Awka – The Anambra Government says its rejection of the Ohaneze Ndigbo’s endorsement of Alhaji Abubakar Atiku has nothing to do with politics or Mr Peter Obi.
The Anambra Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C-Don Adinuba made the clarification at a press briefing in Awka on Monday.
He said that the clarification was necessitated by the story making round the media and instigated by the group that the state rejected the endorsement of Atiku, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, because of his running mate, Obi.
He said that the state had not in any way made reference to Obi directly or indirectly in any of its interviews on the issue.
“The government and people of the state are disheartened by decisions of Ohaneze to desecrate the memory of Zik which coincided with the date the endorsement was made,” the commissioner said.
He said that efforts were made to reach the Leadership of Ohaneze to shift their time to 7pm as it was not fair to hold the meeting by 10am when they knew the President was visiting the state.
The commissioner said that the appeal of change of time was to give Anambra delegation, the opportunity to partake in the meeting but they hurriedly held the meeting scheming out Ebonyi and Anambra.
Adinuba said that the Obiano government was not bothered about who the Igbo Apex Social Cultural group pitched tent with, rather the timing of their meeting coincided with President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to the state.
Adinuba said that the Ohaneze leadership led by Chief Nnia Nwodo should have taken into consideration that Zik of Africa was being honoured on the same day of their meeting.
“Wisdom should have been applied by the leaders to give honour to whom, it is due,” he said.
He said that Ohanaez Ndigbo was supposed to be part of the delegation receiving the President on such a remarkable day.
He pointed out that for 23 years, many administrations had come and gone without giving due consideration to completing the mausoleum and on the day of its commissioning, ohanaeze desecrated the memory of a worthy son of Igboland.
“The act is considered a sacrilege or a sabotage, Zik is the only patron of the group and he was insulted by his own, so sad,” he said.
Adinuba described the action of the Chief Nnia Nwodo led Ohanaeze Ndigbo group as a `political fraud’ saying that Ohanaeze should not be political and should stop endorsing political candidates.
He said that Ohaneze had in the past endorsed Jonathan, Shagari and they never won the elections, so they should stop.
In a swift reaction, Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene , President of Ohaneze Ndigbo in Anambra said that the reactions of the state government was not reasonable.
He said in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that at first instance, the group was not in the know about the President’s visit and its timetable.
Okeke-Ogene said that the group had observed all its due process in holding meetings from Abuja, Enugu and concluded its program.
He said that the meeting was statutory and would not have been cancelled for nothing and said that they honoured the request of time change from 10 am to 4pm.
He said that the group had been endorsing candidates before now like other geopolitical zones.
“We endorsed Obiano and urged that the North should complete their tenure before going to South,” he said.
Okeke-Ogene said that Obiano was enjoying the endorsement of Ohaneze ndi Igbo and wondered what changed.
Also, Chief Chris Eluemunoh, the immediate past President of Ohanaeze said that the group was desecrated by the state government for not involving such important group in a special visit like that
He said that at their level, nobody from the group would attend any function not invited and said that political leaders should learn how to respect their foundation. (NAN)