The Igbo apex socio-cultural organisation in the South-East region, Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly Worldwide, has denied endorsing the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, for the forthcoming general elections.
The group in a statement signed its Director General of Strategic Planning and Implementations, Tony Chiemelu Obizoba, and obtained by Journalist on Wednesday, said that it had chosen to remain neutral in the coming elections.
Hence, it neither endorsed Obi nor any other presidential candidate of other political parties.
Obizoba stated that the statement was sequel to reports that had been making the rounds on the internet that the group endorsed the former Governor of Anambra State as its preferred presidential candidate for the coming elections.
“Our attention has been drawn to a report in circulation suggesting that the Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has endorsed the Presidential Candidate of Labour Party (LP), Dr. Peter Obi, as preferred candidate of the Igbo people of Nigeria.
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.
“This is because there is no way the Igbo people can enter into federal elections 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.
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“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,” the statement read.
The group noted that there are Igbo candidates across all the contending political parties and therefore, it cannot afford to take the partisan path, hence, “We cannot, we repeat.
And, to us, it has always been Nigeria First! Nigeria First!! Nigeria First!!! That has not changed. We stand, in this election, to be for nobody but for everybody.”
Ohanaeze Ndigbo therefore maintained that every Igbo eligible voter should therefore keep his or her Permanent Voter Card (PVC) intact without allowing anybody to buy it off him or her “and then, on February 25, 2023 go ahead and vote for the presidential candidate of his or her choice.”