Apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo pulled a surprise trigger on Thursday when it denied endorsing the presidential aspiration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Rumours had made the rounds that Ohanaeze Ndigbo was part of the Igbo groups that met in Enugu late last year at a meeting presided over by constitutional lawyer, Prof Ben Nwabueze, to endorse the aspirations of Abubakar. The alleged endorsement was thoought of as a way to show gratitude for picking Mr Peter Obi as his running mate.
But addressing a press briefing in Enugu to mark its second year in office, the leadership of the socio-cultural organization said there was no truth in the matter, stressing that it was yet to adopt any candidate.
“We did not endorse Atiku Abubakar neither have we adopted any presidential candidate. We made it clear that we are committed to ensuring the restructuring of Nigeria for the benefit of the people. We have said that we will identify with candidates whose restructuring agenda tallies with our views. We also made it clear that Ohanaeze will meet sometime this month to ventilate the issue and be able to arrive at a conclusion.
“Furthermore, the President General was away to the United States of America and flew in that same day of the meeting in Enugu and was able to go for that meeting based on the invitation extended to him.
“When he got in there, resolutions arrived at were foisted on him but it does not mean that Ohanaeze Ndigbo endorsed Atiku Abubakar and he made it clear that day that Ohanaeze was going to meet at a later date to now take a wholistic view on the restructuring issue and the party that answers to the call on the need of not just Ohanaeze Ndigbo but even the southern leaders forum which Ohanaeze is a part of.
“This includes the South-South, the Middle Belt Forum and so on. So it is erroneous to say that Ohanaeze Ndigbo has endorsed Atiku Abubakar”, Ohaaneze insisted yesterday.
Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the group, Mr Chuks Ibegbu and the Special Adviser on Media to the president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Emeka Attamah stated that there was no basis yet for the endorsement of any candidate in the election until a meeting that would comprise governors, senators, traditional rulers, clergy among other Imeobi members is convened before the end of the month.