Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday, debunked claims that it had adopted President Goodluck Jonathan or anyone else for the forthcoming presidential election.
President General of Ohanaeze, Chief Gary Nnachi Enwo Igariwey, who made the clarification at a post Igbo Day 2014 press briefing held at Finotel Hotels, Awka, said the apex Igbo group was still making consultations on the issue of 2015 Presidential election.
Before yesterday’s clarification, there were reports that the South-East and Ohanaeze have endorsed Jonathan.
The Ohanaeze President, who spoke in the presence of the Anambra State Chairman of the body, Elder Chris Eluemunoh, and some other officials said: “The main Ohanaeze has not made any statement on the adoption of any candidate for 2015 and that is the truth. Nobody can quote me as having said so.
The last interest shown by some people was when I was asked what plan Ohanaeze had for 2015 about Igbo candidate for 2015 and my answer was that Ohanaeze did not have a programme for Igbo President in 2015, I left it there.
“For obvious reasons I didn’t want to be seen to have jumped the gun, we have our usual way for adoption of candidate; it is usually by consultation with all major Igbo groups, Organisations and stakeholders. It is also in consultation with the South-East Council of Traditional Rulers and the Ime Obi Ohanaeze, we have not done this.
“The consultations are ongoing and until we are through with the consultations, it is for me as an individual or as an organisation to make such statement without clearance.
“So, we hope that at the appropriate time and that time will soon come, we would have made the consultation and I would have had the proper mandate to make that kind of statement.”
On what he said in his Igbo Day address that the Igbo would take over from President Jonathan, Igariwey said: “The truth of the matter is that in 2010 we kept our statement that the Igbo will come after the expiration of the tenure of South-South on an unbroken succession because the South-East would have been the only zone that wouldn’t have produced President in modern Nigeria.
“Jonathan’s tenure could end in 2015, it could end in 2019, we are not pre-empting, it is a clear statement I didn’t want to be caught in that kind of web.”
Further on the endorsement he said, “Even if there had been statements by some members of the body, but the final statement will have to come from me as the president general of Ohaneze.”
On the issue of Jonathan not reasonably working in the South-East in terms of infrastructure, especially roads, Igariwey said, “I did not share the view that he has done nothing, but I share your view on the state of our roads, when we visited him, we made some observations and they are part of the consultations.
“We need to sit with the president and review some of the issues but all the same, we feel he has done a lot for us.”
The Ohaneze boss also used the opportunity to react to reports that the South-East Governors shunned the Igbo Day celebration, noting that that they all took excuse because of the honours awards at Abuja by the President.
He stressed that Ohaneze Ndigbo was grateful to Anambra state Governor, Chief Willie Obiano for taking up the responsibility of funding and hosting the Igbo day.