*Insist on Presidency in 2015, restate support for Jonathan
BY HENRY UMORU
SOUTH-East leaders, yesterday, admitted that the problems confronting the zone where persons who occupy positions zoned to them are often removed from office are self inflicted.
Rising from a meeting in Abuja, under the aegis of Eastern Leaders Forum, the leaders lamented that an Igbo person would lend himself for the purpose of pulling down top Igbo leaders, stressing that the body was doing something to stem the tide.
Addressing journalists in Abuja after the meeting, Chairman, Eastern Leaders Forum and former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, noted that though the problems which most top political office holders of Igbo extraction had faced nationally were very shameful, they were, however, fuelled by external forces who want to create the impression that the South East could not be entrusted with topmost leadership positions.
The group also restated its support for President Goodluck Jonathan in the April presidential election, just as it insisted that a president of Igbo extraction must emerge in 2015.
Ezeife, who noted that the zone’s quest for the Presidency come 2015 was not negotiable, stressed that the quest was a moral issue which other parts of Nigeria must key into if Nigerians truly believe in the unity of the country and equity. He added that an Igbo man only ruled the country for just six months, whereas other zones in the country had controlled the affairs of this country for a greater number of years.
According to him, “it would be unfair not to accord us that privilege. A South Easterner ruled this country for only six months and after he was killed, his kits and kin were massacred in large numbers thereafter.” ”
On the problem faced by Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, which led to his resignation, Ezeife explained that not only did both Nwodo and Enugu State governor, Sullivan Chime, pretended they had accepted all the peace offers made to resolve their differences, but that what led to Nwodo’s forced resignation were externally influenced.
“Our problems are self- inflicted. Give us three months to begin to see new things and answers to some of the agitations that the people from our zone make. We are working on it and things will change I can assure you,’’ he said.
On the presidential election, the South East Leaders Forum restated its resolve to massively mobilize Ndigbo to vote for President Jonathan, saying that doing so was to strengthen the unity and progress of the country. He said: “We are putting all our eggs in one basket for Jonathan because since after the civil war, all the governments ignored all the roads and other federal facilities in the zone.”
“For Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to have received our support to have emerged in the national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, we have hope that all the roads in all parts of the country will be fixed because it will benefit our people who are found in large numbers everywhere.
“We pray that he will be used as a tool in the hands of God to bring the desired major changes in Nigeria in the interest of every group in Nigeria.
“Indeed, we earnestly call on the leadership of every group in Nigeria who can influence the actions of others to give peace, progress and the permanence of one Nigeria a chance by being restrained in what they say, preach or announce.
“We salute the entire Igbo delegates at the convention of PDP. They did not disappoint our elders and leaders. Above all, the apex Igbo organization, Ohaneze Ndigbo who unequivocally endorsed the candidacy of President Jonathan for 2011Presidential election and have been working for his success.
“We also congratulate delegates from the South West, South South, North Central, North East and North West zones, who voted for the President for standing for a new Nigeria where justice, equity and fairness shall be the watchword. We enjoin all of you irrespective of how they voted not to relent.”
Also present at the briefing were Professor Ihechukwu Madubuike, Eze M.O. Kanu, Senator Sylvanus Ngele, Igwe Ofoebe; Comrade Peace Obiajulu; Eze Igbo Ibe Nwosu; Hon. Agunwa Anekwe, Dr. Ifedi Okwenna; Dr. Kanayo Okoye and Eze Ambassador Longinus Udogwu.
Others were Ochigbo George, Dr. Caliiben Okonkwo, Barrister Aleto Maxwell, Eugene Anekwe, Magnus Ibe, among others.