By CLIFFORD NDUJIHE
Barring last-minute manoeuvres, the South-East Zone of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is expected to endorse President Goodluck Jonathan to fly the party’s flag at the 2011 presidential polls, today.
This is one of the issues slated for discussion by the South-East PDP at Nike Lake Hotel, Enugu, according to sources. Other matters include how to improve the fortunes of the PDP in the zone in the forthcoming polls and the current wave of kidnapping in the zone among others.
The endorsement is expected to be the icing on the cake of President Jonathan’s ambition.
The South-West PDP and Governors of the South-East recently endorsed Jonathan for the plum job. The Igbo apex socio-cultural body, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday endorsed Jonathan.
In a four-paragraph statement, President General of the group, Amb. Ralph Uwechue, Ohanaeze noted that Nigeria became independent on the basis of a tripod – North, West and East, which has metamorphosed into six geo-political zones and opposed power rotation on the basis of North and South. It said power should rotated among the six geo-political zones with the South-East having it after the South-South, in an unbroken succession.
‘Ohanaeze Ndigbo firmly believes in the reality and absolute equality of the six zones and holds the view that the topmost executive office in the land – Prime Minister or President, which has eluded the two geo-political zones of South-South and South-East since the birth of our nation half a century ago, should now go to them in turn in unbroken succession as a matter of national priority, before any other zone can justly claim the right to a second or even third turn. In line with this position, taken after wide consultation over several months, among Igbo people at home and abroad, Ohanaeze Ndigbo confidently urges the Igbo Nation to support en masse a credible new generation presidential candidate that has emerged from the South-South geo-political zone, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan,’ Uwechue said.
Expected at the South-East gathering fixed for 3 p.m, according to a statement by Chief Olisa Metuh (national vice chairman, South-East) are PDP National Chairman, Okwesilieze Nwodo and Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu. Others include Chief Whip of the House of Representative, Zonal Working Committee members, Board of Trustees members, present and past governors/deputy governors who are still in PDP, present and past National Assembly members that are still in the party, present and past ministers, present and past speakers and deputy speakers of state Houses of Assembly and present and past state chairmen of the party.
Some of those expected at the meeting were in the entourage of President Jonathan yesterday as he toured the zone.