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Presidential Poll: The Sin of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, And The Courage of Chekwas Okorie of UPP
One agenda that began to heat in the mind of some prominent Igbos after the Nigerian civil war was how to bring Igbos under a common umbrella body as to unify them. This idea was much welcomed considering huge displacement of the Igbos during the war and its aftermath. Igbo National Assembly (INA) was created, but later banned by the then Military Government, probably due to fear of indirectly using the organisation to achieve its Biafra Agenda.
Professor Ben Nwabueze, a foremost constitutional lawyer gathered other prominent Igbo leaders, with the help and support of personalities like Chief Kingsley Mbadiwe, Dr. Michael Iheonukara Okpara, Dr. Pius Okigbo, and Chief Jerome Udorji and form Ohanaeze Ndigbo in 1976.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, becoming an apex Igbo socio-cultural group in Nigeria represents all Igbo communities within and outside Nigeria which is one of the three major ethnic groups, namely Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.
It is believed that the main objective of the group is to harness and enhance its socio-cultural life so as to foster unity among members as well as better allow them to be fully represented within the Nigeria political circle. That means Igbo course whether social, cultural or political, is the paramount obligation of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
But today’s Igbo leaders according to many people have abandoned the original agenda and objectives of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, thereby using the name of the organization to pursue their personal gains.
For an organization that is entrusted with the mandate of protecting the socio-cultural and political interest of its people to start championing the presidential agenda of other regions and discouraging an Igbo man from aspiring the highest position of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is what some prominent Igbo sons has described as pitiable. Any individual has its political right to support whoever he or she wishes, but not as an organisation described as an Igbo apex socio-cultural group.
The Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha in his reaction, said: “Nigeria as a nation belongs to all Nigerians and I wonder why Ohaneze Ndi-Igbo should champion the course of discouraging the Igbo man against aspiring for the highest position in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Also, the presidential candidate of United Progressive Party (UPP), Chief Chekwas Okorie, said: “the condition we find ourselves today is pitiable, is an embarrassment to Igbo nation”.
According to a follower on The Educator News facebook page, Dennis Ubani, “every reasonable Igbo son or daughter will hail the courage of Chief Chekwas Okorie who understands that the position of Igbo nation in Nigeria is too big to give in for anybody’s ambition or other regional agenda. And his 2015 presidential mission is for all Igbo communities within and outside Nigeria.”
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