Why we haven’t endorsed any presidential candidate – Ohanaeze

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The apex Igbo socio-political group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has broken its silence on why it has not announced its preferred candidate for the 2023 presidential election, despite the endorsement of the candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, by the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere.

It said the Igbo knew where they were going but did not disclose who among the presidential candidates of the various political parties would be endorsed.

Like Afenifere, the Pan-Niger Delta Forum and the Middle Belt Forum, Ohanaeze had called on political parties to zone their presidential tickets to the South-East.

Afenifere’s leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, had on Tuesday endorsed the candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, adding that the South-East deserved a shot at the presidency based on equity and the need to unite the country.

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He said, “The North has no right to come back again after eight years, just as I am opposed to (Bola) Tinubu. It is not the right of the South-West to come and claim the presidency. If we want peace in Nigeria. We want equity, justice, if we want to be united, we are talking of rotation, we are talking of federal character.

“It has gone to the North, now to the South. Should it come to the South to the region that has had it with (former president Olusegun) Obasanjo for eight years, with (Prof) Yemi Osinbajo in eight years as vice-president? The South-South has had it with (former president) Jonathan. Is the South-East not part of Nigeria to have that equity?

But Ohanaeze explained that it had yet to endorse any candidate because such a decision that would affect the Igbo, as a democratic ethnic group, ought to be taken in consultation with Igbo interest groups.

“Ohanaeze’s modus operandi is clearly different from that of Afenifere. You know the Igbo are a very democratic set of people, so, we usually call a meeting of a wider Igbo assemblage and we look at the issue so that when we take a decision and an endorsement, it will be seen to be carrying everyone along.

“That is why we have not endorsed any (candidate) even when we know where we are going. We must call a meeting of all Igbo interest groups and we look at everything so that if we say something, it will carry the weight of the whole Igbo assemblage,” its spokesperson, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, said.

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