By Lawrence Olaoye with agency reports
Attempts to endorse President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid was yesterday thwarted at the pre-national conference meeting put together by the South-Ssouth People’s Assembly in Calabar.
Those opposed to the scheme staged a walk out of the Ashbury Hall of the Mirage Hotel, Calabar venue of the meeting when it appeared they were about to be coerced into taking the decision.
The conference was to come up with a position paper for the forthcoming national conference.
Disagreement started when a former Minister for Health, Dr. Emmanuel Nsan, who was the chairman at the conference, suggested to participants that Jonathan’s second term bid be unanimously endorsed and presented as part of their resolutions at the national conference.
The suggestion was, however, resisted by two of the participants, Mr. Jonas Chujo, who is the President of Eleme People’s Assembly, and one Dr. Peter Mede, who argued that the issue of Jonathan’s second term bid was political and as such should not form part of resolutions to be presented by the group at the national conference.
The development however led to heated argument among participants, which almost snowballed into a free-for-all.
While those in support of the motion said the President, as a son of the South-South, had done well and should be supported for another term, opponents maintained that the meeting was not for politics but strictly on issues that concerned the zone.
In the midst of the confusion, Nsan called for a division in the house.
First, he directed that those in support of the motion stood, which they did and were counted to have scored the highest number of votes while those against were fewer.
This result brought out the anger in the opposing delegates with some saying they were tricked into Calabar to adopt the second term aspiration of Jonathan unlike in similar meetings by other geopolitical zones, where issues of national interest to them were tinkered with a common position taken.
The venue of the meeting became a cacophony of voices as tempers rose to flashpoint with the aggrieved delegates staging a walk out.
Mede, who moved the counter-motion, explained that the public would accuse them of collecting money from the Presidency to endorse Jonathan, whereas they paid their way to Calabar and picked their accommodation bills.