A faction of Ohanaeze Ndigbo led by the Secretary-General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural body, Uche Okwukwu, has apologized to President Muhammadu Buhari on the endorsement of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, for the 2019 elections by the main body of the group.
The President-General of the group, Dr John Nwodo, had recently brought it together with five other geopolitical groups of like minds to adopt the former Vice President as their consensus candidate for the election
Okwukwu had previously opposed Atiku’s endorsement by the group, earning him an expulsion from the Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
But meeting with President Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja on Friday, the Okwukwu faction assured him that the south-east will vote for him.
He apologised to the president for Atiku’s adoption and whatever it might have caused him.
He told Buhari: “Your Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari, we are highly pleased meeting with you today. As you can see with us are different Igbo groups, and based on that we want to apologise to you, Mr President, on behalf of Ndigbo for the utterances and speeches credited to Chief John Nnia Nwodo, the suspended President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
“Those utterances were his personal views and opinion and do not reflect the views and opinion of Ndigbo in Nigeria, today.
“Mr President, just for your information, Ohanaeze Ndigbo have set up a 9-man panel to probe and investigate the suspended President General for his gross misconduct and violations of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Constitution 2015, and make necessary recommendations.
“Mr President Sir, today we make bold to identify with you and your achievements so far as it concerns Ndigbo, infrastructural development, among many others, which have eased the challenges of doing business.
“We want to thank you for your love for the Igbos. Mr President, our visit today is to declare our stand, knowing fully well that your second tenure in office will bring Igbos closer to their desire in producing an Igbo President in Nigeria.
“Based on that, the Igbos are fully with you and our votes will reflect it on the 16th of February 2019, because the Igbos wherever they are will vote for you massively.”
Continuing, he said, “Your Excellency, let me use this opportunity to send a strong warning to those who think they can manipulate the votes in Igboland. We will resist any manipulation or rigging of votes and we call on all security agencies and INEC not to cave in or allow any form of electoral malpractices, because we know with a free and fair contest, Your Excellency will win a greater majority of the votes in Igboland.
“Furthermore, let me thank you for your fight against corruption. It is yielding result, thereby shaping the future of Nigeria positively. Mr President Sir, do not give up and let there be no sacred cow.
“Your victory is certain and we congratulate you in advance. We pray God to grant you more wisdom, strength, courage and good health as you take Nigeria to the next level.”
Also speaking, leader of Ndigbo in the 19 Northern states, Chief Chi Nwogu said that they came to tell the president that Ndigbo in the 19 northern states and Abuja were with him and will support him in the forthcoming elections.
The Chairman of the World Igbo Congress, Kalu Kalu Diogu, on his part, said he was attracted by the performance and focus of the president especially on economy, security and fight against corruption and assured the president that he would win more votes in 2019 than what he had in 2015.
The delegation included the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who brought in the group; the Vice Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Hon. Lawrence Onuchukwu and members of World Igbo Union.
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