This Day (Lagos)

27 September 2010

Nigeria: Finally, South East Governors Endorse Jonathan

Enugu — Three days after the forum of South-east speakers endorsed the candidacy of President Goodluck Jonathan for the 2011 presidency, the governors from the zone rose from their meeting in Enugu yesterday endorsing the president for the plum job.

All the five governors - Theodore Orji (Abia), Peter Obi (Anambra), Sullivan Chime (Enugu), Martin Elechi (Ebonyi) and Ikedi Ohakim (Imo) - were in attendance.

This is coming a month after the South-west zone endorsed Jonathan for the top job.The South-east governors, who had earlier failed to announce their preferred candidate, insisted that their support for Jonathan was as a result of his formal declaration to vie for presidency in 2011.

Rising from its meeting yesterday, the governors said they would urge all delegates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the zone to vote en bloc for Jonathan/Namadi Sambo ticket in the presidential primary of the party.

The chairman of the forum, Obi, who belongs to the opposition All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), said the decision was in keeping faith with their earlier decision to support for presidency a candidate with the best programme that will address the marginalisation of the South-east zone and political imbalance in Nigeria.

However, Obi warned groups and individuals who were in the habit of organising summits and conferences quoting the names and offices of governors of the zone to desist from such.

“We, therefore, plead that any of such persons or group of persons should please ensure that they obtain adequate clearance and authorisation before using the names and offices of the governors,” the chairman said.

The governors commended Jonathan for formalising the international airport status of Akanu Ibiam Airport, Enugu, and for giving directives for the construction of a new terminal building for the airport.
They  also expressed delight that the process for the award of contracts for the erosion and ecological disaster sites in the zone were being expedited.

On the continued strike by staff of state-owned universities in the zone, the governors appealed to the striking workers through the respective state chapters of their unions to meet with the committees already set up by the respective state governments to negotiate and ensure amicable resolution of the matter.

In the interim, they further appealed that the universities be re-opened for normal academic activities in the interest of the students.

On the security situation in the zone, the governors called on the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Hafiz Ringim, and other security operatives not to relent on their efforts and to pay special attention to the two main commercial cities in the zone - Aba and Onitsha.

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