By Chris Ochayi
ABUJA – An umbrella body of all youth associations in Ebonyi State, the Ebony Youth Assembly, EYA, has declared support for President Goodluck Jonathan’s ambition to contest for Presidency in 2015.
The group said its decision was taken following a recent declaration by the Federal Capital Territory High Court that President Jonathan is constitutionally qualified to contest the 2015 presidential election.
The National President of the EYA, Comrade Chinedu Ogar who announced this while addressing newsmen in Abuja, said Nigerians should not be dragged into unnecessary controversy over the issue.
It would be recalled that the court, presided over by Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi had struck out the suit, filed by a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Cyriacus Njoku which sought to stop Jonathan from the 2015 race.
Comrade Ogar said that after reviewing the transformational agenda of the Jonathan’s Administration, the group feels it deserved to be given a chance to take root.
He said “we are not interested in any secret deal with any group of people; we are aware that Jonathan is President of Nigeria and Nigerians and not of a clandestine group of governors or power brokers. The mandate he holds belongs to Nigerians”.
Ogar noted his people beleived the second term will enable the administration conclude on-going projects and embark on other people-oriented infrastructural development.
According to him, several youths in Ebonyi State have been employed in Federal Government Agencies while many others are also benefitting from the SURE-P projects being implemented by the Fderal administration.
“This is the first time Nigeria is witnessing balanced development in all the six geographical zones. This is also the first time that Federal Character principle is bing upheld in appointment to federal Civil Service. In terms of job creation, about 300 youths of Ebony have been given appointment in government service while a good number of them have been empowered through the SURE- P Programme of FG,” he said.
Speaking on project execution, Ogar said the youths are convinced that the South East has benefited from the administration, citing the example of recent award of the building of the Second Niger Bridge to Julius Berger Construction Company as well other road projects under construction.
After an extra-ordinary General Meeting of the Assembly, held at Rockview Hotel in Abuja, on the issue of Jonathan’s eligibility to contest in 2015, the youth leaders regretted that even though the court has put to rest the issue of eligibility, “certain elements from the Northern part of the country, including Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, have since introduced a new dimension to it, saying that Jonathan signed a secret agreement to do a single tenureâ€.
“This matter is very simple; the court has settled that Jonathan is still in his first term of four years in office as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and therefore is immensely qualified to re-contest in 2015.
“The judiciary has restated the freedom and right of every Nigerian to seek any office under the constitution. We urge Nigerians to continue to resist all attempts by desperate politicians to truncate the system through the distortion of the facts of law.
Ogar said the the ball is now in the court of the PDP as a party and Nigerians to decide, through legitimate processes, whether or not to return President Jonathan to the Presidency in 2015 if he indicates interest.
The Ebonyi youth leader further questioned the rational for the former Head of State, Major General Muhammed Buhari’s posturings as an apposite of democracy when indeed he was the one who cut short the life span of a civilian administration of Shehu Aliyu Shagari in 1983 through a coup.
“Sometime in 2010, we were the first to mobilize our people as a state, to publicly; in a mass rally in Abakaliki township stadium, adopt His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as the candidate of the state for the 2011 Presidential election.
“We are surprised that mid-way into his first tenure as President, all manners of issues are being raised over the eligibility or otherwise of President Jonathan to seek re-election.
“In view of the issue in question, we are proud to state categorically that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is constitutionally qualified as a Nigerian to seek re-election in 2015, ” he said.