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2011: SOUTH EAST GOVS SUPPORT JONATHAN

By NBF News
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Gov. Theodore Orji
The five South-east governors:have formally declared support for President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2011 polls.

The governors, Mr Peter Obi (Anambra), Chief Theodore Orji (Abia), Chief Martin Elechi (Ebonyi), Dr Sullivan Chime (Enugu) and Chief Ikedi Ohakim (Imo), who met yesterday in Enugu under the aegis of the South East Governors Forum, have by this declaration ended many months of speculations of where the governors of the zone are standing as their meetings on July 4 and August 22 could not see them taking a common stand.

The governors, in a seven-paragraph communiqué read after the meeting that lasted for over four hours at the Enugu Government House said they took the decision following the declaration by President Jonathan to vie for the post of president and in keeping with their earlier resolve to support for presidency any candidate with the best programme that would address the marginalization of the South-east zone and political imbalance in the country.

The governors, however, refused to take questions from journalists who had waited for several hours citing late closure of the meeting as an excuse. But many believe that the decision of the governors would run contrary to the general Igbo quest to take a shot at the presidency in 2015, believing Jonathan's continued presidency beyond 2011would not guarantee this.

However, Governor Obi of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) who read out the communiqué of the meeting as the chairman of the Forum, urged 'all the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the zone to vote en bloc for the President Jonathan/Namadi Sambo ticket in the forthcoming presidential primaries of the party.'

Governor Obi's party, APGA, had earlier indicated interest to field a presidential candidate in the 2011 election.

The governors also frowned upon the use of their names and offices to organise summits and conferences in the region, insisting that their permissions must be sought before they were dragged into them. Last month, elder statesman and former Aviation Minister, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, had convened an Igbo summit in Enugu where they endorsed the candidacy of President Jonathan without any of the governors of the zone in attendance.

Also today, the Senators Jim Nwobodo and Ken Nnamani-led group are staging an Igbo Political Stakeholders Conference in Owerri, which Daily Sun gathered the five governors had decided to shun as the conference is believed to draw support for General Ibrahim Babangida who is jostling to contest the presidency on the platform of the PDP.

The governors used the opportunity to thank Jonathan for formalizing the international airport status of the Akanu Ibiam Airport in Enugu and for giving directives for the construction of a new terminal building for the airport.