The Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly (SNPA) has endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan’s bid for re-election, lauding the incumbent president’s “manifest strides and achievements in the past three and half years as the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The endorsement came in a communiqué issued at the end of the group’s 5th general conference held at Golden Royale Hotel in Enugu on Tuesday, January 20, 2015.
Chaired by former Vice President Alex Ekwueme, the meeting was attended by more than 200 delegates, including Edwin K. Clark, (co-chair of the group and the leader of the Niger Delta delegation), Ayo Ladigbolu, an archbishop, who represented Bishop Emmanuel Gbonigi (co-chair and leader of the southwest). Other prominent participants included Mbazulike Amaechi, Akin Aduwo, Ihechukwu Madubuike, Akinfenwa Mojisoluwa, Bassey Ewa Henshaw, Kunle Olajide, former Inspector General of Police Mike Okiro, Uche Azikiwe, Virgy Etiaba, Adolf Wabara, Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele, and Anya O. Anya. Others present were Femi Okurounmu, Gary Igariwei (President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo), Alfred Diete-Spiff, Adeyemi Adediran, Elizah O. Oyelade, who represented the Ooni of Ife, Esther Uduehi, Larry Koinyan, Tim Menakaya, Dozie Ikedife, Tunde Akogun, and Chukwuemeka Ezeife.
The conference discussed Nigeria’s socio-political and economic situation, focusing on the general elections scheduled for February 14 and 28, as well as Boko Haram’s terrorist activities in the northeastern part of Nigeria.
The communiqué stated that the “continued escalation of the Boko Haram activities close to 2015 general election is unhealthy to the unity and stability of the country.” It recalled the massacre of innocent Nigerians in parts of Northern Nigeria after the 2011 elections, adding that violence portends danger in 2015.
SNPA condemned the attempt by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) “to create 30,000 additional polling units, which would have given the North an undue electoral advantage,” demanding that the move be permanently scrapped. The group also stated that INEC’s distribution of permanent voters cards “appear to have given the North advantage over the South as over 12 million PVCs have been given to the North West alone.”
SNPA alleged that “there has always been an orchestrated attack on Presidents/Heads of State of Southern Nigeria origin, leading to massive protests and destruction of lives and property in the North simply because it is the thinking of the Northern oligarchy that power must continue to reside in the North.”
The communiqué stated that Nigeria’s crises predated the emergence of the Jonathan administration, adding that the incumbent president “has demonstrated passion and commitment” in tackling the country’s problems “through his transformation agenda.”
The group praised Mr. Jonathan for convoking the National Conference last year in response to “our collective calls,” asserting that his action showed “that he is a President with a listening ear who wants the good, betterment, stability and progress of the country.” SNPA demanded the faithful implementation of the resolutions of the National Conference as a way of resolving “the continuing contradictions in the Nigerian polity” and laying “a solid foundation for a more just, more equitable society in which all can have equal sense of belonging.”
The group warned that the South would “resist any attempt to employ violence to kill innocent Nigerians on account of the outcome of 2015 general elections,” adding that SNPA had unanimously endorsed Mr. Jonathan’s “quest for re-election as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the February14, 2015 presidential election.” They called “on all discerning Nigerians to vote massively for President Jonathan as that would ensure equity, fairness, and justice.”
Mr. Ekwueme, Mr. Clark, and Archbishop Ladigbolu signed the communiqué.