Why Ohaneze endorsed Atiku/Obi ticket
The Ohaneze Ndigbo has come out stating categorically its reasons for endorsing the candidacy of People’s Democratic Party presidential aspirant, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and his deputy, Peter Obi.
In a statement issued by Chief Emeka Attamah, the Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, the Igbo socio-cultural group emphatically chronicled why it became imperative to stand with Atiku/Obi. It recalled that its decision was for the generality of the Igbo, recalling that similar regional groups such as the apex Yoruba group, Afenifere, Northern Elders Forum, Pan-Niger Delta Forum and Middle Belt Forum have all done so.
“The decision of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation has been receiving a deluge of backing of affiliate organisations of Ndigbo both in the country and in the Diaspora. The latest are the Igbo World Assembly (IWA), the Anambra Worldwide Association (ASA-WORLD) both led by Dr Nwachukwu Anakwenze, the Ohaneze UK and the Expanded National Executive (NEC) of the Association of South East Town Unions (ASETU) among others.
“In its press statement on the f January21, 2019, the Igbo Worldwide Assembly, an umbrella of Igbo organisations worldwide in over 35 countries and the representative of Ohaneze Ndigbo in the Diaspora, expressed their delight over what it called the political dynamics prevailing in Nigeria at this time and endorsed the candidacy of the presidential candidate and the vice presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar/Peter Obi because, according to them, of their commitment to the following:. Respect for the country’s Constitution and Rule of Law, respect for human rights and civil rights, need for a country that will provide full security for all Nigerians, respect for the Federal Character Commission rule and implementation of restructuring, regionalisation, and devolution of powers.
Others are merit-based appointment to government positions, a government with firm knowledge and competent management of Nigeria’s economy, among others.
“On its part, the Anambra Worldwide Association (ASA-WORLD), an organization of Ndi Anambra in the Diaspora recognised Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide as the only authentic umbrella organisation and the only recognised mouthpiece of Ndigbo in the seven Igbo-speaking states at home and abroad.
“ASA-WORLD in its release on the January 27, 2019, stated that any Igbo-speaking governor may hold a personal perspective and that is his or her own prerogative but the general consensus of Ohaneze Ndigbo remains the only authentic mouthpiece and position of Ndigbo.
“The organisation frowned at the recent insult by a governor to the leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo, adding that ‘when you insult Ohaneze leader, in this case, Chief Nnia Nwodo, you in fact, insult Ndigbo.’
“ASA-WORLD said that it totally supports Nwodo’s decision to endorse the Atiku/Obi ticket for the following reasons: Peter Obi, as governor of Anambra State, created a ‘Diaspora Desk’ that worked in concert with the Diaspora and insisted it added value to governance. Peter Obi introduced ‘Project Inspection’ through which Anambra State indigenes could conduct audits of his stewardship. Peter Obi was the first governor to be ‘conscripted’ into all the presidential committees even when he was in minority opposition party. Peter Obi was the first governor to hand schools back to their original owners and gave them N6 billion to help restore education to its former glory which came to pass. Peter Obi was the first governor to chairman the South East Governors’ Forum for eight straight years even though he was of a minority opposition party. Peter Obi was appointed Special Adviser on Fiscal Matters to Mr President even with his minority party status.
“They believe that with Peter Obi as Vice President and Chairman of the Economic Council, the economy of the country now in comatose will be turned around.
The Ohaneze UK, an apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation in the UK and Ireland on its part noted that though Ohaneze Ndigbo is not a political party, it is a brain child of political marginalisation and therefore has a fundamental political function for Ndigbo.
“Arising from its own meeting on January 19, Ohaneze UK said they decided to endorse the Atiku/Obi ticket in the best interest of the present and future Alaigbo.
“They said that the endorsement was based on their proven pedigree, performance, published manifesto, acceptance of restructuring as a cardinal principle and Peter Obi (our own son) as vice presidential candidate.
“They further said that they were delighted with the endorsement of Atiku/Obi ticket by Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide Imeobi and therefore fully supportive of the decision, adding that they applaud Ohaneze Worldwide President, Chief Nnia Nwodo, for a job well done in this regard, adding that it was a right step in the right direction and gave kudos to Imeobi for standing with the popular yearnings and aspirations of Umuigbo worldwide.
“While commending Ohaneze Ndigbo for being on the right path to achieving emancipation of Ndigbo, they called on Ndigbo to vote massively in the forthcoming elections to develop Alaigbo, and called for free, fair and credible elections in 2019 in Nigeria.
