2011: GOVERNORS READY TO BACK JONATHAN â€“ SYLVA
The South-South governors yesterday tacitly declared their support for President Goodluck Jonathan 2011 presidency but with a caveat, that he makes his intention known to Nigerians. Fielding questions from State House correspondents, after a meeting of Niger Delta governors with President Goodluck Jonathan, at the Presidential Villa, , the Bayelsa State Governor, Timipre Sylva,said the governors of the region as well as majority of the other governors were waiting eagerly for President Jonathan to declare his intention before they would declare their support for him.
According to Sylva, 'once Jonathan declares, not only the governors would be supporting him in the run to clinch the presidency, majority of Nigerians as well. 'I have said it so many times that I will be supporting the president if he comes out to contest in 2011 and I can assure you that many of the governors and a lot of people in Nigeria are ready to support him,' he said.
Sylva added however, 'but you know you can't jump the gun. He must also come out and let the country know if he will run or not before you will hear more from everyone. But I can assure you that the country to me appears ready for a Jonathan presidency, in 2011.'
Also commenting, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio said the meeting with President Jonathan centred on harmonisation of the Public Procurement Act with that of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) with a view to ensuring that due process was strictly followed in the area of project execution.
In another development, the Special Adviser on Niger Delta, Timi Alaibe told newsmen that the post amnesty programme for all the 20,000 repentant militants would be completed in six months.
Alaibe, who joined the Niger Delta governors for a meeting with President Jonathan said 'in the next six months and in batches of 2000 over 20,000 ex-militants will be admitted to camp for the initial demobilization and rehabilitation process. After then, we 'll go into reintegration activities that involve going into vocational training centres, skill centres and those who want to go further in their education will go for further education.'
He said he was happy that kidnappings have been eradicated in the hitherto troubled region, stressing that the development 'underscores the importance of the amnesty programme.'
Alaibe added, 'I've always said that the average Niger Deltan is a peace-loving person. Niger Delta youths were pushed to violence at some points but today they have realised and they are committed to the amnesty process. That is why you do not experience the activities of kidnappers again. People are surprise, with the new agenda, post amnesty process you will find more peaceful situation in the Niger Delta region.'