APC cries Foul as Anambra disowns Ndigbo’s Endorsement of Atiku

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The governing All Progressives Congress (APC) has described as dubious and misleading, a communiqué by the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohaneze Ndigbo endorsing the candidacy of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the February 16 election. APC spokesman, Lanre Issa-Onilu told a news conference in Abuja on Friday that the Ndigbo endorsement of Atiku was a misrepresentation of the interest of Ndigbo. He said the purported endorsement may have been done by Atiku’s friends whom he had publicly promised to make rich if he was elected president, warning the Ibos to guard against Atiku’s fake campaign promises.

In a related development, the Anambra government has also disassociated itself from the communiqué by Ohaneze Ndigbo endorsing Atiku. Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, Secretary to Anambra Government (SSG), in a statement to newsmen in Enugu declared that the communiqué did not reflect the government of Anambra’s position. Chukwulobelu expressed dismay that Ndigbo had decided to be partisan, in spite of the fact that members of the organization belong to different political parties. “We have read bits of the communiqué purportedly issued by the Ohaneze leadership. We regret that they do not reflect the position of the people and Government of Anambra State. The position of the Anambra State Government is that Ohaneze should remain a united umbrella for all Ndigbo, and should not take sides with any party. There are major leaders in all political parties, including the three major ones in Nigeria, namely, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), All Progressives Congress ( APC) and PDP. It is deeply regrettable that the Ohaneze leadership has chosen to go down a divisive trajectory capable of setting back Igbo unity for several years,” he said.

It would be recalled that on Thursday, “Ime Obi” the rapid response arm of Ohaneze Ndigbo, comprising delegations from the seven states that make up the organization, including state governors, rose from a meeting in Enugu to declare their support for Atiku. Chukwulobelu explained that Anambra Governor, Willie Obiano had sent a delegation to attend the Ime Obi meeting but “our delegation arrived early enough to participate in the meeting of Ime Obi scheduled to start at 7 p.m. on Thursday. We were surprised to learn that the meeting had been held earlier and lasted for a mere 30 minutes. The representative of the Ebonyi State Government, Dr. Eric Kelechi Igwe, who arrived at the venue before the time the meeting was scheduled to start was also surprised that it had already taken place. The same goes for others like the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, and the Minister of Labor and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige,” he said.

Chukwulobelu said that they were shocked that the meeting was even slated on the same day President Muhammadu Buhari was campaigning in Anambra and Enugu States. He said Buhari’s visit to Anambra was to honor Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, First Republic President of Nigeria, and the leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo was expected to participate actively. “We had expected Ohaneze leaders to participate actively in the inauguration of the Zik Mausoleum, Onitsha, Anambra State,” he said. Chukwulobelu said that the Mausoleum which had been under construction for the past 23 years was completed by the Buhari’s Administration which was a big honor to Azikiwe, an Igbo man.”

The APC spokesman said Ndigbo’s purported endorsement of Atiku’s presidential ambition does not enjoy the support of most of the Igbos. Issa-Onilu added that besides Atiku’s deceitful restructuring promise, the Igbo people had nothing else to gain from his presidency. He further added that under the Buhari APC-led administration, 69 verifiable projects had been commissioned, saying that while some were on-going; others had been completed. Issa-Onilu said the situation would only get better under an APC- led administration. “About 69 verifiable road and bridge projects are on-going in the South-East, this is unprecedented in the history of our nation.

“Although the contracts for many of the roads were awarded by past PDP administrations, they were either poorly funded or not funded at all, hence work on the road and bridge projects were previously stalled. Currently, the roads and bridges, which are spread across the five states in the South-East, are in different stages of completion. Thanks to the funding sourced by the President Buhari-led APC administration from budgetary allocations, the SUKUK Bond and the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund,” he said.