Chieftains of Ohaneze Ndigbo are split over the endorsement of Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the upcoming 2019 election.
The organisation’s highest decision-making body, ‘Ime Obi’, had on Thursday declared support for Atiku after a meeting in Enugu.
The group argued that the PDP candidate was running with an Igbo man, Peter Obi.
The endorsement is in contrast with the stance taken by the Igbo apex social-cultural organization not to endorse any presidential candidate.
However, Obiora Ozobu, a former secretary general of the organization, described the move as a personal invention of Nnia Nwodo, President General of the organization.
Ozobu described the development as a mischievous act aimed at causing division among Ndigbo.
He said that Nwodo lacked the capacity to summon a meeting of ‘Ime Obi’, saying his tenure as President General had elapsed.
He queried why such meeting was held when President Muhammadu Buhari was in Anambra and Enugu States for his presidential campaign and the inauguration of Zik’s mausoleum.
“The meeting is an attempt to perpetuate Nwodo in office. Granted that there were attempts to extend the tenure of Ohaneze executives to four but such has not materialized,” he said.
Also reacting to the matter, Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour, described the move as “unfortunate”, adding that endorsement of presidential candidates had never done anything good for Ndigbo.
Similarly, Sullivan Chime, a former governor of Enugu State, noted that the said endorsement was done by the group’s officers who had left office.
“It was not a meeting of Ohaneze Ndigbo but a meeting between Nwodo and his friends. Ohaneze has no business doing what that group did,” Chime said.
Geoffery Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, also said it was not appropriate to hold such a meeting at a time Buhari was in the South-East for his campaign.
He described the meeting as a calculated effort to leave out a significant number of people from such a gathering.
“A significant number of the membership was not present at the meeting assuming it was a meeting of Ohaneze. So it is inappropriate to have a meeting of such magnitude,” Onyeama said.