A founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State and a Biafran war veteran, Chief Joe Ifediobi, yesterday, blasted those condemning former president Olusegun Obasanjo for advising Ndigbo to position themselves for presidency in 2019.
He said Obasanjo was the best friend of Igbo who meant well for the people of the South-East and South-South geopolitical zones, stressing that the elder statesman should be commended for the bold step of coming out to encourage Igbo to gear up for the next president in 2019.
Ifediobi was reacting to comments by some Igbo leaders condemning Obasanjo’s disposition about Ndigbo in 2019, where they said he (Obasanjo) was not sincere to Igbo presidency, but was indirectly mocking Ndigbo. He said the former president saw far and could not be disregarded in Nigeria politics.
He stated that it was Obasanjo, when he became the president of the country in 1999, that recognised Igbo and appointed them in enviable positions since after the civil war when Igbo was relegated to the background through the appointment of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwuala as finance minister.
The PDP chieftain said it was Obasanjo who discovered Igbo’s targets and what Ndigbo could offer in the governance of the country and tapped from those targets by appointing them in various positions of authority before the successive leaders like late Musa Yar’dua and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan emulated him.
He condemned those attacking Obasanjo for calling on Ndigbo to position themselves for the 2019 presidency, saying that he (Obasanjo) should be commended for being a friend of Ndigbo and the leaders of Ndigbo should work towards actualising the dream of becoming the president in 2019.
“What I expected from leaders of Ndigbo is to go back and have serious thought about the disposition of Obasanjo and begins to strategise to make it a reality than to be firing him from left and right. Obasanjo is the friend of Ndigbo but some people don’t know it, he was the first leader after the civil war to appoint Ndigbo in enviable positions and awarded major road contracts in the South East.
“Ndigbo should know that it is time for them to correct the mistakes of the past by coming together to thinker on how to be the president of the country in 2019. Obasanjo based his call for Igbo presidency on the conflicts, agitations and marginalisation of Ndigbo in the past which he said will balance the equation if an Igbo man becomes the next president. So, we should work towards achieving that, than to be attacking Obasanjo,” Ifediobi said.