*Tells why it’s impossible for Igbo to endorse any of leading contenders
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly Worldwide (ONGAW), the socio-cultural and only Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)-recognised organisation with legal instrument to speak for the Igbo people of Nigeria, has broken silence over the much-mouthed 2023 presidential election in the country.
Speaking via a statement, signed by its Director General, Strategic Planning and Implementations, Amb. Tony Chiemelu Obizoba, dated February 7, 2023 and copy of which was sent to The DEFENDER Tuesday night, the ONGAW said it had not endorsed any candidate for the all-important national election, thus asking Igbo people to vote for candidate of their choice.
According to the statement, which was the ethnic nationality group’s reaction to a report in circulation suggesting that it had endorsed the Presidential Candidate of Labour Party (LP), Dr. Peter Obi, as preferred candidate of the Igbo people of Nigeria, the Ndi Igbo umbrella body in the country and worldwide said the report was simply the figment of imagination of purveyors of same as such decision was unknown either its leadership or any of its members across the country.
Vehemently it said, “As the established umbrella body recognised by law to speak for the Igbo ethnic group in the country, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly Worldwide, hereby states that – as far as the authenticity of Igbo voice is concerned – no one among the presidential contestants has been endorsed by it.”
The DG explained why it is impossible for Igbo to endorse any of the leading contenders.
“This is because there is no way the Igbo people can enter into federal election of this nature on the basis of tribal or religious sentiment.
“It has always been our watchword that in Nigeria, a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, the Igbo cannot exist in isolation of others.
“To this end, since we cannot afford to take action that will be injurious to the collective interest of South East person anywhere in the country, we urge all the Igbo people home and abroad to note that our resolve on peace and development based on unity of Nigeria is sacrosanct.
“We have Igbo across all the contending parties and cannot afford to take the partisan path. We cannot, we repeat. And, to us, it has always been Nigeria First! Nigeria First!! Nigeria First!!! That has not changed. We stand, on this election, to be for nobody but for everybody,” Amb. Chiemelu Obizoba said.
In the meantime, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly Worldwide has directed that, “Every Igbo eligible voter should therefore keep his or her Personal Voter’s Card (PVC) intact without allowing anybody to buy it off him or her and then, on February 25, 2023 go ahead and vote for Presidential Candidate of his or her choice.”