Ahead of the February 14 presidential election, a coalition of six-Igbo groups, including the Igbo Leaders Council, Umuada Ala Igbo, Igbo Women Assembly, Igbo Students’ Association, South-east Self Determination Coalition and Eastern Christian Council on Tuesday in Enugu gave conditions under which they would support the candidacy of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Briefing journalists at the end of the strategy meeting of the groups, one of their leaders and the President of Igbo Women Assembly, Mrs. Mariz Okwor, said although the groups had given indications recently of their decision to try other alternatives, they have resolved finally to give the president a second chance under a negotiated arrangement.
Okwor noted that for the groups to fully endorse the president who is also the candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he must come to the zone and make commitment on what he has in store for the Igbo nation, expressing dismay that despite the overwhelming support the zone gave to the president in 2011 elections, they had nothing to show for it.
“Despite our support the last time, our people are still suffering. We have the worst set of roads in the South-east. Going from Enugu to Onitsha today has become a nightmare; Enugu-Port Harcourt road has become almost impassable. Our youths, young graduates are roaming the streets, engaging in different forms of crimes and criminalities because there is no jobs for them. They are idling about.
“They have always promised that the second Niger Bridge will be constructed at a record time but as we speak, it is not even in the budget. Today, trains are already running from Lagos to Kano and we are yet to see the same thing in the East,” she said insisting that the president must come to the zone and make categorical statement on how he intends to tackle the problems before he could secure their support.
The IWA president also dismissed insinuations in some quarters that the zone had completely dumped the president, explaining that “though that would have been the case,” but after their discussions with some Igbo elders and also with their inability to find any credible alternative, “we have decided to stick with the president because the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know.”
The coalition had after a thorough review of the administration of President Jonathan last week, threatened to withhold their support for the president accusing him of taking Ndigbo for granted
They had asked those clamouring for Jonathan’s re-election to explain why railway, which is one of the president’s major achievement was yet to work in the South-east.
They equally wondered why the president failed in his promise of according the Akanu Ibiam Airport the right international status.
The coordinator of the South-east Self Determination Coalition,
Mr. Samuel Edeson, who spoke on behalf of the groups said: “Mr. President has failed to fulfill all the promises he made to the people of the South-east despite the block vote given to him by the people of the zone.
“He promised that by the first quarter of last year, cargo will be landing here in the South-east from different parts of the world, but nothing has come out of it. Our people still pass through the rigours of travelling to Lagos to clear their goods.
“If we also look at the railway, which is one sector this administration has given so much attention, no significant thing is happening in the South-East, unlike other zones where it is now an alternative means of transport.
“So, the South-east youths and Ndigbo in general are very angry with this administration; if nothing is done and quickly too, President Jonathan should not expect our votes in 2015. Let him not allow sycophants deceive him by making him feel that all is well”.
“We don’t see the reason to continue vo