“In its press release, the President of Ohaneze New York, Mazi Innocent Obiegbu, said it reviewed the plight of Ndigbo in Nigeria and came to the conclusion that they lend their unanimous voice of support to the President-General, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, for his leading Ndigbo aright by endorsing the Atiku/Obi ticket because, according to them, he did not make a personal endorsement but an endorsement that shows where the Igbo masses stand.
“They urged Chief Nwodo never to be browbeaten by any element or group of persons, no matter how highly placed, and condemned, what it called, the virulent, vituperation from the person of Governor Obiano of Anambra State.
“Ohaneze New York expressed disgust at the widely-circulated toxic name callings which they said was degrading to have come out of this quarter of supposedly high position of governance.
“They added that the endorsement in which ‘a respected and illustrious Igbo son with impeccable record is directly involved’ should have attracted accolades and support from Ndigbo, instead of acts that suggest selfishness, greed and inordinate quest for power from some people.
“Similarly, Ohaneze Ndigbo of North Carolina led by its President, Nwachukwu .C. Okafor, in its release, traced the attitude of President Muhammadu Buhari from when he said that because the South East gave him five percent votes, they should expect five percent patronage and which he dutifully implemented to the latter.
“They said that this action is a wilful violation of the Constitution he swore to uphold and all entreaties by the Nwodo-led Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide for a redress fell on deaf ears.
“Ohaneze Ndigbo, North Carolina said that after a careful and painstaking analysis of the state of the nation, and the socio-economic and political events in the country, and the need to ensure that Nigeria ceases to be a pariah state, but rather a respected member of comity of nations, hereby fully support the endorsement given by Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide to the candidature of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and ex-Governor Peter Obi.
“In addition, they called on all Ndigbo in the Diaspora to convince their dependants in Nigeria to come out en masse on February 16, to vote for the Atiku/Obi ticket, which they said ‘would give us a ray of hope based on solid promises made by Alhaji Atiku that Nigeria will be made to work again for all.’
“In its release, the Association of South East Town Unions (ASETU) endorsed the acceptance of Atiku whom they described as a detribalised man committed to the unity of the country.
“ASETU said that their position was predicated on their conviction by the consistent promise of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to restructure the country for the good of all Nigerians.
“They stated that they were further motivated by ‘the meritorious choice of an illustrious and credible Igbo son, Peter Obi, as the vice presidential candidate’ a position, they said, has been denied the Igbo nation for over 40 years.
“ASETU said that as the custodians of the grassroots, ‘the town unions shall rise up in defense of the wishes of majority of our people and stoutly resist any attempt by a few discredited individuals and political merchants who are attempting to trade-off the South East for their personal pecuniary reasons.’
“They urged Ndigbo to take their destiny into their hands by trooping out, wherever they reside, to vote the Atiku/Obi team.
“In its own release, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Enugu State council, signed by the chairman of the Political Committee of NLC, Comrade Ikechukwu Okere and its Secretary, Comrade Pat Emembolu Eze, said that it was embarrassing and disgusting to learn and hear what they called the utterly vacillating statements made against the leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo and Ohaneze in general.
“The release said that Ndigbo, especially, the younger ones, should learn how to respect their elders which is in tune with the tradition, culture, norms and values of an average Igboman.
“They pledged their loyalty and unalloyed support for the leadership/Ohaneze Ndigbo in endorsing Atiku/Obi ticket.
“Meanwhile, the presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has said that the sea of endorsements from within and outside the country for his candidacy especially the most recent by ‘the leading lights of our nationalities – Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Northern Elders Forum, Pan-Niger Delta Forum and Middle Belt Forum, is a loud statement that there is hope for our country as we go to the polls in a few days.
“Alhaji Atiku said that by these endorsements, Nigerians have chosen to put aside all their prejudices to elect a president with religion and ethnicity playing no role in elections.
“Vice President Atiku promised to ‘run a properly federated Nigeria through constitutional reforms to bring out the best from all sections of Nigeria to make Nigeria work again like in the past when the Saudi Royal family came to Nigeria to access medicare.’
“He pledged to ‘promote an inclusive Nigeria based on productivity that every section of Nigeria will bring out the best under their soil, and in their brain to make Nigeria assume it’s position in Africa and the global community.’ adding that ‘it would be 100 percent for every section of Nigeria as he would ‘not understand any arithmetic outside that.’
“Alhaji Atiku enjoined ‘people across Nigeria to come out en masse to vote on February 16 to pull our country from the brink and propel it to greater heights so that we can live a better life,’ adding ‘Take my word as a covenant with Nigeria.’”