By Dennis Agbo
ENUGU-NTIONAL Chairman of Igboezue Cultural Advancement Initiative, Chief Chekwas Okorie has lambasted the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo for endorsing the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Okorie who also is that National Chairman of the United Peoples Party, UPP, had in a similar manner, last year, approved the reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Okorie in a press conference in Enugu, Thursday, described Ohanaeze’s endorsement of Abubakar as “unconscionable and disgraceful,” which he noted has dragged the image of the Pan Igbo socio-cultural organization into partisanship.
Okorie said “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 naive 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 organization each time succeeding leaders of Ohanaeze drag it into partisanship.”
He gave few instances of such embarrassing endorsements as the 1979 endorsement of the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, presidential candidate; the 2002 endorsement of Obasanjo’s Third Term agenda and the 2011, 2015 endorsement of Goodwill Jonathan.
Okorie further said: “We thought that some lessons have been learned by the current leaders of Ohanaeze. The conspiratorial adoption of Alhaji Atkins Abubskar 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.
“The Atiku campaign propaganda anchored on restructuring is the only reason the conspirators in the Ohanaeze leadership have advanced for selling out. It is undeniable fact that the PDP manifesto has no provision for the restructuring of Nigeria.
“There is also no evidence of Memorandum of Understanding 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. There is no person who is not a member of the PDP will be disposed to attend future meeting of Ohanaeze. This is indeed tragic. We urge Ndigbo to be patient and endure this betrayal”.
Okorie urged the Igbo electorates whom he said 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 Muhammad Buhari in the forthcoming presidential election.