IGBO stakeholders, comprising of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Alaigbo Development Foundation, Pro-Biafra groups and other Pan-Igbo groups have stated that the concern on Saturday’s presidential election is the attainment of freedom for all ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, particularly the Igbo.
They noted that it was for such reason Ndigbo opted to support the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Presidential candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who they said in his manifesto was the only presidential candidate that met Igbo demand for restructuring of Nigeria.
Rising from an emergency meeting of Igbo stakeholders in Enugu, on Thursday, Ndigbo noted that after exhaustive review of recent events in the Nigerian polity as they relate to the ethnic group in particular, especially in the aftermath of the postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections in the country; they agreed that the irreducible minimum for Ndigbo, that will be acceptable for their continued participation in the Nigerian enterprise will be a renegotiated and restructured Nigeria based on equality, equity and justice and for the component regions and individuals who will live under its authority.
They stressed that the renegotiated country must be one that ensures self-determination for the various nationalities, regional autonomy and freedom of the component regions to manage and control their political environment and resources and worship their God without let or hindrance.
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“Consequently our demand for the total restructuring of the Nigerian polity as encapsulated in the Ekwueme Square/Awka Declaration by Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide and its ADF-facilitated Enugu affirmation endorsed by many Igbo groups, remain the best framework for a workable Nigerian state and we stand by those declarations at all times. “We note that only one political party, has so far committed to the Restructuring of Nigeria, based on the manifesto released by the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, that meets substantially the demands for a just society where ethnicities, regions and sections of society are allowed to relate as they wish, make progress at their own pace, without interference by the others. “Therefore Ndigbo, reiterate our unequivocal support and endorsement for the Atiku/Obi presidential ticket as already announced by the national leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Alaigbo Development Foundation, (ADF, and other Igbo interest groups like the Association of South-East Town Unions, ASETU, etc)
“That we call on all Igbo registered voters both at home and outside the Igbo homeland to come out enmasse to join all patriotic Nigerians of other ethnic nationalities and vote for the Atiku/Obi ticket. This election is our collective struggle for freedom and we must count it as joy to be part of history.” Among persons who were in the meeting included the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, President of Alaigbo Development foundation, Prof Uzodinma Nwala, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Senator Ben Obi, Bishop Obi Onubuogu, Engr Anthony Aniebue of Customary Government of Biafra,Rita Anigbogu of Movement of Biafra In Nigeria,Uchenna Madu representing the Coalition of Pro Biafra Groups and many other prominent Igbo.
They said they noted with great disappointment the inciting comments by certain persons in authority, which they said directly fuel security concerns about the safety of Ndigbo, both inside and outside Igbo land, both during and after the general elections. “We also note the proliferating presence of able bodied young men of questionable intent, doing no serious business, who have flooded all nooks and crannies of our homeland. Ohanaeze, Afenifere, PANDEF, to Army: Operation Python Dance needless “We urge all town Unions in Igboland to be very vigilante to monitor and control the movement and activities of all persons in their domain and report all untoward activities to the appropriate quarters for analysis and action. “All pan-Igbo organizations and stakeholders including Pro Biafran Groups to work together in the spirit of “onye-aghana-nwanneya” (be your brothers’ keeper) even in the face of existential threat confronting us as a people. “We view with utmost concern the explosive political situation in Nigeria as it appears the country is sliding downhill and this portends greater danger of collective immolation with catastrophic consequences for the country.
“We urge all Ndigbo in their various places of abode in Nigeria and elsewhere to continue to live in orderly and peaceful co-existence with their neighbors in the manner we are well-known as a people but refuse to be intimidated by anybody. “We urge Ndigbo in their places of abode in Nigeria and elsewhere, to continue to live peaceably and go about their civic duties in an orderly and exemplary manner, for which we are well known, but refuse to be intimidated by anybody. “We note with great apprehension, the massive mobilization and deployment of soldiers within all enclaves in Igboland; we also note that there is no constitutional provision for the deployment of soldiers for electioneering purposes and therefore advise that every effort must be made to ensure that these soldiers do not engage in the harassment of the public going about their lawful civic responsibilities.
“We call on all Ndigbo, the International community and election observers to join us in monitoring the activities of these soldiers during this period to ensure that all their activities are strictly in accordance with the Law. “That no one should doubt the resolve of Ndigbo to hold every corporate and individual miscreant personally responsible for any unlawful conducts and pursue such with every resource at our disposal and for however long it will take us, at international levels.
” President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo who read the communiqué disclosed that a Situation Room has been set up to collate all data and information, graphic and otherwise arising from any misconduct, adding that a special committee of experts have also been set up to sort, analyze and categorize the information collated for actionable responses. “We condemn, in its entirety, the manner in which the elections were postponed by INEC. This has had deleterious impact on our national economy; That we call on the Federal Government to ensure the safety of Ndigbo especially those living in northern Nigeria and other parts of the country; and call to order any public officer that may, through words or actions, be promoting violence.
“Finally, we commend the avowed interest of the international community in having credible elections in Nigeria. As Ndigbo, we invite their direct humanitarian intervention in whatever ways that the need may arise in Nigeria.”