The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said on Monday it never at any time endorsed the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, for the forthcoming February election.
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the organisation, Chuks Ibegbu, disclosed this in Enugu, during a press briefing, he jointly addressed with Chief Emeka Attamah, the Special Assistant on Media to the President-General, Chief John Nwodo, to mark the second anniversary of the group’s executive body.
The endorsement, according to him, was by friends of Atiku and those of his running mate, Mr Peter Obi.
Recall that some South-East leaders had during a meeting in Enugu, last year, attended by groups and prominent personalities in the zone, endorsed Atiku.
Ibegbu said, “It is erroneous to say we endorsed Atiku; Ohanaeze Ndigbo did not endorse anybody. That meeting at Nike Lake Resort was organised by friends of Atiku.
“Before Ohanaeze will take a stand, it has to convene Imeobi, the highest decision-making organ. At the Nike Lake event, you did not see governors, senators, among others there, and these people are all members of Imeobi. But, even if they were there, the meeting was not an Ohanaeze event.
“However, due to our peculiar circumstance in the country, we will identify with candidates that will restructure Nigeria if voted into power,” he said.
He added, “Ohanaeze Ndigbo has been canvassing our people to identify with candidates that will restructure Nigeria.
“We still stand on that and in the next few days, we shall meet to take a holistic position on the elections.”
On the achievements of the group in office, the Ohanaeze chieftain said, “Within these two years, we have given our modest contribution to the re-jigging of the Igbo leadership and leveraging Igbo issues in Nigeria.
“Some of our modest achievements serially include the restoration of the dignity of the Igbo race in Nigeria and across the globe; the building of bridges with other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria; the initiation and pursuit of the restructuring of Nigeria, a position that has now become a national mantra; the promotion of Igbo language, culture and heritage; the establishment and promotion of Ohanaeze Ndigbo activities at local, state, national and diaspora levels.”
He added, “This leadership was able to build a synergy with its affiliate groups like IDA, IWA, WIC, Aka Ikenga, Izu-Umunna, Njiko Umunna, Igbo Media Forum and other Igbo organisations to leverage Igbo unity and development.
“This leadership encouraged unity and synergy among Igbo governors and political actors for the overall interest of Ndigbo.
“This regime has put in place formidable youth and women wings for the organisation.”
He thanked the media for their support and assured Ndigbo that in the remaining two years, the leadership would do its best to give Ndigbo a committed leadership.
“The President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief John Nwodo, thanked “the media, our fraternal brothers, associations and organisations, our affiliate bodies, youths, women, students, governors, political leaders and all Nigerians and wish all a happy New Year and hitch-free elections in 2019.”