LEADERS of the South-south geopolitical zone who met yesterday under the aegis of the South- South Peoples Assembly (SSPA) in Effurun, Delta State agreed to endorse President Goodluck Jonathan to run for a second term in 2015.
Nearly all the six states of the region were duly represented.
The leaders have not met since the Calabar declaration of 2004 when the region was clamouring for the Presidency to be zoned to it.
Yesterday, the speakers were unanimous about Jonathan’s re-contesting in 2015.
They therefore endorsed Jonathan to complete his eight years tenure when they echoed ‘yes’ to a call by Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark if they wanted Jonathan in 2015.
The convener, Clark said the northern political leaders were being unduly antagonistic to the south-south especially since President Jonathan assumed office in 2011.
He specifically noted that some leaders of the north, like Alhaji Lawal Kaita had threatened prior to the 2011 elections that unless a northerner emerged as president, they would make the country ungovernable and more so had recently threatened that except a northerner succeeds Jonathan, there would be “no Nigeria.”
He said that the threats by the northern leaders was fuelling the insurgency by Boko Haram, stressing that until these northern leaders rose above sectional interest and the governors lived up to the challenges of insecurity, the threat to the northern economy and peace of the country, the quest for peaceful co-existence and development would remain futile.
Clark said that the North was doing everything possible to shut down the South-South hence they were calling for the abrogation of the 2004 Act which ended the onshore/offshore dichotomy so as to cripple the South-South region.
The leaders discussed the convening of the national conference of all ethnic nationalities in the country to trash out issues of national co-existence.
At the venue, Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan urged those agitating for the abrogation of the onshore/ofshore dichotomy to abandon it, saying that would adversely affect the nation.
He said : “I’m worried when some leaders overlook the obligation placed upon them in not applying restraint in the position they take, such as on this issue of derivation.
“I say so because, the tension and crisis over derivation, in particular over on-shore/off-shore dichotomy, is too recent in our collective memory to be reopened by anyone for debate.
“The fear in many quarters is that if they succeed in reopening and reversing this settled issue, then we can be sure that before long they will ask for the reduction of 13 per cent derivation.”
Others present at the well-attended meeting were first civilian Governor of Edo State and National Chairman of the Assembly, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, erstwhile Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyesegha, and former Inspector- General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro.
Chief Whip, Sen. Roland Owie, Senator Lee Meiba, Senator Tara Sikibo, former Minister of Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, Senator Francis Osakwe, Senator Cairo Ojugbo, Prof. Saliba Mukoro, Senator Francis Nwajie, environmental activist, Annkio-Briggs, Mrs. Monica Akiri, Dr. Brown Adasan, SSPA National Secretary, Whiskey Ayakeme, Chief Francis Dongbonlagha, Gen. Anthony Etukudor (rtd), Chief Isaac Jemide, Prof Solomon Okobia, Brig-Gen Idada Ikponmwen (rtd), Julius Okojie, K.B Omatseye, Chief Godwin Ogbetuo, Chief Moses Odibo, Chief Lucky Esigie, Chief Samson Mamamu and Adora Giwa-Amu.
Others present were first civilian Governor of Delta State, Olorogun Felix Ibru, ex-Military Administrator, Air-Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, Senator Francis Spanner Okpozo, former Chief Whip, Mrs. Stella Omu and former Minister of Information, Prof. Sam Oyovbaire.
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