South-south chiefs, elders and leaders yesterday declared that President Goodluck Jonathan must be returned as leader of the country for another term in office during the 2015 elections.
Making public their support for Jonathan in the forthcoming 2015 Presidential election, the regional leaders said through Chief Edwin Clark that: “People thought that we from South-south are second class citizens and we say no. When we reply critics, they say we are enemies of Jonathan.”
The Ijaw leader also wondered why it was difficult for the North to support Jonathan when his region supported Alhaji Shehu Shagari for two consecutive terms during the second republic.
The South-south leaders after their meeting mandated their group’s Board of Trustees (BoT) Chairman, former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mike Okiro, to drive the process of mobilising support for Jonathan in synergy with the executive committee of the South-community.
Speaking at the 2014 induction/inauguration of BoT of the South-south elders, chiefs and leaders, the coordinator of the group and Chairman, planning committee, Chief Bello Premier, called for the integration of South-south community in Abuja into the mainstream of social and political dynamics of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to accord it appropriate recognition as is the case of other regional groups.
Clark, who is the grand patron of South-south group, said in Nigeria, no community is superior to the other, adding that Abuja, which he said was developed with South-south (oil) money, does not belong to anybody.
He also described former President Olusegun Obasanjo as one of the richest men in the country today even when he was only having N20, 000 in his account after he was released from Yola prison to contest the 1999 presidential election.
“I think one of the problems facing us in this country is the issue of settler and indigene. In this country nobody is superior to the other.
Abuja does not belong to anybody; it belongs to all of us. The money used to develop Abuja came from South-south. Because we are Nigerians we accepted. Nobody owns it more than the other. Anybody is entitled to contest for any election in Abuja. Nobody owns this place.
“The problem with the militants started in 1998. Somebody invited the South-south youths to Abuja and they saw bridges built on land whereas in their waters there are no bridges. They went back and started the militancy. Don’t exclude us from the scheme of things; Nigeria belongs to all of us, don’t practice double standard. In 1983 we voted en mass Shagari and he stayed for eight years. It was Buhari who removed him. In 1999 they said because of what they did to Abiola, they said they should compensate the South-west and Obasanjo was brought out from Yola prison and he was only having N20,000 in his account and today he is one of the richest men in Nigeria. And today he is claiming to be innocent.
“We cannot continue to feed this country and we are not ruling the country. When Obasanjo wanted Yar’adua to become the president, he blackmailed everybody. How many of the northerners came to me to say that Jonathan should step down and allow the North to finish their four year term and I told them you are not well?”, he asked rhetorically.