Atiku's endorsement: It's Ohanaeze's poisoned chalice, don't drink from it, Okorie, warns Ndigbo

By Editor on 01/02/2019

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A major caveat has been sent to the Igbo people, to be wary of the current leadership of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, their main socio-cultural organisation and their apex decision-making organ.

They must reject the attempt to lead them by the nose to plunge into a political abyss from where they may not rise in the near future, as currently being crafted by the new leaders of the Igbo body.

Chekwas Okorie, who gave the warning during a world press conference he called to react to the recent endorsement of presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), described the pronouncement a fortnight ago, as a scam.

Okorie, National Chairman of the United Progressives Party (UPP), spoke on the platform of another group, the Igboezue Cultural Organisation, an outfit he has been leading for the past two decades.

In a comprehensive statement, detailing the history of Ohanaeze and its various crises, which had seen the body badly hit as a result of delving into political issues, such as endorsements of candidates, Okorie, who has been a member of the elite body, since the almost four decades it has been in existence, warned of the dangers ahead.

His full statement at the event, on Thursday, read: “We, condemn in strong terms the unconscionable and disgraceful dragging of the revered image of the Pan Igbo, socio-cultural organisation, Ohanze, into the partisan adoption of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, under the cover of a contrived Imeobi meeting of Thursday, 24th January, 2019, at the Nike Lake Resort Hotel, Enugu.

“This compromising political scam was pulled off by a few card-carrying members of the PDP to the deliberate exclusion of other members of the Imeobi, who are obviously in the majority. What those desperate political leaders did was embarrassing to the Igbo nation and has tended to ridicule the republican Igbo nation as politically naïve and pedestrian, in their collective political strategy.
“We are disappointed that some of those who brought this shame to the Igbo nation are very conversant with the chequered history of Ohanaeze, and the damage done to the organisation each time succeeding leaders of Ohanaeze dragged it into partisanship. A few instances will suffice

a) 1979 a few members of Ohanaeze, which included its Chairman publicly endorsed the National Party of Nigeria – NPN presidential candidate, Alhaji Shehu Shagari whose running mate was Dr. Alex Ekwueme. This partisan act provoked Dr. Nnamani Azikiwe, the one and only patron of Ohanaeze, who was also the presidential candidate of the Nigerian Peoples Party – NPP.  Dr. Azikiwe, Chief R.B.K. Okafor, Chief Sam Mbakwe and all leaders who were members of the NPP, pulled out of Ohanaeze.
Most of the foundation members of Ohanaeze, who were not active in the politics of that time namely, Dr. Akanu Ibiam (the first Chairman of Ohanaeze) Justice Daddy Onyeama Rtd, Chief Jerome Udoji, Mr. J.U. Agwu etc discontinued attending Ohanaeze meetings.  Ohanaeze went into a limbo only to be revived in 1983. Ohanaeze disappeared from the radar between 1979 and 1983.
Upon revival, it was agreed and later provided in the Ohanaeze constitution that Ohanaeze shall be a non-partisan pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation.
b)     In 2006, the President General of Ohanaeze, in a brazen act of indiscretion canvassed for the support of President Obasanjo’s Third Term agenda, at the Ohanaeze General Assembly meeting held at Abakaliki, in Ebony State.  All hell was let loose.  The backlash of that failed plot, was the instant factionalisation of Ohanaeze.  It
took the Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu-led Reconciliation Committee to restore peace in the organisation.  The resultant new leadership of Ohanaeze, with Dr. Dozie Ikedife as President General, restored sanity and dignity to Ohanaeze.
c) In 2011 and 2015 General Elections Ohanaeze was again dragged into endorsing and indeed adopting President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party – PDP in those two occasions.
Ndigbo watched with subdued bewilderment this partisan macabre dance of its umbrella socio-cultural organisation. Although there was no noticeable protest, but Ndigbo were never the less put on the spot with no real stake in the government of the day beside our constitutional rights.  We were virtually left at the mercy of the milk of human kindness of President Mohammadu Buhari.
We thought that some lessons have been learned by the current leaders of Ohanaeze.  The conspiratorial adoption of “Alhaji Atiku Abubarkar of the PDP is another attempt to misrepresent Ndigbo and compromise the entire Igbo nation, whose population is widely dispersed and domiciled in all parts of Nigeria – Ndigbo are known to be republican in nature.
“No group can lead Ndigbo successfully without imbibing the principle of consultation. Without building on some sort of consensus no decision can be imposed on Ndigbo. This is the reason why those who drag Ohanaeze into partisanship have serially failed and Ndigbo have been the worse for it.
“What manner of desperation would persuade those who gathered at the Nike Lake Resort Hotel, Enugu to desecrate the memory of the great Zik of Africa; by choosing to sideline the historic and epoch making event of the commissioning of the Zik Mausoleum in favour of the adoption of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar? This is a case of history repeating itself. The 1979 provocation has unwittingly been rehashed
“The Atiku campaign propaganda anchored on restructuring, is the only reason the conspirators in the Ohanaeze leadership have advanced for selling out, is laughable. It is an undeniable fact that the PDP manifesto has no provision for the restructuring of Nigeria. There is also no evidence of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which Ohanaeze reached with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

“The obvious implication of the damage done to Ohanaeze by the inglorious few that gathered to pull off this political scam is that the present leadership of Ohanaeze, has unwittingly lost the legitimacy to convene any credible meeting of the umbrella body. The present Ohanaeze has effectively become a wing of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. There is no person who is not a member of the PDP that will be disposed to attend future meeting of Ohanaeze. This is indeed tragic.

“We urge Ndigbo to be patient and endure this betrayal.  We shall not recommend another round of the factionalisation of Ohanaeze. We recommend extra diligence in electing the next leaders of Ohanaeze.

“The fact that there are 33 Igbo sons and daughters contesting for President and Vice President in the 2019 presidential election makes the purported Imeobi political misadventure a monumental tragedy. 
“We urge the Igbo electorate who amount to about 30 million voters across the country to join hands with other Nigerians to have a major stake in the imminent victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the forthcoming Presidential Election.  It is politically expedient for the Igbo electorate all over Nigeria to vote massively for President Muhammadu Buhari on February 16, 2019. 

“We must not be the odd group out of the imminent victory celebration. As a critical stakeholder, we must earn our claim to be supported to produce the President of Nigeria in 2023. Ndigbo are not cut out for the opposition.  We are in a position to know. The very political leaders in PDP who are misleading our people into putting all their eggs in the PDP basket, will be the first to jump ship and abandon them and relocate to the ruling party. We are used to their kind and we know them.”




Posted on February, 1 2019

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