2019 presidency: Ohanaeze denies endorsing Atiku, says ‘our children’ in APC, PDP, others

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The Igbo apex socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo on Thursday denied endorsing the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar for the forthcoming February election, explaining that the endorsement was carried out by friends of Atiku and that of his running mate, Peter Obi.

The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the organisation, Chuks Ibegbu, made the remark in Enugu at a press conference he jointly addressed with Chief Emeka Attamah, SA on media to the President-General, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, to mark the second anniversary of the current executive of Ohanaeze.

Newsworth recalls that some South-East leaders had during a November 2018 meeting in Enugu, attended by several groups and prominent personalities in the zone, endorsed Atiku.

However, Ibegbu pointed out that the endorsement was done by the friends of the former Vice President and not Ohanaeze, stressing that the organisation needed to be circumspect, “as our children are in all the political parties” hence Ohanaeze has not endorsed any particular candidate.

According to him, “It is erroneous to say that we endorsed Atiku. Ohaneze 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 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.

“Ohaneze Ndigbo has been canvassing for 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,” he added.

On the achievements of Ohanaeze under the current leadership, Ibegbu said, “within these two years, we have given our modest contribution to the re-jigging of Igbo leadership and leveraging of 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;

“The diplomatic and deft handling of such explosive issues as the Quit Notice to Ndigbo by Northern Youths, the Pro-Biafra agitation, the Fulani Herdsmen/Farmers crisis in Igbo land, the Python Dance issue and many other threatening issues that would have snowballed to a national disaster.”

He added that “this leadership was able to build 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 a formidable Youth and Women Wings for the organization.

“We want to thank the media for your support and assure Ndigbo that we shall in the rest of our remaining two years, we shall do our best to give Ndigbo a committed leadership.

“The President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief Barr. John Nnia Nwodo, thank 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 election 2019.”

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