A faction of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the foremost socio-political body of the Igbos, has rejected the endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan for re-election.
The Chief Gary Enwo-Igariwey led national executive of Ohanaeze Ndigbo had, at a meeting in Enugu on Tuesday, announced the body’s decision to endorse Jonathan for another term in office.
But a faction of the organisation, including members of the caretaker committee, led by Chief Ralph Obioha, on Thursday, distanced itself from the endorsement.
The faction, which is also insisting that the Enwo-Igariwey executive’s tenure in office had elapsed, argued that it would be “counter productive to commit Ndigbo to any form of blanket support” for any presidential candidate.
Addressing journalists in Enugu, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo faction stressed that it would not be endorsing either Jonathan or his main challenger, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Muhammadu Buhari, for next week’s presidential election.
Besides Obioha, other members of the faction, who jointly addressed journalists, include the secretary of the caretaker committee, Dr Zed Chukwujama, and Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, chairman of the organisation’s Elders’ Council.
The faction asked Igbos at home and those residing in various parts of the country to vote according to their conscience.
They expressed reservations that Jonathan and Buhari, the major presidential candidates, had not entered into any form of agreement with Ndigbo on the four cardinal issues they outlined.
The four cardinal issues, according to them, are security of lives and property of Ndigbo, infrastructural development in Igbo land, reparation for atrocities and war crimes against Ndigbo at the level recommended in the Oputa Panel Report, as well as what would become of Ndigbo after the tenure of the would-be President by 2019.
he added, “Of the two candidates, only one sent a high level delegation to us and we told them that we must see the candidate himself because whatever agreements to be reached will be implemented by him, if he wins and becomes President.
“We have not seen the candidate as at this date.
“The other presidential candidate has not made any contact with the committee, which is the authentic legal organ of Ohanaeze. If his belief is in some other areas or persons to gather the Igbo nation into one basket, we can only wish them good luck.
“Where do the Igbos belong and what is their fate after the incumbency of whoever wins in 2015 election?
“President Jonathan has said it openly that after his second term, it will be the turn of the North.
“On the other hand, if Buhari wins and desires to emulate Nelson Mandela and bows out after one term because of his age, it will be reasonable to expect another northerner to complete his term.
“Thereafter, he would want to exercise his constitutional right of second term, making 12 years.”