- Category: Politics
- Published on Monday, 06 September 2010 06:01
- Written by Tribune
- Hits: 1863
SUPPORTERS of President Goodluck Jonathan, on Saturday, warned would-be candidates for the presidency that it would be extremely difficult to unseat the president in the 2011 presidential election.
Dr Wolfe Obianime, president, Ijaw National Congress (INC), made the declaration at the 16th annual convention of the World Igbo Congress (WIC) in Philadelphia, USA.
Obianime, who led a delegation to the convention, urged Ndigbo to support Jonathan’s presidential bid, saying it represented a “generational and paradigm shift.
“His (Jonathan’s) major challengers have been presidents before and they have historical judgments against them, not by the Nigerian courts, but by the judgments of the people,’’ he told the North America correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the convention.
“I do not need to bait the Igbo people, Goodluck Jonathan is from the eastern region.
“Nineteen states were created from the North and they still relate as the northern region but they keep telling you zoning is between the North and South.
“They don’t tell you zoning is between North-West and North-Central, they tell you zoning is between the North and the South. In other words, they see themselves as a monolithic North.
“Then here I am from the eastern region and you are asking me what I am selling to the eastern region to be able to actualise an aspiration that will work better for them.
“Goodluck Jonathan is from the eastern region, his name is Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan. So why must he bribe his brothers to get what he wants?,’’ he asked.
Obianime said it was “political arrogance”, for any man to promise to give Ndigbo presidency by 2015. “To the level that Nigeria has developed today, no one man can come and tell a group to bring out one person in 2015 and he will make him a president,’’ he said.
Earlier, former military ruler, General Ibrahim Babangida, had declared through his supporters that his desire to return to the presidency in 2011 was “to heal the past through national reconciliation.”
Babangida’s address was delivered by a member of the IBB 2011 Campaign Organisation, Dr Chidi Amuta, who led a team of supporters to the convention.
Babangida reaffirmed his resolve to support an Igbo president in 2015.
“I have recently expressed my commitment to completing “the work of national integration of Ndigbo into the Nigerian political leadership, which we, as military officers, began in the 1970s and 80s’.
“This commitment is cardinal to my current campaign that come 2015, Nigeria should by consensus elect a president of Igbo extraction. This is not only a historical necessity but also a moral imperative.
“We must pass around the torch of equity and justice so that our federation can thrive as a place where justice and fairness reign supreme,’’ he said.
The former military ruler said 40 years after Nigeria fought a bitter and tragic civil war, time had come to permanently heal the wounds of war and remove the scars of conflict.
“I stand before you not only as a witness to the ravages of that war, but as one whose professional career as a soldier was formed in the effort to defend national unity and protect our collective heritage.
“In those years of rage, I travelled through our South-East in the armour of a warrior.
“As a military president, I returned there as a messenger of peace and an agent of development and positive integration.
“Once again, driven by the urge to promote the consolidation of democracy in our land, I have returned to the South-East with a message of hope and promise that we should now permanently heal the wounds of war and remove the scars of conflict,” he said.
In his address, Ichie Chibuzo Onwuchekwe, chairman of the WIC, listed several proposals that the Igbo would want “serious presidential candidates to do for the region.”
He said the Igbos would like to have a date explicitly stating when work on the second Niger Bridge would start and end.
Onwuchekwe further identified the scrapping of the current local government system and formation of regional governments on the basis of geopolitical regions within Nigeria as another proposal.
He proposed that a “Nigerian president of Igbo heritage should be elected in 2015. “
NAN reported that a PDP stalwart, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Ireland, Mrs Kema Chikwe, and the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu, attended the convention.