Ijaw kinsmen of President Goodluck Jonathan have threatened to pull out of the Nigerian federation if the President’s re-election bid was frustrated in 2015.
The Ijaw, in a communiqué made available to National Mirror yesterday after their meeting at the hometown of the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, Okirika, Rivers State, said Jonathan would return to the Niger Delta to lead his people in the case that he was rejected by Nigerians in 2015.
“If other ethnic nationalities feel that they don’t Jonathan as from 2015, we want him to return home in the Niger Delta and lead the Ijaw nation as President and Commander-in-Chief,” the communiqué made available by the National Chairman of Izon Ikemi, Chief Kalaiti Jephthah, read.
The meeting was held under the aegis of Izon Ikemi, a grassroots organisation of the Ijaw ethnic nationality on Tuesday night to review the state of the nation, especially the ongoing crisis in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the chances of Jonathan for re-election in 2015.
The meeting was hosted by a prominent former leader, Chief Tom Ateke. Ateke and the National Secretary of the Ijaw group, Mr. Akpos Mezeh, signed the communiqué. The forum said Jonathan was qualified to seek re-election and added that his minority status should not be deployed as the yardstick to disqualify him from the 2015 contest.
The Izon Ikemi frowned at the manner in which Jonathan was being “belittled, ridiculed and reduced to punching bag” by his political enemies.
The Ijaw leaders renewed their commitment to the principles of rule of law, democracy, equity and justice as a precondition for the enthronement and sustainability of good governance, peace, stability and progress, but vowed to resist any attempt to ridicule and intimidate Jonathan in the countdown to the 2015 elections.
The group said the crisis in the ruling party was aimed at intimidating and frustrating Jonathan from seeking re-election, adding that it would resist opposition to President from within and outside the country.
The communiqué read: “That while Izon Ikemi welcomes constructive criticism as normal in constitutional and participatory democracy, it frowns at unwarranted attacks at President Jonathan and promise to resist any negative opposition from other tribes including opposition within the Niger Delta.
“That Izon Ikemi has discovered a plot by desperate politicians to destabilise the government of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan; the Ijaw ethnic nationality view the ongoing crisis in the ruling party (PDP) as being targeted at intimidating and frustrating the President out of running in the next presidential election.
Izon Ikemi cannot watch helplessly while he is being hunted by those who never wished the country well but are only pursuing their selfish interests.
“That Izon Ikemi believes that the task of nation building is a collective responsibility and pledge to achieve its legitimate aspirations through extensive use of partnerships and synergy with all stakeholders including other ethnic nationalities.