Obi not anti-North; not sponsoring IPOB —Aide
By Chioma Gabriel
NORTHERN Youth Leaders Forum, NYLF, has cautioned South-East leaders to stop using youths who are not even northerners to fight their brother. They were reacting to the statement credited to one Comrade Elliot Afiyo on behalf of Northern youths.
The statement called for the Presidential flag-bearer of the PDP to look for another running mate that would be acceptable to them, saying that they would not support the former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi for being anti North.
A statement signed by the President of the group, Comrade Bajudu Joseph Mamman, its Secretary, Comrade Garba Ubala and representatives from other states in the North, denied Elliot Afiyo being their member and said that his name was, first and foremost, not an Hausa name.
The statement from the group read: “Our attention has been drawn to a protest visit to His Excellency, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR at Abeokuta by a youth group impersonating the Northern Youth Leaders Forum, against the nomination of Obi, CON, as the Vice Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. Ordinarily, we would wave off this impersonation as part of political intrigues we are aware of, but to mislead the nation by misleading a former president is unacceptable to us, therefore we cannot keep quiet while our organisation is all over the media for the wrong reasons caused by people unknown to us.”
The group recalled how, on the 13th of October, 2018, some people who turned out to be Igbo leaders invited them to Fajumali Hotel and Resort at No. 7 Mayere Road, Barnawa, Kaduna and offered them N10 million to publish that northern youths rejected Mr. Peter Obi as the vice presidential candidate. They said it was their refusal, which was widely published on social media that led to the declaration of using a fake name.
Obi not anti-North; not sponsoring IPOB —Aide
Meantime, the allegation by NYLF that Mr. Peter Obi is anti-North and a major sponsor of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has however, been described as diversionary and “an attempt to give the dog a bad name in order to hang it.”
Dismissing the allegation in a statement issued yesterday, Obi’s Special Adviser, Mr. Valentine Obienyem, described it as “baseless and unfounded”. “The alleged ‘crimes’ exist only in the imagination of those making the ridiculous allegation. Mr. Peter Obi is a liberal and patriotic Nigerian who has never at any time conducted himself in a manner to suggest that he is either anti any ethnic group or a sponsor of any secessionist group.”
He noted: “Immediately the Presidential flagbearer of the PDP, His Excellency, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, announced the choice of Mr. Peter Obi as his running mate, joy was universal, hailing his preference as one of the best news coming out from our father land. All those that knew Obi very well for what he did in the past, both in his private business and governance of Anambra State and thereafter, wrote eulogies of him. Researchers went to work. After careful and painstaking analyses of his past, they submitted that he is humble, hardworking, knowledgeable about the economy, aware of the myriad of problems of the country, detribalised and possessed of centripetal notion about the unity of the country. Any person truthful to himself would agree that never in the history of Nigeria did naming of running mates elicited comparable reactions.”
Obienyem pointed out that “since leaving office, Obi has been busy visiting schools all over the country, from Cross River to Sokoto. Obi has been busy diagnosing the problems of the country and offering solutions. Obi has been busy preaching the unity of the country and how good governance will solve the problems in Nigeria, caused by cumulative years of leadership failure that make the protest under review suspicious and, in fact, an attempt to give the dog a bad name in other to hang it.”
Obienyem described the unfounded allegation as diversionary, saying: “We do not need such a distraction now. What we need is joining of hands together as we collectively seek solutions to our problems.”
He noted that by advising Atiku to drop Obi and pick a running mate from the South-South, “the NYLF betrayed its real agenda, which is to deny Ndigbo the opportunity to produce Nigeria’s Vice President in 2019.” Obienyem said that the sinister agenda has already failed and urged Nigerians “to continue to give their full support to the Atiku Abubakar/Peter Obi ticket, the only real hope available to Nigerians in the 2019 presidential elections.”
He assured Obi’s fans and supporters that the former Anambra State Governor would continue to live an exemplary life and would never engage in any conduct capable of bringing shame to himself or all those who believe in him and hold him in high esteem.