On arrival in Abuja from France where he attended the Paris Peace Forum, President Buhari was met with the bad news that his biggest challenger at the polls next year Atiku Abubakar has received a big boost with the endorsement of the Igbo Elders.
Some Igbo leaders, including politicians and chiefs, promised Wednesday to support Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar.
They spoke in Enugu after a meeting where elder statesman Prof. Ben Nwabueze, 86, called on them to “do me the honour of achieving the success of the (Atiku/Peter Obi) ticket before I am gone”.
“We must ensure the survival of the Igbo race in Nigeria and it is only through the success of that ticket that we can get it”, he said.
Nwabueze, who chaired the meeting, explained that the ticket would “ensure our survival”.
At the meeting were: Ambassador George Obiozor, Senator Ike Nwachukwu, Ohanaeze President Chief Nnia Nwodo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Prof ABC Nwosu, Senator Chris Anyanwu, Senator Theodore Orji, Senator Ben Obi and Chief Achike Udenwa.
Also there were Prof. Uche Azikiwe, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, Chief Emeka Ugwu-Oju, Chief Garry Igariwey, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Ambassador Frank Ogbuewu, Prof Osita Ogbu, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, Chief Lawrence Nwuruku, Prof Walter Ofonagoro and Archbishop Maxwell Anikwenwa.
There were also Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), Commodore James Aneke (retd), Prof Elochukwu Amucheazi, Prof Uzodinma Nwala, Senator Adolphus Wabara, Air Comdr Allison Madueke (retd), Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, Prof. Anya O. Anya and Prof Chudi Uwazurike, among others
In a five-point resolution issued at the end of the summit, with the theme “Ndigbo 2019 and Beyond”, read by Agbakoba, the leaders said the position was based on the restructuring agenda put on the table by Atiku/Obi, which four zones of the country had agreed on.
“The Igbo people of Nigeria held a one day non-partisan and inclusive summit convened by elders, traditional and religious leaders on Wednesday 14th November 2018 to consider Ndigbo’s place in the polity, especially in light of the forthcoming 2019 elections.
“The summit deliberated on the state of Ndigbo in Nigeria today, especially after years of exclusion from the centre. This country has never been so divided as it is today. We Igbos have always yearned for a level playing field with justice, equity and fairness.
“The summit recognised the nomination of His Excellency Mr. Peter Obi, former Governor of Anambra State, as the vice presidential candidate of the PDP and fully endorses this nomination. It was acknowledged that this nomination puts Ndigbo back in the centre of governance. It is, therefore, important that Ndigbo should rally behind the Atiku/Obi ticket.
“We identify with the Atiku/Peter Obi ticket on the restructuring agenda as has been reiterated by four zones of the country, namely: Southsouth, Southwest, Northcentral and Southeast. We believe that as long as the federating units remain weak the centre will continue to be weak. We equally move to appreciate the position of the Atiku/Obi ticket in promoting national unity.
“In conclusion, the summit reiterated that the time is now for Ndigbo to mobilise and organise effectively to realise the Atiku/Obi ticket. We are not campaigning against anybody, we are simply campaigning for our very survival. Igbo votes must count wherever Ndigbo live in Nigeria.”
Regardless of the ongoing and other planned projects in the South East of Nigeria being undertaken by the President Buhari-led APC Government, indications suggest that winning in the region during the 2019 polls will be very difficult.