We will resist ethnic colouration to presidential election, Ohanaeze declares

The Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday, said it would resist every attempt to give the 2023 presidential election ethnic colouration.
A man casts his vote at a polling station in Ojuelegba, Lagos on February 25, 2023, during Nigeria's presidential and general election. (Photo by Benson Ibeabuchi / AFP)
A man casts his vote at a polling station in Ojuelegba, Lagos on February 25, 2023, during Nigeria’s presidential and general election. (Photo by Benson Ibeabuchi / AFP)

• Begs opposition parties in Enugu to accept guber results
• Isiuzo stakeholders appeal for peace

The Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday, said it would resist every attempt to give the 2023 presidential election ethnic colouration.

The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation also dismissed, as false, reports that the Chairman of its Elders’ Forum, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, referred to Yoruba as “political rascals.”

National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Dr. Alex Ogbonnia, in a statement, which was made available to The Guardian, lamented sustained efforts to derail relationship between Igbo and Yoruba since the start of the 2023 general elections, which Peter Obi contested at the highest level.

He stated that Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had always enjoyed the support of eminent Igbo sons and daughters, stressing that the emergence of Obi and the successes he recorded in the presidential election were by the support given to him by Nigerians of all ethnic groups, as well as different classes and creed.

He said: “This accounts for why the Ohanaeze was about the last to endorse Obi as presidential candidate of the Labour Party.

“Ohanaeze rather re-affirmed its stance on the position of Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) led by E. K. Clarke and Ayo Adebanjo.”

Ogbonnia further explained that Iwuanyanwu never abused Yoruba during his speech at the first anniversary of the administration of Anambra State Governor, Charles Soludo, at Awka, as reported on social media.

Ohanaeze quoted Iwuanyanwu to have said: “I want to tell those in Lagos to realise that there is no war between us and Yoruba,” adding that “those who attacked Ndigbo in Lagos recently are rascals, who should be arrested.”

Ohanaeze noted that this has mischievously been twisted to imply that “Yoruba people are political rascals, and that we will fight them,” saying that this is from treacherous minds that wish to create rift between Igbo and Yoruba ethnicities.

The Igbo socio-cultural organisation added: “At any time in history, there is often a tug of war between two major groups; mostly the good people with conscience, on one hand, and the devious insidious minds on the other.

“However, the moral force of the godly will always countervail the unacceptable. This helps to keep the world in an ontological equilibrium. So, as much as some mischief-makers will twist the speech by Iwuanyanwu, the truth remains that Ahaejiagamba (worthy ambassador) holds the Yoruba in high esteem, and he used the Awka event to express it.

“The emphasis is that we must not attribute the ugly event in Lagos to good people of Yoruba ethnicity, rather, it was the handiwork of rascals, hooligans, charlatans, miscreants, and dregs of Lagos society.

“It is important to highlight that Iwuanyanwu is a renowned patriotic detribalised Nigerian. He enjoyed the fidelity, confidence, solidarity, and support of the Yoruba when he was in active business and politics.

“He would recall with deep emotional attachment the cordial relationship he had with Yoruba when he contested for the presidency of Nigeria in 1992.”

Ohanaeze noted that Iwuanyanwu, in all his private and public discussions, has often commended the profound Yoruba cultural values, intellect, and hospitality.

It said that the elder statesman “applauds the cordial relationship between Igbo and the Yoruba, citing that several Igbo are an integral part of various Yoruba communities.

“The depth of the roots of the intermarriages that have taken place between Igbo and Yoruba is transcendental, eternal, and can no longer be uprooted.

“The successful marriages of Yoruba daughters by frontline Igbo sons; Chief Emeka Anyaoku; Asagba of Asaba, Prof. Joseph Chike Edozien; Prof. Vincent Ike, Prof. Okey Ndibe, etc, and vice versa, exemplify the irreproachable similarity in Igbo/Yoruba cultural values and cosmology.”

MEANWHILE, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council (OYC), yesterday, reacted to the outcome of Enugu State governorship election, which was held on March 18, as it urged aggrieved parties to shun the idea of challenging Peter Mbah’s victory in court.

This is coming as key opposition political parties in the state have rejected the declaration of Mbah of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the election.

They have all indicated intention to challenge the outcome of the polls before the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.

A statement by the Ohanaeze youths National President, Okwu Nnabuike, said Mbah has extended a hand of fellowship to his opponents, and advised them to accept the outcome of the election in the interest of the entire state.

HOWEVER, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the recently held election in Enugu State, Frank Nweke Jnr., has said the outcome of the election that gave victory to Mbah must be challenged in court, because Mbah cannot hold accountable something that was acquired by illegitimate means.

Describing the exercise as an “assault on the country’s democracy,”

Nweke noted that it was devoid of all tenets of democracy.

Nweke, who vowed to explore all options required to ensure legitimacy of the next government of the state, insisted that
the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) even failed to apply its own rules while hurrying to return the candidate of the PDP.

STAKEHOLDERS of Isiuzo Council of Enugu state have asked those who participated in the governorship election in the state to see the emergence of Mbah as ‘divine,’ sheath their swords and accept his hand of fellowship.

Speaking through the National Convener, Eha-amafu Leaders of Thought, Dr. Emeka Ogbuabor, they stated that peace is fundamental for good governance, stressing that no state can attain development without peace.

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