By Kingsley Omonobi
ABUJA-As the race towards the 2011 elections draws closer, Political Leaders from the North Central Geo-Political Zone comprising, Benue, Niger, Kwara, Kogi, Nasarawa and Plateau States have asked their sons, including former military President Ibrahim Babangida and Kwara State Governor, Bukola Saraki to withdraw from the Presidential race, as they have resolved to support President Goodluck Jonathan for the presidency.
The Political Leaders who met behind closed doors in the Abuja residence of the President of the Senate, David Mark (from Benue State) included Governors Gabriel Suswam,(Benue), David Jonah Jang(Plateau), Ibrahim Idris (Kogi), Aliyu Akwe Dona (Nasarawa), Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Minister Senator Bala Mohammed, and former Senate President Ameh Ebute.
Others included Deputy House Leader Alhaji Baba Shehu Agaire, two former National Chairmen of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Barnabas Gemade, Senator Ahmadu Ali, Senator Tunde Ogbeha, Sports Minister Isa Bio, Minister of State for Information and Communication, Labaran Maku, his Niger Delta Ministry counterpart, Sam Ode, Interior’s Humphrey Abba, Comrade Abba- Moro and Director, Research, Planning and Strategy in the Goodluck Jonathan/Sambo Organization, Chief Mike Omeri.
At the end of the meeting host and President of the Senate, David Mark said the majority of the people of the zone have resolved to support the Goodluck/Sambo ticket as best option for Nigeria.
North Central co-coordinator for Jonathan/Sambo Campaign, Gabriel Suswam stated that the Zone was already looking beyond the Primaries, “because we have a President who is doing very well and we have resolved in the North Central to support Jonathan/Sambo ticket”.
Suswam said the group is looking beyond the Presidential bids of former military President Ibrahim Babangida and Governor Bukola Saraki because” we have endorsed Jonathan and we are strategizing for him to win the general election convincingly”.
On his part, governor Ibrahim Idris of Kogi State said, “The whole world knows that we are actually for Jonathan/Sambo and by doing this we want to make sure that our support base is solid and intact.”
Minister of State, Information and Communication, Labaran Maku, said “you can see the galaxy of dignitaries here. It is the nucleus of the North-Central otherwise called middle Belt Zone. We have once again decided to support Jonathan/Sambo for 2011”.
“We have gone beyond this Zoning or regional thing. The election of Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 is going to go beyond this and the election is going to turn a new page. After this period, Nigerians should be bold enough to unite this Country for good”, Maku stated.
For Ahmadu Ali, “This is to prove to the entire country that North Central Zone is solidly behind Jonathan/Sambo for 2011. We are going to turn 100 percent vote in the Primaries and the general election.
“The middle beltans have always determined the direction of politics and we are out again to show the whole country where the direction is this time around. We are all for Jonathan/Sambo”.
Another former National Chairman of the PDP, Barnabas Gemade added that the leaders of North Central have decided and “we shall convey this message to our people that Jonathan/Sambo is the answer for 2011.”
In his reaction, a Director in the Jonathan/Sambo campaign organization, Mike Omeri said the endorsement has given them a boost, assuring that Jonathan would not fail Nigerians.