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Drama, Intrigue at Council of State Meeting

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By Olumide Bajulaiye in Abuja

Thursday’s Council of State Meeting was laced with a lot of drama and intrigue, not just the game of wits engaged in by Governors Olusegun Mimiko and Rochas Okorocha after the talks, which you are already aware of.

The story began with former Head of State and All Progressives Congress Presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, who led the APC governors to the meeting.

Contrary to protocol, which requires that the former head of state joined up with other former leaders and President Jonathan at the inner room at the Presidential Villa and come in a procession to the Council Chambers with the President, Buhari headed straight to the chamber.

All entreaties to him to join his colleagues fell on deaf hears until Senate President David Mark came to appeal to him. Mark was the third to persuade Buhari to join the former leaders after the National Security Adviser Colonel Sambo Dasuki and Secretary to the Government of the Federation Senator Anyim Pius Anyim had failed.

The former leaders were cautious in their position; they hid behind the Independent National Electoral Commission with most of them saying INEC should determine if its ready for the poll and tell the nation so. This was the same position canvassed by former Chief Justices of the Federation. But the governors towed party lines at the talks. APC governors were opposed to a shift of the poll while the PDP governors were not averse to a postponement.

INEC Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega and NSA made presentations before the meeting, with Jega telling the Council that INEC was ready for the poll and Sambo raising security concerns in four states of Yobe, Borno, Adamawa and now Gombe.

With the meetings over, Governor Mimiko moved swiftly to beat Governors Okorocha and Bala Ngilari (Adamawa), who were all named to talk to newsmen, to the game by positioning himself at the centre and thus briefed the media. But Mimiko had hardly finished when Okorocha too dragged a chair, saying, “I want to talk too, I want to brief them.”

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