The apex socio-cultural umbrella of the Igbo people spanning South-east zone and some parts of the South-south has underscored the need for President Goodluck Jonathan to be re-elected for a second term, saying that Nigeria could run the risk of grappling with another insurgency if Jonathan was denied a second tenure.
President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief Gary Enwo Igariwey, sounded the warning late Tuesday night in Umuahia when he led a delegation of Ohanaeze to present the group’s endorsement document of President Jonathan to the Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji, who is also the Chairman of South-east Governors Forum (SEGF).
Explaining the reasons Ohanaeze endorsed Jonathan’s candidacy, Igariwey said the apex Igbo group had “weighed the security situation in the North-east and we believe that Nigeria cannot afford another insurgency from the South-south.”
According to him, the possibility of sparking insurgency from South-south looms high if Nigerians fail to back Jonathan’s re-election bid because the people of his zone would feel a deep sense of injustice with devastating consequences for the nation.
Ohanaeze’s decision to endorse Jonathan’s re-election bid was reached at a well-attended meeting of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and other “important stakeholders” held at Enugu on Tuesday.
But late in the night of the same day, the endorsement was affirmed at Umuahia when a delegation of Ohanaeze came and presented the endorsement document to chairman of SEGF at about 10.45p.m. for onward transmission to Mr. President.
According to the president general of Ohanaeze, Chief Gary Enwo Igariwey the high powered delegation “was put on the road immediately” after the Enugu meeting.
The delegation which arrived Umuahia very late, included former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, special adviser to President Jonathan on inter-party affairs, Senator Ben Obi and Chairman of South-east Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Cletus Ilomuanya.
Before handing over the document, Igariwey explained that the content was the decision of the Igbo people who met and adopted Jonathan “as their main candidate” for the February 14 presidential poll.
He acknowledged that Ndigbo may not have realised all their dreams in supporting Jonathan’s presidency since 2011 but insisted that there have been appreciable development in infrastructural development and ‘a strong sense of belonging.’
“When you build a bridge you need to reinforce it,” he said, adding that since the South-east zone started supporting President Jonathan since 2010 “we must now consolidate” to enable him complete all the projects.
In receiving the endorsement document, which he promised to transmit to Mr. President, Governor Orji described it as a “wise decision” and lauded Ohanaeze Ndigbo “for being in the vanguard of equity and justice that should drive a peaceful, prosperous and a stable Nigerian nation”.
“Therefore, I join the Ohanaeze Ndigbo to call on well-meaning Nigerians to support the South-south where the president is coming from so that equity reigns, and with justice and peace – development and progress will certainly spread to all corners of this nation,” he said.
The governor argued that “there is no reason the South-south and President Goodluck Jonathan should not be allowed to complete their second term in office and do so as peace reigns, adding that, “four more years in the life of a nation is not too much, and certainly it is not eternity. History will bear us out.”
Speaking during the event, the former Governor of Anambra State and the Deputy Director General, South of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Campaign Council, Mr. Peter Obi, said the endorsement of President Jonathan by the Ohaneze Ndigbo; the one by Afenefere, which he said he was present in Akure when it was announced; the one by the Southern People’s Assembly; as well as many others, underscored the need for well-meaning Nigerians to allow another four years for President Goodluck Jonathan who is from the South-south.
Speaking further, Obi said besides the consideration of the unity and progress of Nigeria, that Jonathan means well for the country to be allowed four more years.
Decrying the politicisation of the security challenges in the country, Obi said it should not be so since the challenge was a global one that was being addressed.