Ohaneze Ndigbo denies endorsing Atiku 's candidacy saying that it remains neutral

IGBO socio-cultural umbrella organisation Ohaneze Ndigbo has denied endorsing former vice president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as its candidate in next month's presidential elections saying that only a few of its elders endorsed him in their personal capacities.


Next month, Alhaji Abubakar will be standing as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in a face-off with President Muhammadu Buhari of the All progressives Congress (APC) in what is expected to be a tight and close race. On November 14, 2018, some Igbo leaders endorsed  Alhaji Abubakar's candidacy, declaring that they would back him in the race for the presidency.


Yesterday, however, Ohaneze Ndigbo's deputy national publicity secretary Chuks Ibegbu, said that the endorsement was done by the friends of Atiku, adding that the organisation had not endorsed any particular candidate. Speaking in Enugu, he said the clarification became necessary following misconceptions that had grown from the November endorsement at an event in Enugu attended by Atiku and PDP national leaders including the senate president, Senator Bukola Saraki.


Mr Ibegbu, said: "Our organisation needs to be circumspect as our children are in all the political parties. It is erroneous to say that we endorsed Atiku, Ohanaeze Ndigbo did not endorse anybody as that meeting at Nike Lake Resort was organised by friends of Atiku.


“However, due to our peculiar circumstance in the country, we will identify with candidates that will restructure Nigeria if voted into power. Ohanaeze Ndigbo has been canvassing for our people to identify with candidates that will restructure Nigeria, so we still stand on that and in the next few days we shall meet to take a holistic position on the elections.”


He noted that within the two years in office of the Chief John Nwodo led Ohanaeze Ndigbo administration, the body has given its modest contribution by re-jigging Igbo leadership and issues concerning the people. Mr Ibegbu said that the current leadership of the organisation had built synergy with its affiliate groups with a view to achieving unity.


According to Mr Ibegbu, the dexterity and leadership acumen of Chief Nwodo had positively affected the relationship between the organisation and other ethnic socio-cultural associations in the country. Since assuming office, Chief Nwodo has sought to forge links with organisations like Afenifere, the Middle Belt Forum and the South South Leadership Forum.