From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Ohanaeze Ndigbo has insisted it is backing the Peter Obi presidency as a way of ensuring equity, fairness and justice to the people of the South East.
This is even as the apex Igbo socio-cultural group decried the renewed killings in several parts of the South East, saying it was a grand design by enemies to stoke insecurity in order to undermine the aspiration of the candidate of Labour Party (LP).
Disclosing these in Umuahia, yesterday, during the inauguration of new executive of the Abia State chapter of Ohanaeze, Secretary General of the group, Okey Emuchay, said Obi remains the choice of Ohanaeze.
He said Ohanaeze was convinced the killings that took place at Eha-Amufu in Enugu State last week and the rising insecurity in Imo and Anambra States were deliberately targeted to undermine the zone.
“The campaigns have started and we’re facing existential challenges because of who we are: the Igbo. The killings have started in Enugu and other parts of South East.
“They want to de-market the South East, that’s why insecurity has increased just because the presidential aspiration of an Igbo man has taken a life of its own,” he said.
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo scribe said in the search for equity, justice and fairness for the Igbo, the apex organisation had robustly engaged with other parts of the country to support an Igbo to emerge as the next president.
To this end, he said the political action committee set up by Ohanaeze traversed the country and engaged with political parties, traditional rulers and all other stakeholders “but at the end of the day the two major political parties overlooked Ndigbo” in the choice of their presidential candidates.
Emuchay said the rest of Nigeria should not be treating Igbo as if they do not belong when it comes to occupying the highest office in the land and other sensitive positions.
He pointed out that the South West zone were assuaged with the presidency in 1999 following the injustice done them when the presidential election was annulled in 1993 and the winner, M.K.O Abiola, later died in unexplained circumstances.
“Nigeria took a decision in 1999 and presented Olu Falae and Olusegun Obasanjo as presidential candidates and Obasanjo was chosen.”
According to him, such deliberate political arrangements could have been applied to the South East in the run up to the 2023 poll if there was sincerity for Igbo inclusiveness in the Nigeria project.
“The war has since ended and for equity, justice and fairness, Nigeria should support somebody from the South East to become persistent,” he said, adding that “Ohanaeze Ndigbo is not talking of Igbo presidency but a president of Nigeria from the South East.”
Earlier, the new state President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Abia State chapter, Okey Nwankwo, said: “Igbo have all it takes to lead the nation.”
He called on Igbo sons and daughters to contribute their quota in the quest to achieve a total development of the Igbo nation in terms of human and physical development.
Chairman on the occasion, Azubuko Udah, urged that the group should be reorganised to make it more attractive to Igbo sons and daughters.
He called on sons and daughters of Ndigbo to, as a matter of right, be members of Ohanaeze.
“Every Igbo man and woman should be members of Ohanaeze by birth; it should be a right for all Igbo to be members,” he said.