Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has described the nomination of Mr. Peter Obi as running mate to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, as the party’s response to the feelings of marginalisation of Ndigbo in the leadership of Nigeria.
Obi, however, said that the success of his nomination was dependent on the harmonious relationship existing among the leadership of the Southeast zone.
Also, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has described Obi as an iconic son of Igboland who has been a two-term governor of Anambra State, explaining that the state would vote for the PDP in next year’s general elections.
President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who spoke when Obi visited him at his Enugu residence, said his outstanding humility and incorruptibility in government spoke volumes of the yearnings of youths that government must not be used as the instrument of self-aggrandisement, but as an instrument of development for the people.
He said: “I am extremely happy to have you in my house and to say how pleased Ndigbo are that your party has responded to our yearnings and aspirations and our feeling of marginalisation in the top echelon of the leadership of our country by nominating you to vie the office of the vice president of Nigeria.
“I do hope that other political parties in Nigeria will emulate this act of the former vice president (Atiku) and members and the leadership of your party. Very soon, we will convoke a meeting of the highest organ of Ohanaeze, the Ime Obi, when all the political parties have brought out their candidates and take a decision on the direction Ndigbo will go in the next election. But your nomination is enchanting.
“Your visit here and indeed your public conduct while you were governor has sanctified you as a man of outstanding humility; your outspokenness on matters of public policy and your criticism of those who do not do it well shows that you have no skeleton in your cupboard. Five years after being governor and you have not been invited by anybody to investigate you for ill-gotten wealth.
“Your progress when you were a private businessman leading up to being one of the instruments of founding one of the leading commercial banks in Nigeria show that you have eminent qualities. I pray for you as an individual and as a friend and look forward to that day when Ohanaeze will take a decision on which party the Igbos will vote for,” Nwodo declared.
Obi, who had earlier paid a courtesy visit to Ugwuanyi at the Government House in Enugu, said his nomination was not about him as “Obi, but about the Southeast.”
Apparently to douse the tension generated in the zone by his nomination, Obi told Ugwuanyi: “I am in Enugu on consultation. I have met with the governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi; Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu; Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu and I am here to meet with you.
“This is the first time I am welcomed at the airport, not even the time I won a case at the Supreme Court as a governor have I been received with this kind of airport reception and this is will go into history.
“My nomination is about us and not about Peter. For me, this nomination is about our own area. We cannot stay and continue to complain of marginalisation,” he said.
Obi said he still pays tax in Enugu and that shows his belief in the Southeast, noting that Enugu State would continue to remain the capital of the Southeast zone.