Jonathan visits Ojukwu in Enugu
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, met with the former Biafran leader and Presidential candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA in 2007 elections, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu to solicit his support for his presidential ambition. (Photo: President Goodluck Jonathan, of Nigeria)
The president who is on a day official visit to Enugu State arrived the GRA residence of Ojukwu with members of his entourage including Vice President Sambo, Governor Martin Elechi of Ebonyi State who is South East Coordinator of Jonathan-Sambo Campaign Organization and some South East governors at 5.30 pm.
The meeting between the president and Ojukwu, who is said to be ill, was held behind closed doors for about 15 minutes and it was learnt that the president briefed him on his presidential ambition in 2011 and solicited his support.
He also used the opportunity of the visit to commiserate with the Ikemba Nnewi and wished him quick recovery from the ailment which had kept him from public functions for some time.
There was a heavy security presence within Ojukwu’s premises as the road leading to his residence was cordoned off by security operatives including mobile policemen, soldiers, State Security Service, SSS operatives and men of the Police Bomb Disposal Unit.
The president and his entourage left his house for the Airport at exactly 5.45 pm Friday for Abuja after the one-day visit.
‘I consider myself an Igbo man’ says Jonathan
Pledges to back Chime, Elechi, Ohakim, Orji for another term
President Jonathan had arrived at the Akanu Ibiam International airport at 2.40 pm aboard NAF helicopter 540 and inspected a Guard of Honour mounted by detachments of the Nigerian Airforce and the Army.
Vice President Namadi Sambo had arrived earlier to receive the president. All South East governors – Theodore Orji of Abia, Peter Obi of Anambra, Ikedi Ohakim of Imo, Marti Elechi of Ebonyi and the host governor, Sulivan Chime of Enugu were at the airport to witness the inauguration.
Other dignitaries present were Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Fidelia Njeze, Health Minister, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, Women Affairs Minister, Mrs. Josephine Aneni, former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim and Alhaji Dalhatu Tafida, the Director General of Jonathan-Sambo Campaign Organisation.
During the visit he inaugurated the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, commissioned the South East office of the Jonathan-Sambo campaign organization and also commissioned the Coal City Mass Transit Buses and Enugu State Waste Management Authority, ESWAMA trucks newly procured by Enugu State Government.
Inaugurating the Akanu Ibiam International airport, President Jonathan noted that the South East geopolitical zone was more of a business region and enterprise which deserves an international airport.
He pledged that the federal government would do everything possible to equip the airport for effective operation and formally announced that the airport had been granted an international status.
“Government will provide enough facilities at the airport. This is just the beginning for the South East,” said the president, who later inspected the newly updated facilities and the runway.
While commissioning the Coal City buses and ESWAMA waste disposal trucks at Okpara Square Enugu, President Jonathan told the mammoth crowd of PDP supporters drawn from the five South East states that he considers himself an Igbo man by the circumstances of his birth and promised to ensure that the interest of Ndigbo is always protected by the government.
He said that the South East governors were more organized than their colleagues in other regions without minding their political party differences and commended them for their achievements while in office.
He said: “I am here to inform the people of the South East that I and Vice President Namadi Sambo are vying for presidency and to seek the support of the South East zone. I believe you will support us because I am one of you. I consider himself as an Igbo man because of the circumstances of my birth and I believe you all regard me as your own son.”
The president pledged to tackle power problem in the country within four years, stressing that it was for this purpose that he appointed the son of Enugu State, Professor Barth Nnaji as his special adviser on Power and had worked very closely with him.
At the Jonathan-Sambo Campaign office, the president thanked the South East Governors for their strong support for him and promised to back the re-election bid of the four PDP governors including Sullivan Chime (Enugu), Martin Elechi (Ebonyi), Ikedi Ohakim (Imo) and Theodore Orji (Abia).
The South East governors represented by Governor Elechi, South East Coordinator, Jonathan/Sambo campaign organization, thanked the president for approving the upgrade of the Akanu Ibiam airport to an International Airport as well as his tremendous support to their respective states .
He said that Ndigbo have resolved to stand solidly behind him in next year’s election.
By Tony Edike, Nigeria
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