Despite opposition from some prominent politicians, Ndigbo yesterday said there is no going back in their support for Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi.
They insisted it is the turn of Igbo to produce the country’s next leader after President Muhammadu Buhari, stressing that Obi remains the choice of the Southeast region.
A businessman and prominent Anambra indigene, Prince Arthur Eze, had, on Monday, distanced himself from the presidential ambition of Obi. Eze said he was not part of Obi’s aspiration because he had seen that the former Anambra State governor could not win votes in the Southwest and in the North.
The businessman made the comments in the presence of the state governor, Prof. Charles Soludo, traditional rulers, women groups, and other prominent people of the state, during the Ofala festival of his Ukpo community, in Anambra.
He said he had already warned Obi to withdraw from the presidential race but the candidate refused to listen. Responding to Eze, a prominent politician, Afam Ogene, declared there is no going back on Igbo position.
He said: “It’s part of the politics of interest and selfishness all over the land. The hawks and grabbers of our commonwealth will never want to let go. Did Pharaoh leave the Israelites just like that, no. So shall it be unto the likes of Authur Eze!”
Also, National President, Njiko Igbo Forum, Rev. Okechukwu Obioha, described Obi’s aspiration as divine, saying the LP candidate would become the next president, irrespective of “conspiracy from certain politicians”.
“It is a great blessing in disguise that God Almighty is exposing those that have connived with the establishment to hold us spell bound corruptly,” Obioha said in response to Eze.
Listing former governors, Orji Kalu, Chimaroke Nnamani; ex-deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Governor Charles Soludo, Uche Ekwunife, and others opposed to Obi, Obioha maintained: “The Igbo don’t care about their position.”
According to him, “Peter Obi and Nigerians are coming up with a total cleanup of the mess by these hawks and sadists who rejoice in the midst of abject poverty and squalor of the citizenry.
“There will not be new wine (Peter Obi’s presidency) in old wine skin (these monumental nuclear corrupt oligarchs) or else the wine will sour. Their days of going into captivity are numbered. Already, with ominous signs of victory for the ‘Obi-dients’ on February 25, 2023, they are diabetic and will soon move into political oblivion.”
Executive Director, Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Ibuchukwu Ezike, said Arthur Eze, like any other Igbo – nay Nigerian citizen, is not wrong at all in expressing himself.
“As a bonafide citizen of Nigeria, he has the right to a choice of a political party or candidate.
However, I do not think that his preferred choice of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is any threat to the Labour Party’s presidential flagbearer, Mr. Peter Obi and his running mate, Datti Ahmed. Not at all!
“What is the percentage of Arthur Eze’s support to Obi, as compared to those of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Afenifere, Nigerian youths, the PDP’s G5, or Nigerians in Nigeria and in diaspora?
“Arthur Eze is just one man with one PVC or even none. In 2015, he vividly supported Mr. Tony Nwoye of the All Progressives Congress (APC) against Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and lost woefully, same in 2019.
“This is not a military dictatorship where one man takes a decision and employs means of coercion to enforce it. This is a democracy where the popular will of the people (voters) decides. It may interest you to see that Mr. Arthur Eze will lose the 2023 presidential election in his Ukpo community and even in his ward.
“Obi will confidently win Anambra State and Igbo land in 2023 and, thereafter, will take over from President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, 2023 as the next Executive President of Nigeria.
“How can one man be a threat to the popular will of the mass of the people? That era has passed. Recall that President Obasanjo lost elections in the entire Southwest in 1999 but still won the presidency of Nigeria. Is Mr. Arthur Eze’s clout and popularity superior to that of the Yoruba nation? I do not think so.
“When Soludo survives his second tenure bid, then, we shall begin to talk about his presidential ambition. Some of us know that those who have immorally, unconscionably and greedily held Nigeria backwards will rise up against the people’s revolution. But whether their ranting will confront the tide and win the revolution is the question. We are watching.”
Arthur Eze had pointed out that Soludo is the person that is in line to become Nigeria’s president of Igbo extraction in the future. According to him “I warned Peter Obi to withdraw from this race but he would not listen. I told him plainly that I am not part of his plans. I told him to drop his ambition and wait for next time.
“When he told me about his ambition, I asked him the states he thinks he could win in the West and in the North. He told me. But I was not convinced. I told him he could not win, so that he would not waste his time and money.”
Pointing at Soludo, Eze, said: “This is the person we are tipping to take over as Nigeria’s president of Igbo extraction in the time to come. We have a presidential candidate (Atiku) that we are supporting now. After his tenure, he will hand over to Soludo as president.”
A traditional ruler from one of the communities in Anambra Central Senatorial District, who did not want his name mentioned, described Eze’s anti-Obi comment as unpleasant and a bad omen for the image of Igbo people.
He said: “This is why people say that Igbo people are not united or that Igbo people hate themselves. When prominent Nigerians from various tribes and religions are supporting Peter Obi and Labour Party, why should this man talk this way in public about Obi?
“Anyway, he is entitled to his personal opinion. His opinion does not reflect the sensibilities of Dinukofia people. It is not the opinion of Anambra and Igbo people.”