Governors of the South-east and South-south zones of the country rose from a closed door meeting in Enugu Sunday, advising President Goodluck Jonathan to remain focused in the midst of the political challenges facing his administration.
Apparently alluding to the crisis in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where the Kawu Baraje-led faction has asked the president not to contemplate seeking for a second term by 2015, the governors made it clear that only Nigerians would decide who would be the president in the next election.
While all the governors of the five South-east states except Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State were present, three out of the six in the South-south also attended.
Expectedly, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State and Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State also stayed away from the meeting.
Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State was represented by his deputy, John Jonah.
In a communique read to journalists by Cross River State governor, Liyel Imoke, the governors noted that the determination of who would be president in 2015 would be made by the Nigerian electorate in line with democratic tenets, adding that the power of the people should not be usurped by any group or individual.
They, however, thanked Nigerians for their continued support for the president "whom they elected overwhelmingly". While calling for continued dialogue at resolving national issues and the management of the security in the country to guarantee the continued corporate existence of Nigeria, the governors who were meeting for the second time in Enugu commended both the security agencies and the federal government for their efforts in managing the challenges as well as for the massive reduction in crude oil theft.
They also called on the leadership of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other players in the education sector to be sensitive to the plight of the students by calling off the strike action while allowing issues to be resolved through dialogue. They also resolved to continue to strengthen economic ties between the states of the two zones and to continue to pursue the development of the zones as well as to prosecute the various infrastructure projects in the area.
Also, amidst the controversy surrounding the second term ambition of the president, the South-east zone of the PDP has declared that it would never waver in its support for president as he battles his political foes.
The PDP National Vice-Chairman, South-east, Col Austin Akobundu (rtd), made known the stance of the zone on the current crisis in the ruling party while fielding questions from journalists yesterday at Umuahia, noting that the zone was resolute on its support for Mr. President.
"We have made our choice and our choice is President Jonathan. We will support him and work for him," he said.
Akobundu further reiterated that the president remains the leader of PDP with Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as national chairman and there was nothing the rebels in the PDP could do to change the situation.
He said the rebellion in the PDP, which has given rise to the emergence of a splinter group of seven governors and their backers was not unexpected since the 2015 general election were fast approaching, noting that those who felt that their personal ambitions were not being protected were bound to kick.
According to him, the "incursions" by rebels in the party trying to tear at the fabrics binding the together the ruling party was being resisted by all true democrats and party loyalists, who would eventually triumph.
The South zonal leader of PDP further explained that with the huge size of the ruling party's umbrella some people were bound to be nibbling at the party to get noticed, adding that no matter how they try the forces of division would not overcome the PDP.
He dismissed the doomsday predictions that Nigeria was heading for a breakup given the myriads of crisis rocking the nation, including the security challenges in the North-east part of the country. However, he called on all patriotic Nigerians to rise up and fight for the unity of the country and put to shame those working for the disintegration of Nigeria.