By NBF News

The Goodluck/Sambo Presidential ticket yesterday got one of its greatest boosts when the reinvigorated All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) at its national convention yesterday in Awka, Anambra State adopted President Goodluck Jonathan as its official presidential candidate for 2011 presidential election.

Also yesterday, APGA renewed the tenure of its National Working Committee, led by Chief Victor Umeh for another four years, just as it appointed a Lagos-based auditing firm, Willy Nzewi and Co. as its external auditors.

The convention which took place at Women Development Centre, Awka before the party proceeded to Dr. Alex Ekwueme Square, where it flagged off its campaign for the April general elections saw the new APGA showcasing its candidates for the election. 

Adopting President Jonathan as its candidate, the party said it took many things into consideration including the president's approach towards uniting Nigeria as one entity and his friendly disposition to the party. 

National Chairman of the party, Umeh, who presented the NWC proposal for the ratification, said after advertising the positions, nobody applied for the position of the presidency, hence the party had to look at those contesting and take a stand on whom to support for the good of the nation.  He said: 'We have been involved in discussions since we could not get presidential aspirants from our party. Looking at the party here today represented in this convention hall, you notice that this party is now a big party in Nigeria. By the time we go to the arena where others are waiting, you now see the strength of APGA in Nigeria.

'Apart from that, in this South- east zone where we have the strongest support, if APGA says this is the person we will support, you will agree with me that the whole people from the zone will vote for that person. We remain the political vehicle that speaks for our people. Because of that we have taken so many things into consideration. We looked at those who are running for this office, held meetings and we said we are going to take the advantage of this convention to say where APGA stands.

'We have also looked at the relations we have had with all the people running for this exalted office and we have come to a clear conclusion that there is only one person that this party should support at this time in Nigeria.   'Therefore, we have consulted very effectively, held meetings across borders and we need to announce the choice we have made so that this convention will ratify. We are proposing that APGA will move along the line of a new Nigeria; a new Nigeria where the unity of this country will be guaranteed before you talk about prosperity.

'We have looked at the way candidates have emerged; one cannot say that the other candidates are bad but we have to add our own momentum to give expression to that national choice recently made in Nigeria in the area of presidential election.  'We considered everything and said only one person is uniting Nigeria today and that is the person APGA will support and we believe that president who will carry all the parts of Nigeria together will receive the support of APGA.

'…And if we give this support, we expect that on the victory coming the way of the person we are supporting, APGA will fully be remembered in government. On this note, we decided that APGA will put its weight behind Goodluck Jonathan and Sambo.' After his speech, the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Emeka Sibeudu formally moved a motion for adoption of Jonathan as APGA's presidential candidate and was seconded by the national vice chairman, South-west. 

The convention was attended by many stalwarts of the party including Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi; his Deputy, Mr. Sibeudu; former deputy governor of Anambra State, Dame Virgy Etiaba; Special Assistant to the president on Diaspora Matters, Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu; former minister of Information and senatorial candidate of APGA, Prof. Dora Akunyili; Senator Joy Emodi; former minister of Health, Dr. Tim Menakaya and House of Representatives member, Iyom Uche Ekwunife.

Others include Imo State governorship hopeful, Owelle Rochas Okorocha; his Abia State counterpart, Chief Reagan Ufomb; Alhaji Shinkafi, the governorship candidate of APGA in Adamawa; Senator Chris Anyanwu from Imo State, Senator Owen from Ebonyi; former governor of Rivers State, and Sir. Celestine Umehia, among others.