– By Louis Ejikeme –
Recall that after much deliberation on the position to be adopted by the South East in the unfolding political development in the country then, the Southeast governors at the risk of being criminalized politically opted for Jonathan/ Sambo for presidency. At that point, it seemed a kind of political death knell to barrack support for the duo at the detriment of the zone.
For those who see the office of the governor as a springboard to the presidency, the actions of the governors were obtuse political folly.
They were harangued and inveighed against as cowardly and speaking for themselves. Understandably, the anger issued forth from the knowledge that others before them contested the office and kept aglow the zone’s political relevance. But the governors knew better than that and were aware that it was political unwisdom to engage in an enterprise where the snags are evident. That it was politically more sagacious to negotiate for what the zone will get in the event of victory for the PDP rather than dissipate resources on a bleak enterprise.
The undercurrent political activities to which the propagators of the idea of contest were not privy have ensured not-so-impressive performance for those who defied the call. The governors have been vindicated with the impressive results the PDP recorded in the zone to outvote its closest rival in the election, the CPC. They worked hard to deliver Jonathan and Sambo even in the State where the party has no commanding presence. The protest by the CPC that the results garnered by the PDP were doctored lacks merit in the light of the efforts of the governors. The party lacks proper funding in the zone for the kind of election and did not campaign enough to ensure victory.
The party’s executives in the zone have since dissociated themselves from the rigging allegation leveled against the PDP. They blamed the party’s lack of progress on inadequate funding and poor campaign strategy for the poor performance and wondered how it hoped to have outvoted its closest rival.
The umbrella body of the Southeast governors led by Mr. Peter Obi under whose watch President Jonathan posted the impressive performance has acquitted itself. It no doubt has more work to do with regard to those promises which were made to the zone before the election. As the leader of the forum and the only non PDP governor in the zone, Obi has borne the greater part of the criticisms for aligning with the aspiration of a rival party. But history will be kind with him and the governors if the pre-election promises are kept. Those promises believed to be secured as alternative to no-contest option would ensure an end to the zone’s many years of marginalization.
The governors have fulfilled an aspect of their deal with President Jonathan by delivering him in the zone. It is left for the President to keep his own side of the bargain. It requires a good deal of political savvy and importunity to get a fair deal for the zone. There is reason to believe that the forum led by Obi knows best how to get the President to accede to redress noticeable lapses in the polity. Another Bridge across the Niger, a seaport, additional state in the zone, reconstructing the dilapidated federal roads in the zone, exploiting abundant natural resources like gas, kaolin etc should be pursued with every commitment.
The achievements of the forum have not escaped the notice of the good people of the zone with regard to speaking with a voice in spite of party affiliations. The upgrading of Enugu to an international airport and favourable response to environmental challenge in the zone are some of these achievements. However, they should also make sure that the interests of the zone are not sacrificed at the instance of others. The whole idea of the senseless killings which occur at the drop of the hat must stop. Nobody has the right to bay for another’s blood. As stake holders in the making of the Jonathan presidency, they should also demand for viable political offices.