News Punch – The South-East leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party and the South-East Governors’ Forum have disagreed with a former Vice President, Chief Alex Ekwueme, over his recent prediction that President Goodluck Jonathan might not secure a block vote in the zone in the February 14 presidential election, as he did in 2011.
Ekwueme, who is one of the founding fathers of the PDP, in a recent interview had asserted that Jonathan had taken the South-East geo-political zone for granted despite the zone’s overwhelming support for him in 2011, as most of his promises to the zone had not been fulfilled.
He warned that the President risked losing the total support of Ndigbo in the forthcoming elections as some of the people would give their support to other presidential candidates with better agenda for the zone.
But reacting to Ekwueme’s remarks, the National Vice Chairman of the PDP, Col. Austin Akobundu ( retd.), told our correspondent in Umuahia that the former Vice President’s “prediction was incorrect and did not reflect the realities on the ground.”
He said the South-East remained a very strong support base of Jonathan, assuring the President that the zone would still give him 100 per cent support as was the case in 2011.
Akobundu said, “I have serious respect for Chief Ekwueme but he should realise that the PDP is dynamic and he should not expect the party to still be what he saw in 1998. The South-East is totally behind Jonathan and nothing can change this. Anybody making any prediction to the contrary is out of touch with the realities on ground.The South-East is better off with the PDP than any other party.”
He added that the former Vice President must have spoken out of annoyance, perhaps, arising from the primaries.
He said that the PDP in the zone had set up a reconciliation panel to reconcile all aggrieved members, explaining that post-primary crisis was not peculiar to the PDP.
In the same vein, the South-East Governor’s Forum said the zone would not relent in its avowed support for Jonathan.
The Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Abia State, Chief Theodore Orji, said anybody predicting failure for Jonathan in the zone must be on his own “because the people are united in their support for the President.”
Orji, who spoke with our correspondent through his Special Adviser on Political Matters, Chief Abraham Ama, said, “It is unfortunate that Ekwueme has lost touch with the realities of the moment.”
The governor noted that Ekwueme “is a man highly respected among Ndigbo” but said his predictions about the fortunes of the President in the forthcoming presidential election did not reflect the mind of the people.
According to him, Ndigbo have never had it so good under any other President in Nigeria compared to what they have benefited under Jonathan.
Orji said that apart from Jonathan, no other presidential candidate was popular among Ndigbo. He affirmed that the President would have a landslide victory in the zone.
He said, “The APC here sounds like Boko Haram, and you cannot see any well-meaning Igbo son in the APC. Rochas Okorocha knows he has missed the way, and Ogbonnaya Onu cannot even win in his ward. So, no other party is recognised here.”
He restated the readiness of Ndigbo to deliver the zone for Jonathan come February 14.