The 2023 general elections, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has disclosed that it would commence screening for a consensus aspirant to be supported for the Presidency from the South East next week .
National Publicity Secretary of the body, Chief Alex Ogbonnia who disclosed this a chat with Saturday Sun, said the apex Igbo socio-cultural body had delayed action on the issue because people were still purchasing the expression of interest and nomination forms of their various parties.
Ogbonnia said Ohanaeze would not allow its sons and daughters take suicidal actions in the primaries of the political parties by fielding several aspirants.
Four of the presidential aspirants from the zone on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), namely: Anyim Pius Anyim, Peter Obi, Sam Ohuabunwa, Dr. Nwachukwu Anakwenze, had in a surprise move in Abuja on April 9, agreed to fight as a bloc for the party’s ticket.
After their meeting, the quartet agreed to fight as a team and throw their weight behind any of them that is eventually best favoured.
Giving indications on the plans and efforts of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in actualizing a President of Igbo origin next year, Ogbonnia said: “By next week we will begin to look into the issue of consensus. Having a consensus will not be a problem because the people we are going to screen are all Igbo sons and daughters, so we already know them. We have their track records.
“We won’t allow a cocoon of three or four Igbo contesting against one person from the north in a political party because that will be suicidal.”
Ohanaeze, he said, was waiting for the aspirants to conclude buying forms so that they would be able to know who the actual aspirants are and the political parties they intend to pursue their ambition.
“We have not zeroed in on consensus because people are still buying forms. Just the other day we learnt that Chris Ngige and Ken Nnamani have joined the race in the APC and we are happy with that.
“Recall that Ohanaeze had urged more political chieftains from the South East to throw their hats into the ring for the Presidency of Nigeria because it is our turn. So, we are going to prune down the number and settle for certain qualities we are looking for,” the Ohanaeze spokesman said.
Speakers at the civic reception organized by the Imo State Government for the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, George Obiozor, urged him (Obiozor) to, as a matter of urgency, convene a meeting of the Ime Obi Ohanaeze, so that they would give him the mandate to pronounce the position of Ndigbo on the 2023 Presidency.
The host, Governor Hope Uzodimma stated that beyond the merriments, the occasion provided opportunity for the Igbo to talk about their position in Nigeria, do a quick review and commence the process of self-rediscovery.
He noted: “What cannot be taken away is that for too long Igbo have cried out profusely over their plight. This plight is comparable to the plight of the South-West over the annulment of the June 12 elections.
“Following that annulment, the South-West felt short-changed. They cried out for justice. While some groups did so responsibly, others resorted to violence. The instructive thing here is that at a point, the patriotic zeal in the political class in Nigeria was touched and they rose in unison to acknowledge that the Yoruba had cried enough and that it was time to wipe their tears.
“It is now obvious from every indication that Ndigbo have also cried enough about their marginalization. It should also be clear to the political class that the time has come to wipe these historical tears of Ndigbo. What is more, most of the patriots who engineered the plan that made the South-West produce the presidential candidates for the two major political parties in 1999 are still alive and active in politics.
“That same undying love for the country that inspired them to do what they did for the South-West in 1999, should inspire them to do the same for the South-East in 2023.”
Noting that Ndigbo had paid enough price in Nigeria, elder statesman, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu said the outcome of the 2023 elections as it relates to the Igbo, would determine the future of Nigeria.
In the same manner, immediate past President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo told Obiozor that “We have those who can fight this war; you’re at a moment in history, exercise your mandate.”
On the Nigerian question, Obiozor said that the diversity of the country has been grossly mismanaged, noting that the upcoming presidential election provides an excellent opportunity to redress any sense of exclusion or marginalization felt by people of South East zone over the years.
“It is for this reason that I call on all political parties in the country, to zone the Presidency to the South East,” he counselled.
Meanwhile, regarding Ohanaeze reaching out to people from other zones, Ogbonnia said: “We have done that but that is not enough, we will continue the lobbying next week, reaching out to other regions. They have the moral burden of supporting of demand.”
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