By Athan Agbakwuru, Owerri
Council of Elders, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, has given a nod to Mr Peter Obi, Labour Party presidential candidate’s decision to challenge the outcome of the just concluded presidential election in court.
Chairman of the council, Chief Emmanuel C. Iwuanyanwu in a statement issued yesterday stated that Ohanaeze elders despite supporting Mr Obi’s legal action will however accept the judgement of the court and support whoever it favours.
Iwuanyanwu expressed special gratitude to Afenifere, PANDEF, Middle Belt Forum, MBF, among other Nigerians for what he called their rare show of patriotism and desire for a new Nigeria by voting massively for the Igbo-born LP presidential flag bearer.
According to him, Obi was not the candidate of Ohanaeze Ndigbo but that of many Nigerians across party, tribal, cultural, sectional and religious lines that are earnestly yearning for a new Nigeria.
He expressed concern that the powers-that-be worked tirelessly against Southeast interest in zoning the presidential slot despite the fact that the zoning principle mutually adopted by Nigerians aptly favoured Southeast in the current dispensation.
The elder statesman however acknowledged and applauded the efforts of many patriotic citizens and groups who stood for equity, fairness and justice by supporting and voting Peter Obi.
His message read, “For the avoidance of doubt, Mr. Peter Obi was not a candidate of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, rather he was a candidate of many patriotic and concerned Nigerians who wanted a change for a new Nigeria.”
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo was conscious of the fact that under normal conditions and by the zoning principle mutually agreed by all Nigerians, the President of Nigeria in the present dispensation should come from the South Eastern part of the Country.
“To our surprise, some powerful groups did everything possible to deny the Southeast the opportunity to realize this. Most patriotic Nigerians were disappointed with the situation. Many of them expressed their disappointment openly through various channels.
“The South East prayed to God and no doubt Peter Obi’s emergence is God’s answer to our prayers and that of all Nigerians for a President who would rise to the grave challenges of leadership in Nigeria.
“The Ohanaeze Council of Elders is very proud and happy to observe that Peter Obi’s campaign and election were championed and led by Nigerians who are not Igbos.
“This experience has re-enforced our confidence in the Nigerian project. Ohanaeze Ndigbo has other Igbo candidates contesting for President in other political parties, after a thorough analysis, Ohanaeze Ndigbo were convinced that Mr. Peter Obi possesses all the qualities required to give Nigerians the good leadership the country deserves at this time.
“I want to, on behalf of Ohanaeze Council of Elders, express our appreciation to the various groups like Afenifere, the PANDEF, the Middle Belt Forum and many other groups that very strongly supported Mr. Peter Obi for president”, he said.