By Bisi Olominu
Indigbo is one of the tripods that hold the entity called Nigeria. Since time immemorial, this section of the country has been a reference point in the politics of the nation. It has produced the great Owelle of Onitsha, late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, Justice Oputa , Pa Kanu Ibiam and several others who were shaker, of the country in their lifetimes.
The group, no doubt was important when decisions over who occupies the exalted position of president of Nigeria would be taken. Its greatest undoing however is that Igbo community has always shot itself in the legs by throwing its weight behind a candidate and there by putting it eggs in a basket.
During the 2015 general elections, they so much trusted the then President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, they put their whole trust on him, even he was nick named ‘Azikiwe’ after the legendary Great Zik, but at the end of his six-year tenure, nothing much was achieved by the administration in Igbo land.
All the sons and daughters of Indigbo appointed by ex-President Jonathan not only disappointed him, they too disappointed themselves and their geopolitically zone. The zone was not only underdeveloped, most of the bad and notorious roads in the country can be found in Ibo land.
Nigeria is on the march again, another presidential election is slated for February 16. The group seems to have again turned its back on president Buhari and supported Atiku Abubakar of the PDP. Despite not voting for President Buhari in 2015, he still picked some easterners to work with him in government. The zone even have a sitting Governor, Rochas Okorocha of Imo State from All Progressives Congress,APC, among them to consult before adopting a presidential candidate.
The region’s apex Igbo sociocultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo had endorsed the Presidential Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and putting their eggs in one basket.
In a communique issued by the pan Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze’s endorsed the candidacy of Atiku, and his running mate, Mr. Peter Obi, of the PDP ahead of the February 16 presidential election.
The endorsement is now causing ripples as some have criticised Ohaneze’s decision describing its action as unwarranted.
The Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano in his conversation with the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnai Nwodo described the position as idiotic.
Nwodo alleged that Obiano, who had vowed to deliver Anambra’s vote to President Mohammadu Buhari in the coming presidential election,called him an idiot in a phone call. The man who recounted the shocking encounter of the incident, made through a phone call from the governor said he had decided to go public over the matter,” so that Igbo would know who is idiot among both of us.
Also, the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha has urged the people of the South East to disregard the adoption of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar by the Ohanaeze.
He urged the people of the geopolitical zone to vote massively for the candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, President Mohammadu Buhari in the coming election.
Okorocha described the adoption of Atiku and his running mate, Peter Obi by the Igbo group as a non-issue, saying Buhari would defeat PDP like it did in 2015.
His words:” Ohanaeze is a sociocultural organisation and not a registered political party and there is no voting unit or a polling unit called Ohanaeze. The adoption of Atiku/Obi ticket by the Ohanaeze should give nobody any concern. This is because, it is neither here nor there, and it has no electoral value.”
The coalition of Igbo group, Ohanaeze Youth Council Worldwide had also dissociated itself from the endorsement of Atiku. The group at a meeting chaired by the President-General. Nazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, the group resolved that it would soon announced its preferred presidential candidate.
Some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress in the Southeast region have also condemned the endorsement of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar in the February 16 election by the highest decision making body of the Igbo apex sociocultural organisation, Ohanaeze, describing it as an attempt to debase the Igbo nation.
Addressing journalists in Enugu after a closed-door meeting, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige said that Ohanaeze lacked the power to endorse any candidate and time of the meeting by the President-General of Ohanaeze was a clear mischief.
He alleged that the tenure of Chief Nwodo as the President-General of Ohanaeze has expired in December 2018, which made the outcome of the meeting null and void.
If President Mohammadu Buhari win the election and the southeast vote like it use to do in the coming election, Buhari will likely back the zone that give him support in the coming election to claim the 2023 presidential slot.