OUR DEAL WITH JONATHAN, BY IGBO LEADERS
The quest of the Igbo to ascend the presidency seat in 2015 brightened yesterday as facts emerged that the tribe may have extracted a commitment from President Goodluck Jonathan to handover power to them in 2015.
This much was revealed at a South-east Town Hall meeting held at the Nike Lake Hotel by prominent Igbo sons and daughters. The meeting aimed at drumming support for President Jonathan ahesd of the 2011 polls.
The meeting chaired by Justice Eze Ozobu (rtd), a former president-general of Ohaneze Ndigbo, saw Professor Anya O. Anya spilling the bean when he said he had evidence of the Igbo leaders meeting with the President, insisting that he would not be that foolish not to have seen what would be coming to Ndigbo in details before joining in the support for Jonathan in 2011.
Anya said those who knew him in the last 73 years knew that he would not come to stand in a podium to drum support for any politician if not for what was on the table, saying that he had come out and times had changed.
He pointed out that the situation in the country was not normal, saying that it was important that the Igbo began to think strategically and respond tactically now that the country was at a defining moment.
Anya noted that five years ago nobody would have believed that Jonathan would be President neither woud anyone from South-south zone, urged Ndigbo to support him in 2011 as that was the easiest way for the Igbo to clinch the presidency in 2015. The professor pointed out that Jonathan had been sworn in once as president and would only be sworn in again in 2011 according to the Constitution.
He, therefore, disclosed that they had evidence of their discussion with Jonathan on the 2011 Igbo presidency project, but said that 'it was only a foolish family that discussed the secret of the family meeting in a public place.'
Anya said the South/North rotation of the presidency had long died in 1914, saying rotation among the six geo-political zones of the country is more appropriate.
In a communiquÃ© issued at the end of the meeting, the Igbo, comprising political, social, opinion leaders, activists and other citizens of the South-east said: 'The Igbo nation believes in, have worked for and shall always support all peoples, leaders and forces that promote the ideals of our nation as a country that offers security; political, economic and social justice to all its citizens and constituent units.
'We urge our leaders and polity to pursue peace and unity, embrace faith and progress through sustained principles and policies - of power and practices - that advance justice; and that seek to specifically redress past and present imbalance in our national affairs; to ensure fair representation and access to national power of all groups in Nigeria .
'We particularly welcome all proposals in trend and under discussion to specifically address the place and future of the Igbo in national politics in 2011 and beyond.
'However, the town hall believes that the only lasting recipe to tame the struggle for power in Nigeria and make our politics more gentle; would be a constitutional provision that guarantees the rotation of power between the zones of Nigeria. In fact, the need to rotate power in Nigeria is now a settled issue; but the implementation remains problematic, hence the current balance.
'We believe that rotation of power should be conducted on the basis of existing geo-political zones; and not on the pre-1914 North-South divide. Furthermore, the principle of rotation of power should be binding on all political parties as a reflection of the unique history, needs and imperatives of the Nigerian federation. 'Henceforth, rotation of power should be designed to immediately accommodate the zone that has not exercised the power of the presidency and then, it should next continue to those that have exercised such powers for the least periods of the time in the past.
'This means that the South-South should be supported for the presidency in 2011, and that South-East should follow next. This is the position of most of our leaderships, Ohaneze Ndigbo, as the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, and most Igbo.'
Other prominent Igbo leaders at the meeting included former Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Ojo Maduekwe; former Aviation Minister, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi; for PDP guber candidate in Abia, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu; former Information Minister, Chief Nnia John Nwodo; former FCT Minister, Chief Chuka Odum; former NMA MD, Chief Ferdinand Agu; Prof Sam Ukpabi, Chief Tony Emekam, Chief Ugochukwu Agballa, Senator Emma Anosike, among many others.