By Biodun Busari
Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has said that it will support the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi as the most competent and credible contestant to become the next Nigerian president come 2023.
The acting youth leader, OYC, Onwuasoanya FCC Jones said this in an exclusive interview with Vanguard on Monday.
The group also revealed that its support for Obi is based on his credibility and competence, and not because he is from the South East.
According to Onwuasoanya, the group wanted the two major parties – the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and its main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to field candidates from South-East but that was not achieved.
He, however, said that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state claims to be Igbo because it is politically convenient for him at this moment, asking whether he has associated himself with Ohanaeze since he became the governor.
Onwuasoanya said, “Well, I will first of all want to say that at the Ohanaeze Ndigbo level of the leadership structure, our focus is to have the two major political parties to have South-East persons as their presidential candidates. And as they failed in achieving that, we are not projecting Peter Obi as an Igbo candidate. Peter Obi is actually the most competent and most honest of all the presidential candidates that have presented themselves across all the political parties.
“Peter Obi candidacy is not actually an Igbo project or Ohanaeze project. It is the project that should drive every well-meaning Nigerian no matter where you’re coming from. If you are passionate about the country, you’ll know that Peter Obi is who we need at this time of our history as a country. What I’m saying is not because Peter Obi is Igbo because no single zone can make President.”
When asked if Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa is Igbo enough to be supported as a running mate to PDP presidential flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar, OYC youth leader said Okowa is Igbo but not from the South-East.
Onwuasoanya said, “The issue of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state, I will not deny him or disown him of being Igbo, no. But, as a journalist, you’re aware of his activities especially within the period he has been the governor of Delta state. We’ll like to know if he has ever associated himself with anything Igbo as a governor as far as Ohanaeze is concerned. We’ll like to know when was the last time he paid his dues to Ohanaeze as an Igbo person.
“He hasn’t even done that. He’s only coming up now to claim to be Igbo because he knows it is politically convenient. He feels it is the right to do now. And of course, as Ohanaeze, we did not campaign for Igbo presidency per se, we campaigned for a South-East person to become the President of Nigeria under any of the two major political parties.”
He further argued that there is difference between big difference between Igbo president and South-East president.
“There is a big difference between Igbo president and South-East president. We are not talking about Igbo presidency, we are talking about South-East. It is very much fair that among the Southern geo-political zones, it has to be in the South-East. Even whether the South-East person is Igala. We have Igala that are from the South-East. Whether the South-East person is even Hausa. We are talking about somebody from the South-East to become the president of Nigeria.
“We are going to queue behind Peter Obi as the most credible candidate not because he is from South-East. It is just coincidental that he’s from the South-East. Our campaign was that the two major parties should adopt candidate from the South-East and when that has failed, we are now looking for the most competent, most credible to be the next Nigerian president and we feel that person is Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party,” Onwuasoanya added.