National Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia
Raphael Ede and Daud Olatunji
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has set five major criteria for anyone seeking the position of the president from the South-East zone.
Although the group said it had no favourite candidate among the presidential aspirants that had already declared interest, it noted that anyone who wanted to be the president of Nigeria must be a person with high intellect, courage and audacity.
The National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, who stated these in an exclusive interview with said such qualities were necessary for anybody thinking about becoming the president of Nigeria.
“Such a person must also have political sagacity and national appeal. He must be patriotic and above all, must have a track record of accomplishment,” Ogbonnia added.
On whether the group would invite aspirants from the South-East for a meeting on the need for them to step down for more favourable aspirants to avoid jeopardising the chances of the zone during the primaries, he said it would be done when all interest must have been expressed.
“We want more aspirants to come out first. Assuming we had called for a meeting about four days ago (Sunday), we wouldn’t have seen the likes of Chief David Umahi; we wouldn’t have seen the likes of the Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.
“So, let them begin to come out; it will come to a point where we can now decide whom Ndigbo will support,” Ogbonnia said.
He, however, noted that there would be no screening of aspirants as Ohanaeze knew the credentials of every Igbo man of note.
“We already know their credentials. There’s no person in Igboland of note we don’t know of his background. So, they don’t require any screening,” he added.
On whether Ohanaeze would meet with the two major political parties to discuss the need for them to field their candidates from the South-East, Ogbonnia said, “Yes, we have already done that in several fora and we’ll continue on that.”
Meanwhile, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly Worldwide has urged the South-East to consult widely and build bridges ahead of the 2023 elections.
The group said for the Igbo to have any stake in the Nigerian project in the coming elections, they should stop threatening other tribes and regions in the country.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo made this known on Friday.
Its Director-General, Strategic Planning and Implementations, Tony Obizoba, in a statement on Friday, “Our position on the forthcoming general elections is that the Ndi Igbo, if they need any position, should build bridges and consult widely within the various divides, not asking anybody that has declared interest to drop his interest and wait for Ndi Igbo to come and present its candidate.
“We urge our people that if we must have a stake in the project called Nigeria, then we have to begin to build bridges with immediate effect. We have to build a wider consultation from the stakeholders of Ndigbo. Ohanaeze Ndigbo is urging all stakeholders to unite as one, dialogue and consult widely with the North and West to be able to establish their presence and cordial relationship before talking of attaining any certain position.
“We are not going to play along with the other group of people calling themselves Ohanaeze Ndigbo and who are asking those that have declared interest to run for the presidential seat to drop their ambition”.