Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state, yesterday warned Ohanaeze Ndigbo – the apex socio-cultural organization of the Igbo people, against dabbling into politics and taking sides in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
Okorocha was speaking when National Organizing Committee for the 2018 Igbo Day Celebration led by Gregory Ibe, paid him a visit at government House Owerri.
Okorocha, who is the only APC governor in the southeastern part of Nigeria, a region predominated by the PDP, told the Igbo apex body of elders to “distance itself from partisan politics to avoid Ndigbo losing when the party or candidate the organization supports loses.
“Ohanaeze should be smart when it comes to the issue of partisan politics so that no matter the candidate or the party that wins, Ohanaeze can move in to do the needful.”
Okorocha may be making reference to the allege romance between Ohanaeze and PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar who has promised to restructure Nigeria – a political policy supported by most Igbos. The governor will be supporting his party presidential candidate, incumbent President Buhari
Going further, Gov Okorocha decried the apparent disunity among the Igbo political elite and called on Ohanaeze Ndigbo to rather refocu their strengths and champion reconciliation among the Igbos. He also wants a day set aside for atonement for Ndigbo, saying the Igbos were in dire need of God more than anything else.
“I have told the National President of Ohanaeze about the need for Ohanaeze to champion reconciliation among Igbos. I said it at Evan Enwerem’s book launch. Jim Nwobodo and Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu were there. When I was growing up, all I heard was that Iwuanyanwu never saw eye-to-eye with Enwerem. Jim Nwobodo never saw eye-to-eye with Ekwueme. I asked Iwuanyanwu, where is Enwerem today to fight and Jim, where is Ekwueme to fight?
Okorocha frowned that “this ugly development has been transferred from your generation to my generation. Rochas Okorocha and Ngige. Obi and Obiano, and so on. So, our generation has also taken that way. And we are not helping matters. So there should be a very emotional moment for everyone in form of reconciliation. And Onanaeze should champion it.”
Continuing the governor said, “There should also be an atonement for Ndigbo. There could be a prayer programme for atonement for Ndigbo. Igbos need God and God is closer to them.
“There is need for Ndigbo to bow down their heads in adoration to the Most High God and Ohanaeze can champion that. We must begin to do things a bit differently. We can do something new. This is where I specially disagree with the elite of Igboland. Let’s try something new since there is no harm in failure, but an invitation to start again.
“My heart sometimes bleeds for the Igbo nation and when I see you people, I tell you how I feel. One of our major pivots upon which the wheels or faith of the Igbo man revolves is the Church and it has also been tainted. “Look at the statement by Mbaka of recent, it’s the most embarrassing, but nobody will speak out. We must act quickly now under the present ugly situation before we destroy the psyche of Ndigbo yet unborn.”
Regarding hosting of the Igbo Day celebration the governor replied, “I am excited to host Ndigbo and I am prepared to host them. As you are aware, we have been making every attempt to unite Ndigbo over the years. And years and years, it has always looked like there is no light at the dark end of the tunnel. We must keep trying in pursuit of peace. There’s no end to it.”