By Tony Nyong
UYO — President Goodluck Johnathan again won the endorsement of no fewer than 45,000 South South elders, who thronged the Uyo Township Sports Stadium, Akwa Ibom State to declare support for his presidential aspiration, barely few days to his official declaration for the 2011 general elections.
At the campaign rally, which enlivened the metropolis of Uyo, elders of the South South geo-political zone, comprising people from several political parties, who spoke one after the other, said the decision was arrived at, after several consultative meetings on the state of the nation, to seek his acceptability as the nation’s presidential candidate.
Considering the crowd and calibre of people who showed up at the rally, which can be considered the biggest and the most successful political convergence in the area and in view of the wind of political consciousness, reportedly blowing across the area, the South South Governors, who were said to be the forces behind the endorsement may have chosen to work together to return the President.
Speaking at the rally, the group led by the Niger Delta leader, Chief Edwin Clark, reassured the people that President Johnathan would run and that Governor Godswill Akpabio and the entire people of Akwa Ibom were 100 percent in support of the candidacy of Johnathan.
Clark said the crowd at the venue had shown that the people of the South South were solidly behind Johnathan, adding, “when we took the decision about five days ago in Abuja, I told my people that Akwa Ibom State was a fertile ground for us to have the rally.”
At the rally, which was witnessed by Vice President Mohammed Sambo, and tagged, “South South Solidarity Rally for Johnathan/Sambo Ticket in 2011 Presidential Election” the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Akpabio said the Johnathan/Sambo ticket was the best thing to happen to Nigeria as a nation and assured of the victory of the duo at the poll.
Akpabio called on the South South people to throw their weight behind the two worthy sons of the nation who have had unbeatable track records in their political scorecard, noting that Johnathan’s acceptance by the entire nation would mean part of the Amnesty Programme to right the wrongs done to the nation for the past fifty years.
Akpabio said Nigerians should demand from those seeking to rule the country again what they did when they had the opprtuinity to correct the wrongs of several years and for them to give account of what they did with the money of this country.
The President may not be left with much to do other than to consolidate on the endorsement so far recieved with the call by the people of the South South for the setting up of a Commission of enquiry that would investigate, look into and recommend appropriate sanctions for the sons of the area who would betray the collective will of the South South people.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Godsday Orubebe, Minister of Environment, Mr. John Odey, Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Renewal, Hon. Nduese Essien who were present at the rally led their voices to the aspiration of the President.
Present also at the rally were former Edo State governor, Prof. Oserhiemmmen Osunbor, former Bayelsa Governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, former Secretary to Government of the Federatio, Obong Ufot Ekaete, Deputy Governor of Delta, Cross River State, Bayelsa.
Vice President Sambo in his reaction said that Johnathan was fully commited to the transformation of the Niger Delta throgh the awards of contract for the constuction of the East_West road to attract foreign investors to the region.