By Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze
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As the euphoria of the waiver granted flamboyant PDP presidential aspirant, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, stimulate the eruption of youth vanguards across the country, the former Vice President on Friday promised restoration of national pride and confidence to the people of Nigeria and making the Niger Delta region a haven for tourism in Nigeria.

In a message to the South –South Youths under the auspicious of Atiku Woniye 2011 comprising of over 15 Youths Groups numbering about one thousand youths in the region comprising of Prince Political Associates, Turaki Vanguard, Ogoni Youth Forum, South-South Students Forum and others met and formally adopted Atiku Abubakar as their presidential candidate for 2011 general election. They used the opportunity to inaugurate a Pro Atiku campaign body last Friday at Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The Turakin Adamawa also revealed his inclination towards building the youth population of the country for future role in nation-building.

The message was delivered on his behalf by the Director of Media, Turaki Vanguard, his political machine, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze who represented him at the occasion.

''I am seeking the presidency of our great country to realize my vision of a prosperous, secure, peaceful, democratic, caring and confident Nigeria. I intend to lead the efforts to create conducive conditions and incentives for productive investments in our country which would create massive number of jobs , keep our youths gainfully employed and help tackle the level of insecurity in the land'', he promised.

Expressing the hope that his plan for the country would lead to a prosperous country that is driven by technological prowess and infrastructural development that will help fast-track the development of the Niger Delta which according to him , was one of the five points of his political journey from 2011. “When we are able to get our acts together, we will become more confidence as a people and as a country”, he said.

Eze in expatiating more on Atiku's plan noted that Atiku had better grasp and appreciation of the Niger Delta and has been known to be accessible in his leadership positions and so could not be different when elected the President.

Eze said that the agreement arising from the conditions given to Atiku by the people of South-South for them to support his presidency, include a four –year term after which he would support South- South Presidency in 2015 for the zone to rule for eight years still remain intact.

He explained that Atiku's campaign had been low-key due to the highly politicized issue of waiver which was unnecessarily delayed because of fear of the Turakin's political stature, emphasizing that Atiku is the most established politician of the lot and would ignite the campaigns and make more colourful and imaginative now that the waiver had finally been given.

Earlier Mr Raymond David Wodi, Deputy Co-ordinator of the Turaki Vanguard had told the crowd of youths that the greatest problem besetting Nigeria as a nation had been the subversion of the rule of law , noting that the subversion of the rule of law is at the base of the nation's dilemma.

Wodi said that if the rule of law takes its sanctity, Nigeria would not have problems of power, poor leadership, insecurity, among others, pointing out that it was in the promotion of the rule of law that Atiku stands taller than all other presidential aspirants. ''Atiku went to court 26 times to stop third term and so is the man that will return Nigeria and Nigerians to the rule of law.

The over 1000 youths who are drawn from the six states of the zone, Abia and Imo States in the South –East gathered at the presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt to conduct focus discussion and map out strategies for realizing Atiku's Presidential ambition , formerly inaugurated its campaign war head.

The Group through its convener Comrade Mgbang Rex David listed four main reasons why the South –South Youths are rooting for Atiku and would ensure he wins the coming election to include the fact that, Akiku is a constitutionalist, a respecter of the rule of law , the second largest employer of youths in the region as well as a deep knowledge of the region, its terrain , problems and aspirations.

In a key note address, one of the organizers of the focus discussion group, Comrade Gani Topba from Ogoni noted that Atiku fought doggedly to preserve the sanctity of the Nigerian constitution when he fought his way through the courts during his travails with the Obasanjo regime.

Topba berated Chief Edwin Clark for making volatile statements over the presidency issue and parading himself as a leader of the South-South, noting that as far as the youths of the Niger Delta are concerned, E.K Clark may be an Ijaw leader but definitely not the leader of the Ogoni or any other ethnic group in the region. ''Edwin Clark was around when Saro Wiwa was hanged for fighting for the rights of the region through crusade for environmental sanity and could not say a word till now only for him to suddenly find his voice to grandstand as a leader of the south –South'', he said. The youths observed that Jonathan after four months as President, has not shown any evidence that he can deliver the country or the Niger Delta to the promised land. The youths noted that Atiku know the problems of the Niger Delta more than all the other presidential aspirants.

They recalled that Atiku was the Chairman of the Constitutional Conference in 1995 when he ensured that derivation to the Niger Delta was elevated to the current 13 percent as well as being the driving force behind the establishment of the Niger Delta Ministry.

In his Key Note Address, the convener of the Focus discussion, Comrade Mgbawe Rex David, warned Nigerians and the Niger Delta in particular to be careful not to choose unwilling presidents this time around , pointing out that Nigeria's experience with unwilling presidents had been a colossal disaster. Mgbawe recalled that Shagari wanted to be Senator but was forced into the Presidency, Obasanjo was brought out of prison and made a President beyond his imagination while Yar' Adua was hoisted on the people by the same Obasanjo in spite of the fact that former Governor Peter Odili had better stand then to win, positing that the result of their misrule were ruinous to the country and the people. He said that the greatest tragedy that may yet befall the South, especially the South- South and the South East was the discarding of the zoning principle of the PDP, pointing out that if the South - South panders to the anti zoning demagogues the minority ethnic groups in the south do not possess the population to Stand alone and win any election in the absence of zoning. “The youths said that the only option if for the South – South is to rally round Atiku and to respect the zoning principle as the best guarantee for the zone to future leadership of the country''.

Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze,
Media Consultant, PPA.