Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi shaking hands with former President Goodluck Jonathan
The expectation that supporters of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan would endorse the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has hit the rock as a faction has endorsed his rival, Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Jonathan has been leaning towards Obi’s candidacy and has spoken glowingly of the former Anambra State governor.
On Friday, Jonathan hailed the Labour Party candidate for paying him homage at his country home in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, during the party’s presidential rally in the state.
The former president had said, “I want to thank you for being the first presidential candidate to pay a courtesy visit to me. I want to use this opportunity to encourage you in what you are doing.
“I have been listening to comments from political leadership and sometimes our supporters do more damage on our behalf. And I must commend you because your utterances so far have not shown any division. Just keep doing what is right.
“If you win, you will be a president for the whole nation, you won’t be a President for any group of people.
“If by divine providence you win the election, your first responsibility is to unite Nigeria. Without unity, we cannot solve our security problems. Without unity, we cannot solve our economic problems.
“If you unite Nigeria, that is the beginning of a new Nigeria, and the revolution and the development that will take place,” Jonathan had tasked Obi.
However, the former president’s major support bloc that worked to drag him into the presidential race earlier in the year on the platform of the APC on boxing day endorsed the APC presidential candidate.
The support groups which operate under the coalition called Citizens Network for Peace and Development in Nigeria (CNPDN), declared in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Boxing Day that they are for a president of southern extraction and that the former Lagos State Governor is their preferred choice.
Speaking for the faction even as the group donated N1 million for the Tinubu campaign in South South and South East, the National Secretary of the Coalition, Francis Okereke Wainwei, explained that, “Our position that the next President of this country should come from the South is driven by the same vision and principles”, he stated.
Wainwei said the group believed “strongly that such will strengthen the unity and peace of the nation; it will give a better sense of belonging to the people of Southern Nigeria and foster a more viable peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.
“We were therefore surprised by the betrayal of the same cause by some of the Southern Governors, especially the South South Governors, except Nyesom Wike, who had earlier declared for a Southern President, to abandon the same and started pursuing their personal interests instead of the collective interest of the region.
“We are therefore calling on the South South governors who have betrayed their people by supporting another Northern candidate to take over from Buhari after eight years of a president from the North, to resign immediately.
“This is because the people of the South South zone can no longer trust them with their common heritage as they have placed their personal interests above the collective interest of their people.
“Our call on them to resign is also premised on the fact that they recently received huge sums of money via the 13% derivation fund and squandered the same in pursuit of their personal interests at the expense of their people.
“We are also calling on the South South States’ Houses of Assembly to impeach the said governors if they fail to resign as requested.
“We shall mobilize our members across the South South States to force the said governors to resign or get impeached. We can’t allow such selfish governors to continue to govern us anymore. We must all place the collective interest of our people above our personal interests for our region to experience holistic and accelerated development.”
According to Wainwei, “In order to ensure that a Southern President is elected in 2023 , we hereby call on all our members and people of the South East and the South South zones to massively vote for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for President in 2023.
“Tinubu is the easiest means to elect a President from Southern extraction in 2023.He has nationwide acceptance and has the requisite political experience to navigate Nigeria to greatness as President of Nigeria.”
The group however called on voters in Rivers State to vote for the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Siminalayi Fubara.
“We are also using this medium to call on our members and people of Rivers State to vote, PDP gubernatorial candidate in Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara as governor of Rivers State.
“We are supporting the PDP gubernatorial candidate in Rivers State because of the massive infrastructural development built by the current PDP government in the State.”