Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Igbo youths have furiously reacted to the rumoured defection of former President Goodluck Jonathan to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, with an eye on the party’s presidential flag in 2023.
The youths under the aegis of Coalition of South-East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, said it amounted to political treachery and paying Ndigbo with the wrong coin should Jonathan join the presidential race instead of supporting the bid for the South-East to produce Nigeria’s President in 2023.
COSEYL said it was shameful that Jonathan could contemplate offering himself to be used by the North to ruin the chances of the South-East producing the President of Nigeria despite huge sacrifices by Ndigbo in support and defense of the former President.
According to the Igbo youth group, Jonathan should rather fully support the 2023 presidential bid of aspirants from the South-East to prove to the zone that its support for him during his tenure was not in vain.
COSEYL in a press statement by its National President, Comrade Goodluck Ibem, asked Jonathan to “return the good gesture and the unalloyed support of the South-East to his administration by openly supporting the good people of the South-East to produce the next president of Nigeria come 2023.”
The statement made available to Ikengaonline read in part: “The good people of South-East gave the former president of Nigeria, Dr. Jonathan 100% support during elections and through out his administration.
“The Igbos were killed and witch-hunted for their unalloyed support to the administration and re-election of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. It is also on record that in the 2015 elections, the Oba of Lagos and some APC stalwarts threatened to throw Igbos into the lagoon if the dare cast their votes for Jonathan. Allot of Igbos living in Lagos were disenfranchised because it was feared that the will still cast their votes for Jonathan. But despite the threats of throwing them into the lagoon if the dare vote for Jonathan who was the PDP Presidential Candidate in 2015, they still went ahead to vote Jonathan.
“In the North, the Igbos were killed at the slightest provocation by some religious fanatics and miscreants. The Igbos were hated because of their unalloyed support to the former President Goodluck Jonathan. Countless of Igbo families lost their bread winners in the North because the Igbos were staunch supporters of Jonathan.
“Of a truth, we are really surprised that despite the unalloyed support of the people of South-East to Dr. Jonathan, he is tempted to contest again for President when the current mood of the nation and the zoning principle favours the South-East to produce the next president of Nigeria come 2023.
“The first person we expect to support and champion the course of the Nigerian President of South-East extraction is Dr. Goodluck Jonathan having benefited immensely from the unalloyed support of the people of South-East.
“When Jonathan was Vice President and President Yar’adua was incapacitated at that time, we had Ministers in the cabinet from South-South and a Minister from Bayelsa, but none of them could take the bull by the horn. It was a South-East woman, Professor Dora Akunyili, who was the Minister of Information that stood up to say the truth which led to the swearing-in of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as President of Nigeria. Today she is no more with us. She paid the supreme prize for saying the truth.
“Now is the time for Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to reciprocate the good gestures of the people of South-East by coming out openly to support the people of South-East to produce a Nigerian President come 2023.
“The South-East has paid its dues in the political development of Nigeria and this is the time for all geo-political zones to support the people of South-East to produce the next President of Nigeria come 2023.
“We thank Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Edwin Clark leader of PANDEF and other elder statesmen and groups who are backing the people of South-East to produce the next President of Nigeria come 2023. History will be fair to them.”