Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has confronted the Governor of Rivers State, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, over his alleged role against Mr. Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) during the presidential election which held on February 25, 2023.
In a release signed by the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, the meeting between the Ohanaeze and Wike was held on Thursday, March 9, 2023 at the Exco Chambers, Government House, Port-Harcourt.
According to him, the Ohanaeze delegation was led by Dr. Kingsley Chidozie, the Vice President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo (Abia) who nominated Mr Peter Aneke to speak on behalf of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
Ogbonnia said that a one-minute silence was observed in honor of Late Ambassador Professor George Obiozor, and Late Chief Joel Kroham, the former President General and Deputy President General respectively before the commencement of proceedings.
He said that the speaker, Dr Aneke, thanked Gov. Wike over the cordial relationship between him and the Igbo community in Rivers State.
According to him, Aneke highlighted on both the consanguinity and contiguity between the people of the South-East of Nigeria and the Rivers State and wondered “how an Ikwere man will in good conscience, work against the Igbo in a presidential race where the candidacy of Peter Obi was a low hanging fruit.”
He further informed Wike that the Igbo all over the world were aggrieved with him, especially as the alleged rigging operations are circulating on the Internet.
“The Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide also considers it a duty to confront you over the alleged wide-spread electoral malpractices in Rivers State against our son, Peter Obi.
“It is sad that Obi would win in the metropolitan Lagos, Abuja, and several other places in the North only to record so low in Rivers State,” he said.
Aneke added that the delegation was on fact finding; and that both the Igbo elders and youths were eager to know why he should go the extra mile to pull Obi down in Rivers State.
The Apex Igbo cultural group said it was worried that the body of the late Professor Obiozor would have turned in the grave because of the alleged atrocities in Rivers State.
Ohanaeze said: “Obiozor set the Igbo project on a success line before his demise and would be sad in the grave that those he considered his sons turned against the Igbo interest when it mattered most.”
He asked Wike to imagine what could have been the outcome of the election if he, Wike, had supported Obi during the presidential election.
“The Igbo are very sad and will want this explanations,” Aneke said.
In his own remarks Governor Wike expressed surprise that the Ohanaeze were on a fact finding mission; but said he would however explain his roles in the last presidential election.
According to Ogbonna Wike explained that the Southern Governors Forum first met at Asaba, Delta State and agreed that “power must shift to the South after President Muhammadu Buhari; and that they also met at Enugu in September 2021 to reaffirm their position for a power shift to the South.”
Wike stated that throughout their meetings, “the issue of presidency to the South-East was never on the table.
And that throughout his political adventure in this dispensation, he tried as much as possible to maintain the position by the Southern governors.”
Wike expressed disgust that “during the PDP presidential primaries, several well known people of the South-East betrayed and sabotaged the Southern interest by voting for the Northern candidates for the presidency.”
He added that his unalloyed commitment for the South motivated him to “provide logistics for Peter Obi when he was in the Rivers State for presidential campaigns and that he refused to provide even a campaign ground for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the PDP on principles.”
The governor stated that “what is circulating on the social media is the handiwork of the Wike adversaries.”
He explained that “some mischief makers were using some doctored and false audio and visual materials on the internet to dent his image.”
The governor in admitting that all the decisions he took “with respect to the 2023 presidential elections were based on his personal convictions and queried if Ohanaeze Ndigbo ever requested him to support Peter Obi.”
He added that he was a “man with the courage of his convictions and that he neither has reasons to tell lies nor to owe apology to anyone.”
He said that he was always ready to defend his actions any day any time
Wike stressed that he did not rig the presidential election against Peter Obi.”
The statement further named other Ohanaeze officials on the delegation to include Chief Emeka Ogwu, the Vice President General (Delta); Hon Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, PhD; Chief Ezechi Chukwu, PhD; Prof Fred Eze, PhD, President, Enugu State Chapter; Mr. Lucky Ekeji, President, Rivers State Chapter; Comrade Okey Nwankwo, President, Abia State Chapter; Prince Nwandu, President, Delta State Chapter; among others.
Several eminent persons from Rivers State such as Rt. Hon. Chibudom Nwuche were in attendance.