By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA – A political pressure group from the South East, the Eastern Peoples Front, EPF, has commenced mobilisation against elected political leaders from the South East over alleged attempts to derail Igbo interest following their passive support for the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar.
The group threatened to move against their re- election unless they show more commitment for the election of Atiku who according to them has a programme that mirrors the aspirations of Ndigbo.
In a press statement in Abuja Friday, signed by Elder Ken Emechebe, national coordinator and leader of the group said Ndigbo has a voting population of 26.7 million spread across all the states in the country, stressing that their voting power has the capacity to unseat the current administration or any elected political office holder moving against the wishes of the people.
He said, “We have since the 2019 electioneering process started, studied, consulted and placed side-by-side the governance programs of President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC, with that of his closest competitor and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and concluded to vote for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who in our estimation, has made proposals that suit the ideals of Ndigbo.
“Our decision to support Atiku, and urge all our people to massively cast their votes for him and PDP at the February 16 Presidential Election is based on his stance on the restructuring of the country; enthronement of true federalism; and creation of an enabling environment for all Nigerians to thrive.
“Our choice of Atiku and the PDP is also based on our estimation that the chances of a Nigerian President from Ndigbo in 2023 is most feasible therein than it could be with Buhari and APC.”
The group cautioned some Southeast governors who have been sitting on the fence to refrain from working against the collective will of Ndigbo.
“The divisive and destructive politics of some ethnic leaders masquerading as statesmen and national leaders as well as that of two of our South East governors (Dave Umahi and Willy Obiano of Ebonyi and Anambra States) who have taken to boycott the collective will of Ndigbo in 2019. These governors know that their campaigns do not sit with us and we do not agree with them.
“We also disagree with the tacit position of our brother and Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremmadu, who seem to have been cowed and is prevaricating in supporting Atiku-Obi ticket, apparently due to the unproven corruption allegations brought against him by the government of Buhari and APC. We urge Ekweremmadu, to do more than merely speaking of his support for the joint ticket of Atiku and Obi in the 2019 Presidential Election.”
The group noted that their decision was not based on any ethnic considerations as the Afenifere is also behind the election of Atiku. They boasted that the Igbo nation has a voting population which could decide the swing of the Presidential election pendulum.
“Ndigbo has a confirmed registered voting strength of 26.7 million people across the country which makes us a significant bloc to consider in 2019 and beyond. The conversation that Ndigbo have the least voting strength in Nigeria ahead of the 2019 polls is absolutely false and a part of the sad stories told about us.
“We have people who live in different parts of this country whose votes are now accruable to the places or states they live in, work or do businesses whereas they are Igbo.”
They called for massive support for Atiku who has promised to restructure the country and create an egalitarian society where the Igbo interest will be protected and Igbo Presidency in 2023 more assured.