S' South Governors To Jonathan: Declare, We Will Support You

Source: AUSTYN OGANNAH - thewillnigeria.com

San Francisco, July 26, (THEWILL) – All the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) State Governors in the Niger Delta today called on President Goodluck Jonathan to openly declare his presidential bid in 2011 saying they would support him.

The governors made the declaration in Port Harcourt, Rivers State where they also urged other geopolitical zones to back the bid of the incumbent president and commander in chief.

"President Jonathan should openly declare his intention to contest in 2011 because we will fully support his ambition," the group of six governors said in a communiqué after their meeting.

The support of the "South South" governors is key for a successful presidential bid by the Jonathan who is from oil rich Bayelsa State.

The 13-point communiqué read by Professor Julius Ihonvbere at the end of a one-day summit with the theme "Dynamics of the 2011 Presidential Election in Nigeria – The South-South Perspective," resolved as follows:

"To work assiduously and in unison with other geopolitical zones in Nigeria to ensure the country remains one, indivisible, secular entity, where all peoples, irrespective of ethnicity, religion, party affiliation, of equal rights and privileges as enshrined in the Nigeria Constitution.

"Summit recognizes that it is time to collectively transcend primordial sentiments and dispositions in the conversations of national affairs in order to build strong, viable and democratic blocs for peace and progress. The South-South can only make progress when the leaders, communities and constituencies unite, work together, strategize together and speak with one voice.

"The summit acknowledges and commends the efforts of the governors of the South-South region towards bringing development and unity to the region.

"The summit appreciates and acknowledges the enormous efforts and contributions our detribalized and great democrat, the late President Umaru Yar’Adua (GCFR) at entrenching due process, the rule of law and fight against corruption for peace in the Niger Delta region through the amnesty programme, reforms in the power and energy sector, as well as electoral reforms, as well as giving a level playing field for all politically-inclined Nigerians to attain their aspirations.

"The summit, however, notes with deep sorrow and regrets that the inevitable call of nature could not allow our late president to accomplish these reformatory agenda.

"Arising from the above, the summit resolves to support the winning team of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR) and Vice-President, Mohammed Namadi Sambo (GCON) in their quest to take the reform agenda to a logical conclusion for the benefit of all Nigerians.

"Summit believes in President Jonathan’s resolve to give Nigerians credible electoral reforms, which began by appointing a world-acclaimed social crusader and defender of equity, honesty and integrity, Professor Attahiru Jega, the country’s new chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and calls on all Nigerians to support the full implementation of the Justice Uwais Committee recommendation which includes total independence of INEC.

"Summit notes with delight, the power sector agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan, his crusade against corruption, the historic achievement in the improvement in our foreign reserves and his earnest practical efforts at ensuring practical security of all Nigerians at home and in the disapora.

"In addition, summit acknowledges and commends the untiring efforts of Mr. President

to reposition Nigeria and rekindle the confidence of the international community in Nigeria’s political system.

"Summit acknowledges and fully appreciates the resolutions of the recently held Northern Political Summit in Kaduna and urges all Nigerians to support President Goodluck Jonathan in the onerous task providence has bestowed on him to move Nigeria forward beyond 2011."

"Summit commends the Northern Political Summit for their patriotism, clear vision, commitment to fair play and justice and undiluted appreciation of the rights and liberties of all Nigerians.

"Summit believes in the incontrovertible position of the Nigerian constitution that gives full rights to President Goodluck Jonathan above all other considerations to aspire to the position of the president at the 2011 elections, more so, the zone, in spite of its enormous contributions to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP), is yet to produce a president or head of state in the 50 years of Nigeria’s existence as a sovereign nation.

"Summit hereby unanimously calls on Dr Jonathan to openly declare his interest in the 2011 presidential election without further delay, while assuring him of total and undiluted support of the entire South-South, summit calls on all other geopolitical zones, organizations, communities and constituencies to support quest to deepen, widen and consolidate democracy by supporting Jonathan for president."

Some of those who attended the summit include Chief Tony Anenih, Chief Edwin Clark, General Godwin Abbe, and Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba amongst others politicians from the South South.

However, there is still a strong debate in the predominantly northern states where the PDP governors are still divided on whether to support Jonathan’s bid or not.

Some politicians in the north have openly canvassed against Jonathan’s bid in 2011 urging the party to zone the presidency to the North, while some others have thrown their weight behind the president, urging him to contest.

The northern PDP governors are expected to meet to tomorrow (Tuesday) to take a final stand.

THEWILL checks showed that more than ten northern governors are ready to support President Jonathan when he declares his candidacy. They are Gabriel Suswan (Benue); Murtala Nyako (Adamawa); Isa Yuguda (Bauchi); Jonah Jang (Plateau); Patick Yakowa (Kaduna); Ibrahim Shema (Katsina); Sule Lamido (Jigawa); (Danbaba Sutai (Taraba); Ibrahim Idris (Kogi); Saidu Dakingari (Kebbi); and Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto).

When he eventually declares his candidacy for the polls, Jonathan is expected to nominate his deputy, Namadi Sambo as his running mate.