By Tony Edike
ENUGU—IGBO political leaders in the five South Eastern states rose from a meeting in Enugu yesterday with a resolve to work tenaciously for the realization of President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential ambition in the 2011.
At the town hall meeting held at Nike Lake Resort Hotel, Enugu, under the chairmanship of former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Eze Ozobu (rtd), Igbo leaders also reiterated their commitment to the principle of zoning, saying it was the only recipe to end power struggle in the country.
Present at the meeting that lasted for over three hours were Chief Mbazulike Amechi, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, Prof Anya O. Anya, Senator Ebenezer Ikeyina, Chief Nnia Nwodo, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, Chief Tony Ukasanya, Chief Anayo Onwuegbu, Chief Mrs. Sally Egbogu, Chief Frank Oramulu, Senator Emma Anosike, Chief Ugochukwu Agballa, Dr. Joe Nwaorgu, Prof. Donatus Onu, Prof Sam Ukpabi, Chief Chika Odom and Dr. Perry Iloegbunam among others.
In a 10-point communiqué issued at the end of the meeting and signed by Senator Ikeyina and Chief Ojo Maduekwe, the participants further endorsed the process of consultation by the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, on the unfolding contest for power in the 2011 general elections.
In declaring their unflinching support for President Jonathan’s presidential bid, they however demanded that power should rotate to the South East in 2015 on the basis of the existing geopolitical zones and not on the pre-1914 North South divide.
“The Town Hall meeting believes that the only lasting recipe to tame the struggle for power in Nigeria and make our politics more gentle, would be a constitutional provision that guarantees the roration of power between the zones of Nigeria . In fact, the need to rotate power in Nigeria is now a settled issue; but the implementation remains problematic, hence the current debate.
“We believe that rotation of power should be conducted on the basis of existing geopolitical zones and not on the pre-1914 North-South divide. Furthermore, the principle of rotation of power should be binding on all political parties as a reflection of the unique history, needs and imperatives of the Nigerian federation.
Henceforth, rotation of power should be designed to immediately accommodate the zone that has not exercised the power of the presidency and then, it should next continue to those that have exercised such powers for the least period of time in the past,” the communiqué said.
They therefore stressed the need for the South-South to be supported for next year’s presidential poll while the South-East follows thereafter.
“It is instructive that besides the imperatives of justice and our desire to foster a more cordial relationship with our brothers in the South-South and other zones of the country, a principal reason for the support pledged to His Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan is the public testimony of the governors of the South East that they have enjoyed unparalleled collaborative goodwill in search for solutions to the many concerns of the zone from the president, in the short period that he has been in office.
“Consequently, the meeting urges the political, socio-cultural and civil organizational leadership in the South East zone to work and give effect to the support pledged to President Jonathan,” the Igbo leaders further stated even as they urged President Jonathan to continue to pay attention to the priority needs of Ndigbo.
Earlier in an address, Professor Anya O. Anya, said the best political decision Ndigbo have taken in the current dispensation was the endorse President Jonathan, stressing that it had been a collective desire of Ndigbo to produce the president in 2015 since Jonathan would not seek re-election after 2015 as he would not be sworn-in twice constitutionally as president.
He called on Igbo supporters of Northern presidential aspirants to have a change of mind and support Jonathan’s ambition.