2011: Ethnic minorities rally around Jonathan

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2011: Ethnic minorities rally around Jonathan

Post  nex on Sat Jul 24, 2010 6:34 pm

Indications emerged on Friday that the minority ethnic nationalities in the country are united behind President Goodluck Jonathan to vie for the Presidency in the 2011 general election on the platform of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.


Saturday Punch gathered that negotiations and consultations had begun among the minorities in the South-South geopolitical zone, the Middle Belt and the North to perfect their strategy to realise Jonathan‘s presidency in 2011.


It was further learnt that the leaders of the minority ethnic groups were of the view that Jonathan represented their hopes that the Presidency of the country was not an exclusive right of some major ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.


One of the arrowheads of the campaign for a minority President in 2011 said on Friday, ”That Presidency is zoned to the South by any political party does not translate to the fact that it is zoned to the Niger Delta or that an Ijaw man, Ogoni man, Urhobo man or an Itsekiri man will clinch the slot. It does not translate to a South-South person being there (Presidency). The South is not homogenous unlike the North that is united by religion and customs.


”The Jonathan presidency means to us that somebody from the South-South and the Niger Delta can be President. That is the issue. If you ask them to forget about it, you will make them feel they do not belong to the country. That point is lost in the argument about zoning.”


The source noted that the emergence of Jonathan as President upon the death of President Umaru Yar‘Adua apparently gave the minorities a sense of belonging in the political equation of the country, adding that the groups had perfected their strategy to sustain Jonathan in the Presidency at least till 2015 as a beacon of hope to them.


He maintained that the leaders of the minority ethnic nationalities nursed genuine fears that the zoning of the presidency to either the South or the North was a tactical way of asking the major ethnic groups to produce the candidate for the highest political office in the country in 2011.


He added,”It is easy for people to always use you for their own end. That is the minority syndrome. The odd seems to be against us (minority ethnic nationalities) and we are trying to capture the hope that we can make it. However, no one stands the chance of making it for now except Jonathan. The minorities are rallying support for Jonathan because his presidency gives the hope to the minority that they can be President.”


Speaking on the issue, the President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, Mr. Ledum Mittee, said the leaders of the minority ethnic nationalities in the country were strategising to ensure the emergence of Jonathan as president in the 2011 elections.


The MOSOP leader, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone, said Jonathan rekindled the hope of the minorities that one of them could occupy the exalted office of the President of the country.


He said minorities were supportive of Jonathan apparently to drive a point that one of them could preside over the affairs of the country in a democratic setting.


Mittee added, ”The minorities are in support of the realisation of the dream that one of them can do it because we can do it. The present political development in the country gives hope that the minority can be president.


”Jonathan is a symbol of hope to all minorities whether in the South-South, Middle Belt or even in the North that they too can be President because it has always been that when one of the three big brothers gets it, we should feel contented.


”So there are consultations and networking going on within the minority in the South-South, Middle-Belt and even in the North; we are holding several meetings to ensure that we do not lose this wonderful opportunity to produce the President of Nigeria for the first time.”


Although Jonathan has not formally indicated interest to run in the presidential election in 2011, Mittee said he was the only credible person among the names being touted for presidency in the forthcoming general election.


He said some Nigerians jostling for the office next year across the political divides had tainted antecedents, adding that they were not credible and suitable to lead the country.


Mittee further said, ”When we look at all other aspirants, looking at their past records, none of them has better record than Jonathan. There was nothing to be enthusiastic about in their past records and there is no exciting thing to say about their past.”


Consequently, Mittee promised to collaborate with other relevant stakeholders in order to return Jonathan to the Presidential Villa in Abuja in 2011.


The alleged zoning of the presidential slot by the PDP to the North became a subject of national discourse upon the death of Yar‘Adua.


The protagonists and antagonists of zoning had engaged in heated debate to outdo one another and engender public sympathy.


The South-South obviously supported the rejection of the zoning arrangement in order to pave the pave way for Jonathan to contest the election.


The North is sharply divided into two camps of pro and anti-zoning. Just recently, the Northern leaders had at the Northern Political Summit in Kaduna, rejected zoning of the presidency by the party. The group said zoning was needless in producing the country‘s next President in 2011.


A former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, who read the meeting‘s communiqué, said that Jonathan should not be excluded from the election.



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nex

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