Igbo leaders, consisting of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, elders, traditional and religious leaders as well as women groups, have endorsed the joint presidential ticket of Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi for the 2019 polls.
In a five-point communiqué issued at the end of a summit with the theme, “Ndigbo 2019 and Beyond”, yesterday in Enugu, they said their decision was informed by the restructuring agenda of the Atiku/Obi ticket, already backed by four zones.
Read by legal luminary, Olisa Agbakoba, (SAN), the document noted: “The Igbo people of Nigeria held a one-day non-partisan and inclusive summit convened by elders, traditional and religious leaders on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 to consider Ndigbo’s place in the polity, especially in light of the forthcoming 2019 elections.
“The summit deliberated on the state of Ndigbo in Nigeria today especially after years of exclusion from the centre. This country has never been this divided. We, Igbo, have always yearned for justice, equity and fairness.
“The summit recognised the nomination of Mr. Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State, as the vice presidential candidate of the PDP and fully endorses this nomination. It was acknowledged that this nomination puts Ndigbo back in the centre of governance. It is therefore important that Ndigbo should rally behind the Atiku/Obi ticket.”
In the same vein, foremost constitutional lawyer, Prof Ben Nwabueze, has pleaded with Igbo to deliver the duo next year.
Explaining that “this is my last wish before joining my ancestors,” the elder statesman stated that the success of Atiku/Obi would guarantee the survival of the ethnic group in the country.
However, the PDP presidential candidate has promised not to renege on his promise to restructure the country.
He also expressed embarrassment over the lopsided nature of the nation’s security apparatus, pledging a redress.
Also yesterday, eminent leaders from the ethnic nationality gathered at the Nike Lake Hotel in the Coal City to discuss restructuring.
Held under the auspices of “Mkpoko Igbo”, the gathering was chaired by Nwabueze, which also had Chief Ben Obi; Prof. ABC Nwosu; Dr. Joe Nworgu; Chief Onyeama Ugochukwu; Chief Gary Igariwey; Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and Chief Achike Udenwa in attendance.
Also at the event were Ambassador George Obiozor; Dr. (Mrs.) Uche Azikiwe; Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika (rtd); Prof. Osita Ogbu; Chief Olisa Agbakoba; Sen. Chris Anyanwu; Dr. Okwesilieze Nwoko; Chief Lawrence Nwuruku; Archbishop Maxwell Anikwenwa and Prof Anya O. Anya.
However, the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide has said President Muhammadu Buhari could still win the South East if he addresses the pressing issues affecting the zone. It named them as job creation, minimum wage and revamping of Enugu coal mine.
In a statement by its national president, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, after a consultative meeting in Abakiliki, the group maintained that the region had not decided on who to vote in 2019, adding that both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and PDP have equal chances of winning the zone.
According to them, they would not allow the “outdated leaders from the zone to mortgage the political future of Ndigbo as they did in 2015.”