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Igbo Leaders Give Conditions For Backing Any Presidential Candidate

IGNATIUS OKPARA, Enugu – As the 2015 general elections draws near, Igbo leaders have listed condition for presidential candidates seeking southeast votes and support, including president Goodluck Jonathan.

They said there is no monetary value for their votes, insisting that anyone seeking their support in next month’s elections must be ready to embark aggressive infrastructural development of the South East zone.

At the end of their one-day crucial marathon meeting hosted by 2nd Republic Vice President, Alex Ekwueme, and Tuesday in Enugu, the leaders maintained that the race will only give their votes to any candidate who has the interest of Igbos at heart.

An insider in the meeting said that, “everyone reminded the president that no other zone has given its support as the South East to him, yet the zone has only had a surfeit of promises.

They said “It is time for the president to give Ndigbo a realistic timeline for the completion of whatever projects, ongoing or on the drawing board, which he has promised the zone since 2011.”

According to the source, “the question was when will projects like the second Niger Bridge, the East/West rail link, the Onitsha/Oguta port, the Aba inland dry port be completed.

The source said: “We must have the time frame for the construction of these projects, they have been on the ground for too long while the economic fortunes of the zone suffer.

“We noted too that we still have the worst roads in the federation.”

Our Correspondent gathered that the Igbo leaders, had used the meeting to dismiss claims in some quarters that they were ready to trade their votes to the highest bidder in the election and that they were only trying to blackmail the president.

Another source at the meeting said, “we are more concerned about the future of the next generation than the inducements from government.

“How much is that worth? We are bent on using our support for Jonathan to achieve the infrastructural improvement of the zone and make it more economically viable for the benefit of the entire people.

“This concern should not be interpreted otherwise. Ndigbo are hardworking and successful industrialists and businessmen and it is ironical that they are being portrayed as people who can sell their votes for a plate of porridge at the slightest nudge. Anyway, not this meeting.”

It was further learnt that some of the aggrieved leaders who were largely disappointed with the president’s scorecard had reproached his aides at the meeting and in the zone “for not helping matters with their selfishness and for taking the Igbo people for granted.

“They are the people who mislead the president and are the reasons for the portrayal of Ndigbo in such unsavory light.” The source noted.

However they were pacified with the promise that the president will personally address them at the next meeting.

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