2011: SOUTH-EAST GOVERNORS AGAIN FAIL TO ENDORSE JONATHAN
For the third time in two months, the five South-east governors have failed to give express endorsement to the touted presidential ambition of Dr Goodluck Jonathan in 2011.
The governors who rose from their South-east Governors' Forum yesterday in Enugu were adamant on their earlier resolve in July when they said they would only support a presidential candidate with the best programme that would address the marginalization of the South-east zone, as well as the political imbalance in the country.
However, the body language of the governors after yesterday's meeting showed that they would likely queue behind President Jonathan if he eventually declares his interest to run.
This much was revealed when the Chairman of the South-east Governors' Forum and Anambra State governor, Mr. Peter Obi, while fielding questions from newsmen said 'we are supportive of President Jonathan and the way he is serving our dear country and we will remain supportive of him.'
Nevertheless, Obi stressed that when all the candidates have declared their intentions they would support a candidate that would meet the standard they have set for the region as they (the governors) are working for the interest of the region. With this continued stance of the governors, it has become difficult to place where exactly the Igbo will stand in 2011 as some Igbo leaders had earlier visited the North where they promised to support a candidate of northern extraction just as an All-Igbo Political Summit that met in Enugu on August 16 endorsed the candidature of President Jonathan.
However, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohaneze Ndigbo, that also met in Enugu recently said that Ndigbo have not endorsed any candidate, warning that anybody who claims to have okayed any of the presidential aspirants has not done so on behalf of Ndigbo. Also the South-east governors expressed concern over the strike embarked upon by the academic and non academic staff of state-owned universities in the zone.
'Although, mindful of the rights of the workers to demand better conditions of service, we are concerned about the approach adopted by the striking workers under the umbrella of the zonal union of ASUU which is not a legal body, without cognizance of the federal structure of the country,' the governors said in a communiquÃ© read after the meeting.
The governors also said that it was regrettable that the striking staff failed to consider the peculiar circumstances of the individual states, adding that that notwithstanding, they still sympathized with the students and their parents.
They argued that 'the Federal Government while reaching agreement with ASUU stated clearly that the agreement was not binding on state and private universities and advised the unions to negotiate individually with the respective bodies in the states. In that spirit, they said that each government would commence discussions with staff and students of the respective institutions, as well as other stakeholders, adding that while that was going on they would like to appeal to the universities to reopen for normal academic activities in the interest of the students.