Why Ohanaeze Youth Council supported BuhariMar 03, 2019By: Amarachukwu Akaigwe
The apex Igbo youth organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council, has said it supported the re-election bid of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress because it believed he is more committed to the Igbo cause than former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party.
The group said it was reluctant to endorse any of the presidential candidates when many tribal and inter-tribal groups and influential individuals were adopting candidates as it believed endorsements never amounted to votes.
It said it carefully weighed the options which were in the best interest of the Igbo nation.
The President-General of the council, Okechukwu Isiguzoro, said this on Saturday in Abakaliki, the state capital, during an interview with journalists.
Isiguzoro, who alleged that Atiku was dragged into the presidential race by the Northern Elders Forum to executive its clandestine agenda to foist its interest on the country, said zoning the vice-presidential slot to the Ndigbo was used as bait to get the South-East’s support.
He said Atiku’s reluctance to declare his programmes for the zone before the presidential election on February 23, 2019, caused the group’s reluctance to endorse him, even when its leadership was under pressure to do so.
Adding that the presidential contest was between two Fulani men and it was better to support the one whose tenure expired in four years than to back the one whose tenure might end in eight years.
He said the group and the office of the secretary-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo on February 14 vowed to return Buhari in 2019, because they believed he would hand over to an Igbo man in 2023.
Isiguzoro said, “We were reluctant to endorse any presidential candidate then because we knew endorsement does mean more votes for the candidate. We were under pressure to adopt a particular candidate, but we decided to weigh the options, to see who had better offer for the Igbo nation.
“We called Atiku many times to tell us his genuine offer for the zone, in his one-term agenda; whether he would handover to an Igbo man in 2023. He was reluctant to do so because he had a hidden script from the Northern Elders Forum, which we were sure, he would play out if he becomes the president of this country. Their plan was to impose northern interests on the South-East and Nigeria as a whole and they started by using the office of the vice-president as bait to Ndigbo.”