- Category: Politics
- Published on Tuesday, 27 July 2010 09:03
- Written by Next
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Political leaders from the south south yesterday stated clearly that they are in support of President Goodluck Jonathan contesting for the office of president in 2011. They said the entire population of the Niger Delta would endorse whatever he decided to do.
The Niger Delta leaders, who formed part of the crowd at a South South Stakeholders Forum held Monday in Port Harcourt, also called on Nigerians in other parts of the country to support the candidacy of Mr. Jonathan as a sign of solidarity with minority groups in the country.
Godswill Akpabio, the governor of Akwa Ibom State, said the meeting was called by the governors to enable them interact with the people of the area so that they could jointly take a common position on the 2011 election and expected candidacy of Mr. Jonathan.
A support across regions
They are of the view that the support for Jonathan will cement the feeling of oneness in the country, and signify that anyone can aspire to any heights as long as he/she has the quality required.
The meeting, which was attended by all the Peoples’ Democratic Party governors of the region, also had in attendance National Assembly members, state lawmakers, and political leaders such as Edwin Clark, Anthony Anenih, Matthew Mbu, and Don Etiebet.
“We urge Nigerians to support Jonathan to move Nigeria forward beyond 2011,” the communiqué of the meeting said.
The forum also affirmed the right of Mr. Jonathan to contest in 2011, “especially as this zone has not produced a president in the 50 years history of the nation.”
The communiqué was signed by the Cross Rivers State governor and chairman of the South South Governors Forum, Liyel Imoke; Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi; Bayelsa State governor, Timpreye Sylva; and Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio.
The leaders expressed the opinion of the region that a Mr. Jonathan presidency is a continuation of the Yar’Adua/Jonathan presidency, and that Mr. Jonathan was carrying out the policies and programmes of the government.
The communiqué added, “The summit supports the team of Jonathan and Namadi Sambo, and their efforts to take the Yar’Adua reforms to the logical conclusion.”
Speakers listed the various contributions of the region to the survival of the country. They also called on the rest of the country, especially the north, to support the region in its quest to have one of its own elected president of Nigeria next year.
“If the people of the south west were given the presidency in 1998 to assuage a hurt, then no one has suffered more than the people of the south south, and no one deserved the presidency more than them,” said former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alaimeiyeseigha.
“For 56 years, our resources have been used to develop Nigeria. We did not complain. We are waiting for a time like this, and the time for Nigerians to show reciprocity is now”, said another speaker.
Reciprocity from north
Mr. Anenih, however, warned that the proposal to hold election in January portends grave danger for the nation.
“If it holds in January, there is no reality of free and fair elections. I have fears as relates to preparation and the lack of a proper voters register,” he said.
He urged the north to back a Jonathan presidency, in the light of past support the region has enjoyed from the south.
“The south south has been a firm ally of the north for a long time, and the present time calls for reciprocity and cooperation. We will claim our rights with dignity and determination,” he declared.
The communiqué concluded, “It is time to transcend primordial sentiments and build democratic blocks for peace.”
This open endorsement of Mr. Jonathan by his people signifies the kick-off of an intensive regional campaign for next year’s election. The Northern governors, whose rank and file seems to have been divided over whether to support Mr. Jonathan or not, are meeting today.
However, what stand the southwest governors would take is yet to be articulated.