Ohanaeze Ndigbo led by Professor George Obiozor has condemned a group of Igbo speaking community in Lagos who called on the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to contest the presidency in 2023.
The Igbo group, which also referred to itself as Ohanaeze Ndigbo had on Tuesday in a statement through its Deputy Secretary-General of the group, Dimm Uche Okwukwu said: “Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu represents many things to different persons and groups. To Nigerians in general, he is one of the authors of this democracy we enjoy today. He put in so much energy as chieftain of the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, to make sure that Nigeria was returned to democracy in 1999. To Yorubas, he is a home-grown leader. Southern Nigeria sees him as a patriot and foremost unifier.
“Igbo people see Asiwaju as their protector. We remember that as governor of Lagos State, he appointed an Igbo man from Anambra State, Ben Akabueze, Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget for eight years, 1999-2007. The import of his gesture was not lost on Igbos all over the world and we are very proud of Asiwaju. Indeed, we call him ‘Nwanne di na mba,’ a brother in a foreign land.
“Ndigbo pray God Almighty grants Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu quick recovery, particularly now that Nigeria is in serious transition. We need him for the unification of the Southern bloc of Nigeria. We need him to mentor the younger generations. Nigerians need Asiwaju to inspire them. We need him to guide us on the right path of democracy. Nigerians want him home in good health.”
But reacting in a statement later on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alex Ogbonnia, the Obiozor led Ohanaeze, recognised by many as the authentic Igbo apex body, said the group calling on Tinubu to contest for presidency in 2023, did so for their selfish interests.
Ogbonnia said, “The principle of zoning between the various components of the constituent units was a major element in the rotation of power between the north and south. This agreement was reached at the onset of the present cycle of the Nigerian democracy. Nigerians adopted a rotation of the presidency between the Northern and the Southern parts of the country. Every Nigerian patriot knows that 2023 is the turn of Igbo to produce the president for the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“As it stands, Igbo have lent supports to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr Goodluck Jonathan from the South West and South-South respectively. In 2023, the presidency should rotate to the south, and by all standards of zoning, conscience and political arithmetic, it is the turn of the South East.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide led by Prof. George Obiozor is highly committed to the realisation of a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction in 2023. Therefore, a great doubt is placed on the authenticity and credibility of an Igbo that pledges the wrath that goes after renegades who work against the Igbo spirit.”