S’East leaders urge Govs to support 2015 Igbo Presidency

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Other South East  leaders on Sunday urged the region’s Governors to tie their support for President Goodluck Jonathan on producing a President from the zone in 2015.

The five South East Governors have endorsed Jonathan and called on all South East Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) delegates to vote for him at the primaries.

But on Sunday, a town hall meeting of other  South East leaders in Enugu, including federal lawmakers, insisted that the support for Jonathan in 2011 must be tied to the aspiration of the Igbo to produce the President four years later.

Senator Uche Chukwumerije said the South East cannot entertain any negotiation on 2015 Presidency.

He thanked the Governors for being “bold and united enough” to take a stand, noting that, “Even if you are right or wrong, that is leadership.”

He recounted that when he received invitation for the meeting, he asked Senator Ayogu Eze about its purpose but the man said he did not know.

Chukwumerije told the conveners: “When I came here, I asked my brother, the Chief Whip of House of Representatives (Emeka Ihedioha), he said he is not aware.  It was in the course of prayers that I knew the purpose of the meeting. Next time, tell us the purpose.

“You said at the Governors’ level, you met four times and took a decision, that you have passed party level now and you are going to opinion moulders. But I think the Governors should have called the people before taking a decision.

“Apart from this, I will fully support the decision on Jonathan and Sambo ticket.  I want to support the wisdom behind this.

“You said there is enough evidence that Jonathan is the one who will help the Igbo. That is the crucial point of negotiation. They should define it that the only help is with the Presidency in 2015. No negotiation, the Igbo will have the Presidency in 2015. That will go a long way.”

He recalled that in 1979, the Igbo were told that they were just coming out of the war, and should wait a while.

“But in 1999, the Yoruba used June 12 and they were compensated; in 2007, it was North and South. Now the Niger Delta boys revolted and people are saying it should go to the South South.

“We will support Jonathan but we must insist on 2015. We should devise blackmail. We should say, while we support you, you must support us in 2015.”

Ihedioha who spoke for the South East caucus in the House, said supporting Jonathan may not be the only critical matter, but demanded that the zone be taken seriously.

He argued that for the zone to get it in 2015, it must take a stand from 2011, as the South West have taken its turn, likewise the North and the South South.

“If we don’t make our case serious, we will be taken for granted. It is better at the primaries to hold Jonathan and Sambo by the balls, to make them say where they stand in 2015,” Ihedioha reasoned.

Others who attended the meeting included Governors Theodore Orji (Abia) and Peter Obi (Anambra); Deputy Governors Ada Okwuonu (Imo) and Sunday Onyebuchi (Enugu); as well as Senator Anthony Agbo, Dozie Ikedife, and Chika Odom.

A communiqué presented after the meeting by Ebonyi State Governor, Martin Elechi, the Jonathan Campaign South East Coordinator, said Jonathan has demonstrated sensitivity and commitment to redressing the plight of the South East.

The communiqué listed Jonathan’s achievements in the South East to include the ongoing construction of the second Niger Bridge, dealing with erosion and other ecological problems, and upgrading the Akanu Ibiam Airport to international status.

It urged all South East PDP delegates to vote for Jonathan at the primaries and the entire people in the zone to vote for him in the Presidential election.

“All Igbo in Nigeria and in the Diaspora should take up the Jonathan/Sambo Presidential bid as a project deserving of collective support irrespective of political affiliations, and the Igbo should be supported to produce the President in 2015,” it stressed.

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