Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has told Northern Elders Forum, that Ndigbo are firmly united behind the presidential bid of the Labour Party candidate, Mr Peter Obi.
Ohanaeze was responding to a recent poser by NEF’s Spokesman that Ndigbo were to be held responsible if Obi failed to win the 2023 presidential poll following anti-Obi remarks by the Igbo elite.
The apex Igbo body in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, said that Obi’s presidential bid “is a common project of Ndigbo,” adding that it is only a negligible self-overrated Igbo political elite that are opposed to the project.
“The attention of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has been drawn to the remarks by Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the Spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum wherein he expressed worry about the position of the South East towards Mr. Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party for the 2023 presidential election.
“According to Baba-Ahmed “we don’t know whether they are in support of Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of Labour Party or not. The nation can see what is happening now and if the South East fails to line up behind Obi, they should not blame anybody” He charged the Igbo to “reach out to other Nigerians and tell them they are supporting Obi not because he is an Igbo man but because he is the best.”
“The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide led by Ambassador Professor George Obiozor reassures the Northern Elders Forum and indeed the whole Nigeria that the South-East of Nigeria or better put, the Igbo are solidly behind our illustrious son, Mr. Peter Obi.
“There is no gainsaying the distraction by the negligible minority-elite who by the aid of the social media have over exaggerated their self-worth, authority, power and political relevance.
“Instructively, the Christian religion informs that in every twelve, there must be a Judas, This is a statement of fact, history, experience and a socio-political imperative. In other words, it is rather inconceivable to expect everybody to support Obi.
“What is important is that the Obi-Datti movement has gained the support of over ninety percent of Igbos and continues to swell with time.”
The apex Igbo body said it would not join issues with those opposed to the project, expressing confidence that most of them would join the movement as the time draws nearer.
“Ohanaeze will not join issues with those who are opposed to the collective Igbo aspiration with hope that, as in every ideology, more converts will key in when the logs of wood in their eyes are cleared. The Ohanaeze support to Obi is not because of his Igboness as rightly pointed out by Baba-Ahmed; what goes for Obi today is the awesome quality service he rendered to his people as a governor; and of course, the dispositional humility, character comeliness and intellectual acumen that define his public conduct.
“As a governor, Obi was busy setting standards of good governance for posterity, while some other myopic, timid and mundane governors were busy with unconscionable primitive acquisition of wealth to the detriment or impoverishment of the very masses that voted them into office.”
Ohanaeze commended NEF and other patriotic Nigerians for their support for Obi, expressing confidence that he will sweep the polls.
“On behalf of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and indeed all the Nigerian compatriots, we commend the Northern Elders Forum for stating that “we will give our support to the best man who can heal the wounds in the land because actually, everybody in Nigeria is marginalized right now.”
“What has remained the curse of the third world is in the choice we make at every occasion.
“While our ugly past has been defined by selfishness, greed, injustice, ethnic and religious sentiments, the enlightened Nigerian youths of today are more imaginative, proactive, creative, rational and cosmopolitan.
“The prevailing poverty and hardship do not recognize the boundaries of ethnicity and religion.
“Therefore, Nigeria is at a critical juncture with a choice between our characteristic vicious circle on one hand and the virtuous circle annotated with wealth creation and sustainable national development on the other.
Ohanaeze said that its President General, Professor George Obiozor had “long predicted that any party that nominates its presidential candidate outside the South-East of Nigeria will surely have problems.”
The statement further read: “Expectedly, the more the crises in the other political parties, the more enlarged the Obi-Datti coast will become. It is worth reiterating that the justice and equity the Igbo seek in Nigeria have found a providential expression in Obi.
“This is because, every Nigerian, big or small, young or old, knows that it is the turn of the South-East to produce a president for Nigeria come 2023, going by the rotation and zoning principles that have been entrenched in Nigeria since 1999.
“And by all standards, Obi is a good commodity that defies bad market. As it stands, Obi represents the body and soul of the Igbo for the 2023 general election.
“We hereby urge Nigerians to ignore any contrary opinion from the South-East as the usual distraction and thorns that trail the path to victory.”