The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has faulted the statement made by the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, Rabiu Kwankwaso, while addressing the Chatham House recently.
Recall that Kwankwaso had said the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, and the party were an ethnic project.
In response to an audience member’s question on the failed partnership between the NNPP and the LP, the NNPP candidate said at Chatham House that Peter Obi appealed to ethnic sentiment instead of a national outlook.
However, the National Publicity Secretary of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, had kicked against Kwankwaso’s statement, saying that Obi was endorsed by the Southern and Middle Belt Forum, the Afenifere, and many northern groups before the Ohanaeze joined them.
He also stressed that any Igbo presidential candidate was “campaigning in futility,” because “the people had already chosen Obi.”
Ogbonnia said, “It is not true; the first groups that endorsed Peter Obi were the Southern and the Middle Belt leadership forum, so are the Afenifere that endorsed him. Are the Middle Belt people Igbo? Are the eminent people like Olusegun Obasanjo and Chief Edwin Clark Igbo?
“In fact, if you watch the trend, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo even came last; we allowed all Nigerians from all walks of life, ethnic groups and nationalities to endorse him.
“Igbo are not personalising Peter Obi; we are only joining Nigerians in their vision, enthusiasm, patriotism and in their understanding that Nigeria should move forward.”
Speaking further, he said, “Peter Obi is not an Igbo candidate; he is a Nigerian project. We don’t want to bring Obi to the local level. The direction is very clear. So, any other person who is contesting with Peter Obi in the South-East is an effort in futility.
“Nigerians have already chosen Peter Obi and Ohanaeze doesn’t want to come in. Peter Obi is not an Ohanaeze candidate; he is not an Igbo candidate. Nigerians have concluded their choice.”