- List conditions for supporting any party candidate
Wole Balogun and Priscilla Ediare, Ado Ekiti
The Igbo community in Ekiti State, represented by the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Ekiti chapter, have endorsed the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prof. Olusola Kolapo Eleka, for the July 14 governorship poll.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo declared their intention to campaign on behalf of Eleka, who is deputy governor of the state, graced the occasion of the inauguration of newly elected state executives of the group, now led by Sir Alex Ndubuisi.
Speaking on behalf of the Igbo people in all 16 local government areas of the state, the youth leader, Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Ekiti State, Noble Sunday Obi said:
“The Igbo youths constitute 80 per cent of all Ohanaeze Ndigbo in the state. Governor Fayose has been our man. We supported him during his first tenure and we he came again for the second tenure. We had also supported when he contested for ex-Governor Kayode Fayemi. I advise Ekiti people to learn from other states such as Edo, Lagos, and Anambra, who have supported continuity and have been having tremendous progress. I am, therefore, in support of Professor Eleka because Governor Fayose has developed Ekiti State so much. We urge the government to give the Ndigbo community more slots in government circles, as right now we are next in population to the indigenes in the state. No candidate of any party in Ekiti can win an election without a full support of the Igbo community.”
The immediate past president general of the body, who remains the incumbent President-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Southwest, Prince Nathaniel Uzomah, also described Fayose as a performing governor but said the community would only support party candidates that agrees to their terms.
“We commend Governors Ayo Fayose for his effort in the urban renewal in Ekiti State. It would enhance commercial activities in Ekiti,” he noted.
“If we discuss with any candidate of any party on our terms and he agrees, we will support him fully. The Igbo decides who wins what election in the state. Whoever we support will be the next governor.”
Prof. Eleka, the PDP standard bearer, described the occasion as eventful praising the outgoing president of the group for a peaceful transition. He charged the Ndigbo to continue to be united and promised to give their hall in Ikere-Ekiti, his home town, a face-lift before the expiration of his tenure.
Speaking further, he promised more support for the Igbo community in Ekiti if elected into the office of the governor.
Eleka, who described the Ohanaeze Ndigbo in the 16 local governments areas of the state as a forest of enterprising individuals, noted that the Igbo have been very supportive of Fayose administration.
“I can see that you are very supportive to us in all the local government areas of this state. Everywhere we go, you are always with us, and particularly Governor Fayose, my boss. This gladdens us and let me tell Ohanaeze Ndigbo have contributed immensely to business development of this state. The evidence are everywhere,” the candidate said.
“By the time I become the governor, by the grace of God, you will continue to enjoy our support. I am ready to improve on the relationship my boss has built with you and even take it to a higher level.”
High Chief Uzomah, tracing the history of the group to 1997 when it was formed by Sir Hycenth Onyebuchukwu, who initiated the idea of the formation of the organization in Ekiti State, precisely six months after the creation of the state in 1996, said the need to have an Ekiti chapter as an offspring of the Akure chapter, necessitated the establishment of Ekiti Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
He prayed for his successor, Sir Alex Ndubuisi, and all the new executives, advising them to put God first in everything they do and embrace prudence as well as make unity and peace their watch word.
He charged Ndubuisi to adopt policies and programmes that will be of benefit to the Igbo people currently residing in all the 16 local government areas of the state, urging him to sustain any of his policies he considers good and discard those he is dissatisfied with. The outgoing leader recalled his achievement, saying: “you must build on what we have put in place and adopt more democratic principles.”
Uzomah, however, lamented greatly some of the challenges his administration faced, one of which included its inability to have an Igbo market in the state.
Ndubuisi, the newly elected President General, thanked the audience and urged his co-contestants to join in the building of the organization, pledging that his administration, with concerted efforts. will deliver well.
Ndubuisi also urged the government and state authorities to give more room for his people in state politics, saying that Igbos constitute the second largest population group in state, after the indigenous Yoruba.
The outgoing leader and all the inductees urged their community to come out en masse and vote in the upcoming July 14 governorship election.