The apex Igbo socio-political organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo on Thursday declared that the Igbo will only support the political parties and candidates with the interest of Ndigbo in their agenda in the 2019 general elections.
President-General of the body, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, stated this in a chat with newsmen at Ohanaeze secretariat as he was received by members of the Enugu State chapter upon his return from United States of America, where he went to inaugurate the North Carolina chapter.
According to him, “Ohanaeze is a non- political organization and the membership of Ohanaeze cuts across political lines. All Igbo are members of Ohanaeze from their town unions and they all exist in all the political parties, so I cannot be an agent of any political party.
“What is important to Ohanaeze is that before the election, all the political parties must sell their manifestoes to us so that we can advise the Igbo appropriately. The parties have not yet nominated their candidates; so, it is premature for me to begin to ask them what they have.
“When the candidates emerge, I will seek audience with them. First of all, I’ll want whoever becomes the next president of Nigeria to sign an undertaking, if he is not an Igbo man, that he will not stay for more than one tenure and that the next president of Nigeria will come to Igbo thereafter. That is the irreducible minimum for Ndigbo.”
He decried the neglect of Igbo under the current administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari, frowning at the poor state of facilities at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, where he landed yesterday.
The Ohanaeze President-General also expressed anger at the deplorable state of the airport in Enugu, stating that the neglect of the only international airport in the zone is deliberate.
“The runway is despicable. The terminal building has been abandoned. The other one at the domestic wing has been carried by hurricane. To disembark from the international wing took us two hours,” he lamented.
Stating that he lost his temper at the airport, as he condemned the punishment the Igbo were subjected to at the airport by Immigration and Customs officials who he accused of extorting money from them.
Nwodo lamented that the Customs and Immigration officials mete out inhuman and degrading treatments to Ndigbo at the airport, by always insisting on travellers to open their boxes containing personal effects, whereas, nobody does such in other international airports in Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Kaduna.
He stated that the condition of the airport tallies with the obvious marginalization of the South East geo-political zone in the socio-political and economic development of the country, particularly after the civil war that ended in 1970.
The Ohanaeze leader revealed that as soon as all the candidates for the various political parties emerge, Ohanaeze would seek audience with them, look at their manifestos and lend support to the party that best protects the interest of Igbo.
He maintained that the support of Ndigbo will only go to a presidential candidate with manifest programme that would address the multifarious interests and challenges confronting Ndigbo in Nigeria.
Nwodo said his visit to the United States provided the opportunity for him to interact with other Igbo organizations and business men and intimated them of the recent South East economic summit and the work of Prof. Chuwkuma Soludo’s Economic and Political Committee, which Ohanaeze inaugurated recently to articulate the roadmap for the socio-economic and political development of South East region.
Nwodo said that Nigerians in US were enthusiastic to partner with South East governors for the development of the region, especially in the area of digital technology, agriculture and power in order to create employment opportunities for the young ones and revive the moribund industries in the area.