Atiku woes South -East Delegates

…As Ebonyi bars ex-VP

Former vice-president and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
presidential aspirant, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, yesterday held closed-door meetings with members of Enugu and Anambra States’ houses of assembly in a bid to woo them ahead of the party’s presidential primary on January 13, 2011.

His aspiration, however, received a major boost as the Enugu State House of Assembly specifically endorsed him ahead of President Goodluck Jonathan. The lawmakers described him as the most experienced in the race so far.

Meanwhile, Atiku reiterated his support for the emergence of an Igbo man as the president of the country by 2015, saying that was the only way of putting to an end the fall-outs of the country’s 30-month civil war.

The former vice-president’s campaign train, however, received a major shock as Ebonyi State Governor Martin Elechi reportedly barred them from visiting the state.

He was said to have directed Ebonyi delegates to avoid any meeting with Atiku.
Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, Eugene Odoh, who spoke on behalf of other lawmakers during a special session to receive Atiku’s presidential team, said the assembly would go the extra-mile to ensure that they support the course which the former vice-president is currently championing.

“Enugu Assembly will go extra length to show full support to the course which has brought you to the House of Assembly today. You are the most experienced of all aspirants in the race having experienced presidency for eight years. What you have told us today are facts and when we heard of your visit, we decided to turn out in our numbers to receive you. We have been humbled by your wordings, our president-to-be and by the grace of God, you will be there.

“We had you one-on-one and it is my hope that we’ll vote according to our conscience. The Igbo man has conscience and having suffered for this great country, we will not let you down. Members of this house of assembly are courageous. This is one of the houses that voted for the autonomy of the legislature and we know the right thing to do,” Odoh said.

His remarks were intermittently punctuated by praise songs from the legislators who all turned out to receive the former vice-president.
Speaking earlier, Atiku said he was committed to a point of passion to ensuring that the South-east produced the president by 2015, saying “I’ve made this commitment in the past.

“Ben Obi was my running-mate when I took refuge in the Action Congress of Nigeria. Northern Leaders Political Forum and Igbo Political Forum have reached a form of agreement to ensure that by 2015, the presidency comes back to South-east.
“It’s not a joke; it affects you and the generation yet unborn. It’s a way to make every part of Nigeria an integral part of this nation,” he said, while describing PDP as the nation’s unifying factor in the ongoing political dispensation having won elections in every zone of the country since 1999.

He also used the opportunity to reel out his people-oriented programmes for Nigerians if elected the next president of the country. Some of the programmes span through security, health, education and youth empowerment among others.

He applauded the speaker of Enugu assembly for having shown rare qualities by constantly receiving him each time he came to the state, saying “even the last time I came to the state when we still had four aspirants from the North, and people were avoiding us, the speaker still made out time to visit me at my hotel room and I am deeply grateful to you”.

The presidential aspirant later met with members of Anambra State House of Assembly in a private hotel in the state.
He is scheduled to meet with Abia and Imo States’ assembly members in Owerri today.

The team, according to THISDAY reports, will not be visiting Ebonyi State as the governor who also doubles as the South-east Coordinator of the Jonathan/Sambo Campaign Organisation allegedly barred the team from having any meeting with delegates from the state especially members of the state assembly.

A source close to the Atiku Campaign Organisation said that the governor expressly told the former governor of the state, Dr. Sam Egwu, who is also a member of the Atiku team that the team was not free to visit the state.

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