A socio-political body of Igbo professionals, businesspeople, artisans and others in Lagos on Thursday declared its support and that of the entire Igbo community in Lagos for the choice of former Governor Peter Obi as running mate of the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The support by Igbo Kwenu Lagos was declared at a press briefing by the body whose spokesperson was Dr. Chigbo Okoli.
Igbo Kwenu, according to Okoli is a sub-group of Igbo people under the larger umbrella of the Ohanaeze Nd’Igbo whose president in Lagos, Chief Nnamdi Nwigwe also attended the media event.
The press event also had Ohanaeze Lagos women leaders and the Eze Igbo in Oshodi/Isolo, Lagos Igwe F.N. Nwajagu in attendance, leaders of markets and traders associations and many others in attendance.
Dr. Okoli said the “gathering was to formally congratulate our brother His Excellency Peter Obi on his nomination as the Vice Presidential candidate of the PDP by His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar – the PDP Presidential candidate and former Vice President of Nigeria.
We also congratulate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on his victory during PDP presidential primary election and his wisdom in choosing Peter Obi as VP and further to that believing in the Igbo nation that has not had any place in the presidency of Nigeria in any capacity in over three decades.”
He said that Obi had demonstrated during his eight years as governor of Anambra State that visible development is possible, even with lean resources, by meticulous planning, prudence, and savings/ investment culture; becoming the only Nigerian governor to-date to bequeath a savings in excess of one year federal allocation (over N75b) to his successor and without a record of borrowing or leaving the state he governed in debt. At a time when other outgoing governors hand over huge debt burden with little or no developmental projects to show, Obi’s record was the opposite. This was achieved in spite of unparalleled level of infrastructure and other development strides during his tenure. His record with anti-corruption agencies is enviable.
“Peter Obi has proven time and time again, that he not only believes in thinking outside the box, but in jettisoning the box entirely when need be. Nd’Igbo and all Nigerians that value integrity are very proud of him. This is evident in the jubilation that followed the announcement of his choice as vice presidential candidate of PDP. With scenes only comparable to when Nigeria won football world cup; all the tendencies that divide us – ethnicity, religion, political party, etc disappeared as Nigerians rose in unison to acknowledge his choice as the single most encouraging news of our recent political history.
Also joining in the endorsement, Nwigwe, the Ohanaeze chieftain noted that: “Obi is a blessing to our generation and we cannot be more proud that he is Igbo. We wish to assure him that the selfless services he rendered to our fatherland and still continue to render long after leaving office – especially in the education sector across Africa – and the inspiration we draw from his leadership and life style will not go unrewarded. With this, we assure him that Nd’Igbo in particular and Nigerians in general give him all the support.”
Debunking dissent of some Igbo PDP leaders
However, we like many other followers of events in our polity have heard the unfortunate utterances attributed to some political office holders from our South East zone that they were not consulted before Peter Obi’s nomination. We have also read suggestions that those leaders might have been misquoted in these days of “fake news”.
Having consulted among our Nd’Igbo brothers and sisters, and having witnessed firsthand the jubilation across political party lines, across tribal lines, and across religious lines, that greeted the choice of HE Peter Obi, we are strongly convinced that no political office holder from Igboland would have uttered the suggested statements in good faith or for the Igbo nation.
We therefore want to state categorically that in case it is true that such thought crossed anybody’s mind, whether Igbo or non-Igbo, that Nigeria could not have wished for a better choice at this challenging time.
We also dare say that these individuals with dissenting views about the choice of Peter Obi never spoke with the mandate of the Igbo nation, their states, communities or groups. They merely exercised their personal rights to expression, no matter how bad and sad.
But as a union of Nd’Igbo that commands millions of following especially of the Igbo in Lagos and in foreign lands, we say a vehement no to that dissent. We stand for the choice of Peter Obi, as we stand for the choice of any decision or personality that would edify and bring good to Nd’Igbo and to our country.
We join the entire Igbo world to say that we welcome the choice of Peter Obi and to thank His Excellency Atiku Abubakar for the great choice he has made with which he has demonstrated that he is a true friend of the Igbo.
Those that say no to this decision and choice are in the minor minority and the overwhelming majority of the Igbo dissociate their position and ask that they come to their senses and align with their kits and kin to give full support to the candidacy of these two great Nigerians.
A right choice at the right time
A time comes in the annals of a society when new realities call for new responses. The multi-faceted challenges that Nigeria faces at the moment calls for temporary suspension of quota system, the politics of turn by turn, or pecuniary patronages. This is a time to enthrone merit, equity, justice and fairness. For those in doubt, the curriculum vitae of HE Peter Obi is in circulation online, including his other testimonials.
For the Igbo nation, HE Peter Obi’s nomination represents putting our best foot forward. And history shall not be kind with anyone who may wish our dear country anything less.
We are already aware of the quality of candidates the ruling party APC is presenting in the next presidential election – having experienced their services in the last three and half years. We therefore, appreciate PDP for giving us contrasting quality of candidates for the same election; so that we may have exciting choice to make. This is the beauty of democracy. And this is the beauty of the free world to which we belong.
Not a party organ
Igbo Kwenu also clarified that: “For the avoidance of doubt, Igbo Kwenu Association, as a mass movement, pressure group, socio-political organization of Nd’Igbo is not sympathetic to any political party. But as law abiding citizens of Nigeria, we are interested in who governs us, and what they do while in office.
We are ready to engage all political office seekers in all the political parties to demand and negotiate good governance, inclusiveness, and protection of the political, social and business interests of Nd’Igbo. To this we are committed irrespective of whether such office seekers are Igbo or non-Igbo; or whether they belong to APC, PDP, APGA, SDP or any other party in Nigeria or abroad.
One of the key demands of Nd’Igbo in the present political dispensation, to which we are inalienably committed, is the issue of RESTRUCTURING.
Igbo Kwenu is also passionate about ANTI-CORRUPTION crusade. In the course of the political horse-trading that we shall engage in during this period, commitment to restructuring and anti-corruption shall be very strong points in winning the political patronage of our members – millions of Nd’Igbo in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.”