Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, has urged residents of the South-East region, to totally ignore any senseless sit-at-home order during the forthcoming polls, and come out en masse and vote for candidates of their choice.
Ohanaeze which stated this after its emergency meeting in Enugu Friday night, decried the unpatriotic activities of one Finland-based self-acclaimed freedom fighter, Simon Ekpa, who has been issuing sit-at-home order during the election period.
The apex Igbo body which described the order as injurious to the electoral fortunes of Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, urged voters in the zone to support Obi.
Ohanaeze which reiterated its unflinching support for the Obi candidacy, said no reasonable Igbo should take any action capable of jeopardising Obi’s chances more so now that he is enjoying national acceptance.
A statement issued by Ohanaeze National Publicity Secretary, Dr Alex Ogbonnia read: “The NEC deliberated on a few issues of national interest and reached some major resolutions. The most worrisome among the issues raised is the Sit- at-Home and Total Lock Down Order to the Igbo by one Mr. Simon Ekpa, who is based in Finland.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo expressed both shock and doubt that a true Igbo will unconscionably embark on a disingenuous duplicitous adventure that is aimed at denigrating, disenfranchising and decimating his people.
“The most disturbing is that the unscrupulous sit-at-home and total lock down order by Ekpa falls within the Nigerian general election.
“Ohanaeze stands firmly on natural justice and equity to proclaim that it is the turn of the South-East of Nigeria to produce a President for Nigeria and by the irrevocable forces of providence, the right thinking Nigerians and the global community have embraced the virtues in Peter Obi as the most suitable, competent, visionary, inspiring and energetic presidential candidate for the forthcoming general election.
“It is, therefore, strange that at the very rare consensus and convergence of history, equity, public consciousness and expertise in Obi, an impetuous youth will engage in an unreflective drum-beat that draws his people to a macabre dance.
“It is also curious that while the Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful, has dissociated IPOB from “any sit-at-home in the South-East during the election period, urging residents to disregard the rumoured order making the rounds by the Simon Ekpa” and that “IPOB is only interested in the unconditional release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu;” the Autopilot ignores the necessary landing permit by his people.
“Ohanaeze, therefore, urges the residents in Igboland to ignore the sit at home in its entirety.”
The apex Igbo body commended the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for engaging the Finnish envoy on ways to clamp down on Ekpa.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo commends the interventions with the Finish Ambassador to Nigeria, Leena Pylvanainen by Chief Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs; the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba; the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor; Igbo Union in Finland; the general public especially the Youths and the reassurances of President Muhammadu Buhari with respect to security and a free and fair election in 2023.”
Ohanaeze, at the meeting, passed vote of confidence on its Secretary General and Publicity Secretary respectively for the way they have been piloting the affairs of the organisation since the death of its President General, Ambassador George Obiozor.
“The NEC used the opportunity to pass a vote of confidence on the Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Ambassador Okey Emuchay, MFR and the National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, PhD for their selfless services for the Igbo nation.”