congress, Peter Esele.
Mr. Jang has claimed he won the controversial election in which he contested against River State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi. Mr. Amaechi was declared the winner after securing 19 votes to beat the Plateau governor, who scored 16.
Backed by governors loyal to President Goodluck Jonathan and the ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Jang has since rejected the result and claims to be the forum’s chairman.
Governors on the Amaechi team, including Mr. Oshiomhole, accuse Mr. Jang of parading himself falsely as the forum’s chairman.
Giving details of the election on Thursday, Mr. Oshiomhole said the Jang group cannot reject a poll that was conducted openly and involved only 35 governors.
“Thirty five people went into a poll and, then they were saying ‘let us make this open, the world is watching us. And then they were talking. One by one, they were sermonizing; very seasoned Pentecostal pastors,” he said.
“They said we must do open ballot and I said how can we do open ballot when you were already fighting before the ballot. Let’s do secret ballots. I said secret ballot has been domesticated worldwide and I said we are products of secret ballots, why are we afraid to do secret ballot. I said one man, one vote.”
He said Mr. Jang took the early lead before being overtaken by Mr. Amaechi.
“They had 36, but one person was absent. So, one by one in the open, open-secret ballot, we voted. The papers were with two names; pick the one you want. And they counted these votes and they were 35 representing the 35 people that were present. And when they were counting ‘Jang! Jang!!, the Niger Governor (Babangida Aliyu) said ‘Jang in early lead’. I said early lead indeed. After that they said Amaechi! Ameachi!! , Amaechi!!,” he said.
“And in the end, the votes were counted and Jang janged in 16 votes and Ameachi marshaled in 19 votes. The winner emerged and the same people started saying ‘no! no!!; we are going to walk out’. I said ‘how can you walk out? Even in madness, there are levels of madness.”