By Abdulkabir Olatunji Special Adviser to the President on Media…
The Igbo Canadian Community Association (ICCA/Umunna) has declared total support and solidarity for the former Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Peter Obi as the Vice-Presidential Candidate and running mate to the former Vice President and presidential flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in the forthcoming general elections in 2019 describing the combination of the two former leaders as a good recipe for reconciliation, restructuring and restoration of the country to the deserved economic height as well as positioning Ndigbo towards a promising realization in the structure of leadership in Nigeria.
In a statement issued in Toronto, Canada by the President, Chief Ugochukwu Okoro, through the Public Relations Officer, Ahaoma Kanu, the socio-cultural and pressure group said “the selection of Dr. Peter Obi as the Vice-Presidential candidate is a commendable recognition and an attempt at balancing the obvious disregard of Ndigbo in contributing to nation building and leadership affairs in Nigeria which the present administration took to an unprecedented nepotic level.
“Since 2015 when Nigerians made a decision to elect the present government, the administration of President Muhamadu Buhari not only bred nepotism to a whole new level ever witnessed in a democracy, he used the instrument of government and security agencies to murders thousands of citizens in the country especially people from the South-East through the now infamous Operation Python dance, drove the economy of the country downhill while undermining Ndigbo in positions of leadership and provision of infrastructure. Buhari and the All Progressive Congress (APC) undermined Ndigbo with military occupation, government ordered executions and open discrimination against the South-East section of the country in his proclamations even on foreign soil. As if that is not enough, the government of Muhammadu Buhari and the APC has no regard for the judiciary and its proclamations and turned court orders to null while ensuring the disappearance of her citizens among them one of our sons and leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his aged father. Our mothers, daughters and wives were equally not spared as this present government suppressed freedom of expression and association of our women who were arrested, manhandled, sexually assaulted and imprisoned. This is some of the reasons ICCA/Umunna is throwing its weight behind the candidacy of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi as they seek to return Nigeria to the right pauth and restore the dignity of Ndigbo,” Okoro said.
Going further, the Umunna President urged Ndigbo across the South-East and the Diaspora to ensure a complete participation in the upcoming elections to realize an inclusive change.
“The present administration of Buhari and the APC promised a change which excluded us, we urge every Igbo person across all Igboland to participate in ensuring a change in government that includes us.”
In reaction to the development of some governors of the South-East grievance of not being consulted by the PDP presidential candidate on his choice of running mate, Umunna said it is unfortunate that after 37 years of exclusion in the leadership of Nigeria some governors of South-East states would come out brazenly to point at non consultation as an excuse in opposing the choice of Dr. Peter Obi as running mate.
“Inasmuch as we have the utmost respect for our leaders and hold them in high esteem, it is indeed worrisome that they have chosen to bring an issue that could have been discussed as Umunne inside our Obi to the market place. Since they decided to show their resentment openly instead of choosing other subtle avenues to have this consultation, Umunna, in telling truth to power, is pleading that they reconsider their stance as it will neither do them nor Ndigbo any good,” Okoro said.
He described the development as unfortunate and exposes the self-seeking attitude of some of the Igbo leaders.
“It is very unfortunate that our governors are standing shoulder to shoulder to cry in public in this issue, we would have expected them to have also come out publicly in demanding from President Muhammadu Buhari the whereabouts of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the hundreds of young Ibo men, women and children that were massacred during the operation Python Dance exercise in September 2018. We would have expected them to have set up Panels of Enquiry into what really happened during this state –sponsored exercises in their states as done by the Kaduna State government after the Shiite Muslims were killed in December 2015.”
“We want to remind them that Ndigbo is still waiting for them as Chief-Security-Officers of the South-East states to inform us where Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his aged father are being kept. The ICCA/Umunna will, through our outreaches in Igboland, make this part of the mandatory questions these our leaders seeking reelection have to answer for us to give them our support. We are certain as Igbo leaders that they must have felt the yearnings of the people and should, as Ndigbo, resolve this issue within the shortest time possible.’