Igbo leaders in APC lambast Ohanaeze, says Atiku’s endorsement a charade

[FILE] Former vice-President Atiku Abubakar (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Prominent Igbo leaders in the All Progressives Congress (APC) have described the endorsement of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar by the Ohanaeze Ndigbo as a charade.

Atiku was endorsed on Thursday at the meeting of Imeobi Ohanaeze, which held at the Nike Lake Resort, Enugu.

However, the development has drawn the ire of some other Igbo leaders, especially members of the All Progressives Congress, prompting a media briefing late Thursday night.

Present at the briefing were Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Science and Technology, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu; Minister of Labour, Senator Chris Ngige; former Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani; former Governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Chime; the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, Gen. J.O.J Okoloagu (rtd.) and Prince Richard Ozobu among others.

In the same vein, APC, yesterday, faulted Ohanaeze’s support for Abubakar.

APC, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa Onilu, expressed surprise over the decision by a section of Igbo leaders to believe in the promise by Atiku to restructure the country.

The party urged Ndigbo and indeed all Nigerians to be wary of Atiku and his PDP ilk who in their desperate quest for power are ever ready to play fraudulent political games and parade themselves as ethnic champions.

The Igbo leaders said over 90 per cent of the members of Imeobi were not at the meeting, stressing that the power to carry out such endorsement was vested on the Ohanaeze General Assembly and not the Imeobi.

They equally said the meeting was a mischief, having held same time Buhari was still attending functions in Igbo land.

Ngige said that the President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief John Nnia Nwodo had earlier agreed to move the meeting till 7.00p.m, wondering why it was later held by 4.00pm and a decision hurriedly taken.

“Myself and the Chairman of the Southeast Governors’ Forum had approached the Ohanaeze President and pleaded with him to change the date. He said he could not do that; he later gave me 4.00p.m, but I told him it was not going to work. By 5.00p.m, they met and issued an already prepared communiqué.

“All of them that met are Ohanaeze PDP. So, it is now Ohanaeze PDP vs Ohanaeze APC. They have factionalized Ohanaeze.

“I want to say clearly that endorsement has never favoured us; they endorsed Falae, he failed; they endorsed 3rd term, it failed; they endorsed Jonathan, he lost. We are not going to continue on this trajectory. We are going to dig up our arsenal and all we need to fight this,” he vowed.

On his part, the foreign minister, Onyeama said the development would have consequences for years to come.

Science and Technology minister, Onu had lamented that he was rushing to attend the meeting only to be informed that it ended over an hour ago, even before the 7.00p.m schedule.

Also speaking, Chief Ken Nnamani said that Ohanaeze never took into consideration that sons and daughters of Igbo land belong to different political parties.

On a similar note, Chime said: “we cannot attribute what happened to Ohanaeze. Nwodo’s two-year tenure has expired; he has left office. He is on his own. We cannot attribute what happened to Imeobi, he just called his friends.”

The VON-DG, Okechukwu, who moderated the session, re-echoed the views that the endorsement does not stand, as it lacked any form of legality.

In their separate remarks, Okoloagu and Ozobu also said it was null and void as Imeobi was not properly constituted, adding that the final power to carry out such function lies with the Ohanaeze General Assembly.

APC claimed that Atiku’s resolve to downplay his touted restructuring plans during his campaigns speaks volume of how deceitful he is to Nigerians on the issue.

APC applauded the Anambra State Government’s decision to dissociate itself from the endorsement of Atiku by Ohaneze, noting it underlines the fact that such endorsement does not enjoy the support of Ndigbo.

APC maintained that it remains the most sincere political platform working to ensure better inclusion and mainstreaming of all geo-political zones in the governance of the country.

The party noted that it had held constructive, purposeful, country-wide and multi-sectoral conversation on core issues of true federalism and devolution of powers in line with the Party’s Change Agenda.

It noted: “Without playing to the gallery, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration has pursued a deliberate policy of probity, inclusive governance and national spread in the allocation of our national resources and developmental projects across the country.

“Ndigbo and indeed all Nigerians must be wary of the machinations of conmen who now masquerade as ‘messiahs’ in the garb of politicians. Their antecedents do not synchronise with the image they now purport which is dangerous. They are latter-day converts on the issue of restructuring who hitherto occupied public offices and did nothing on the issues of restructuring.

“They have now regrouped to exploit the issue of restructuring in furtherance of their selfish political interests. Their sudden silence on the issue of restructuring is certainly ominous. The Ndigbo should not fall for this fraud. “

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