You must support Igbo presidency in 2023 – Ohanaeze warns Jonathan
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nigeria’s apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, has said that the Igbo spirit will be against former President Goodluck Jonathan if he fails to support the realisation of a president of Igbo extraction in 2023.
Although the group is not a political party, part of its objectives of creation is to foster unity among its members in order to better allow them to be representative within the political scenario of Nigeria.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo National Publicity Secretary, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, in an interview with one of our correspondents in Enugu, said that the suffering Ndigbo were going through under the regime of President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) was because of the support Igbo gave Jonathan.
Ogbonnia was asked to comment on a report that Jonathan on December 27 met South-South leaders coordinating his alleged plan to contest the 2023 presidency.
According to the report, the meeting was held at Aridolf Hotels and Spars, Yenagoa.
There have been reports that some northern All Progressives Congress governors were plotting Jonathan’s return to Presidency to assuage the South and enable the North to return to power after four years.
Commenting on the development, Ohanaeze Ndigbo spokesman stated, “The Igbo position on Jonathan’s (alleged) presidential ambition in 2023 is that the Igbo spirit will be against him, the totality of Igbo spirit will be against him and he should realise it.
“Because he is expected to support the Igbo; a form of spiritual reciprocity, to reciprocate the Igbo kind gesture towards him.”
He disclosed that whatever Igbo suffered under the regime of Presiden Muhammadu Buhari was because of Jonathan.
He added, “Whatever you see the Igbo suffered under President Buhari was as a result of the support we gave Jonathan. He should realise it. That is the Ohanaeze Ndigbo position and by extension Igbo position.”
Group says South-South has one tenure left, explains visit to Jonathan
A group, the South-South Presidency in 2023, faulted a report that Jonathan had accepted to contest the 2023 presidency.
The group, however, says it will ensure that any political party that presents a candidate from the zone as vice president will not get the support of the people there.
Chief Dikivie Ikiogha, who is the National Chairman of the group and political associate of Jonathan stated this in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Monday.
He debunked reports that Jonathan had accepted to run for the presidency next year.
He stated, “I have just seen a publication credited to the group, saying that the former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan has accepted to run for the presidency. That is not correct. We will be happy. Anybody who wants to run for the presidency from South-South, we will be very happy about it.
“ When it has not happened and people want to put the record in a wrong way that is not good,” Ikiogha stated.
He said the group was consolidating its stand by trying to mobilise and enlighten the South-South on the need to produce the next President, saying the members also visited Jonathan recently.
“So we have been visiting people, making consultations here and there and visiting people, Just as we visited any other people or aspirants or suspected aspirants, we also visited him (Jonathan). And he cannot of course push us out. He is the father of South-South politics today.
“Obasanjo (former President Olusegun…) called him recently, his colleague. So if we want to take a major decision that concerns the South-South, there is no way we cannot meet him and sell our idea to him, which we did.
“That is the stand of the South-South Presidency in 2023. That it is our turn to present the next President. We want to complete our tenure. We have one tenure left.
“If we are going to be united and move ahead, move together in this country, whether we are minority or not, we should be given a chance to complete our tenure before we can call ourselves brothers.”
Asked if the group had begun moves to reconcile Jonathan and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, he said it was not a major concern of the association, saying “They should decide to reconcile each other.
“What we are saying is that if anybody among them, just accept to become vice-president and become this or that and not the President. We will not be happy with that person.
“We have told them that nobody should accept the chairmanship of a party or a vice-presidential candidate of a party. So if anybody wants to come out, we have the political know-how to run that political party down.”
Ohanaeze Ndigbo was effectively championed and supported by the Kingsley Mbadiwe, Dr. Francis Akanu Ibiam, Dr. Michael Iheonukara Okpara, Dr. Pius Okigbo, and Chief Jerome Udorji (who served as the first Secretary General), among other notable Igbo personalities.