2023: We pressured Obi to dump PDP — Igbo elders

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Igbo Elders Consultative Forum (IECF), also known as Ime-obi Ohanaeze Ndigbo on Friday pledged their allegiance to the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, who they described as a “true unifier.”

They also reiterated their call on President Muhammadu Bubari to release the leader of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, in the interest of peace in the country, especially the South East region.  

Briefing journalists in Abuja, the Forum’s chairman and former Anambra governor, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, stated that an Obi presidency in 2023 will put an end to separatist agitations by different groups in the country.

Ezeife said: “We, before now agreed in the Southern and Middle Belt Forum to call all the candidates from the south east, interview them and adopt one person. But that has been overtaken by events. If you look at the candidates from A to Z,  you find out that there is one from the south east who is everybody’s candidate. 

“He is the true unifier in Nigeria because he is someone who will banish poverty, insecurity, and all the negatives associated with Nigeria. That person is Peter Obi and he is the person whom all of us will support.”

According to him, the South east elders were the ones who prevailed on the Labour Party Presidential candidate to leave the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in May. 

“If you look at the records, you’ll find out that the elders in Abuja really worked hard to get him out as a candidate. We forced him to get out of the PDP so that he can be a candidate for president. So the question of even adopting him doesn’t arise as he is our trusted, God anointed candidate to remake and recreate Nigeria.  He will make everybody happy. 

“Obi will make Fulani belong to Nigeria and have a say. He will ensure Yoruba don’t want to go and will also make Igbo and all groups stay in Nigeria and have the country restructured to work,” he stated. 

Ezeife warned that the planned 2023 general elections will have far reaching consequences on the peace, unity, stability and corporate existence of Nigeria. 

“Hence, we appeal to all candidates, other political gladiators and their supporters to observe the rule of the game in their electioneering campaigns. 

The Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, should rise up to the challenge of providing level playing ground for all political parties and candidates as contained in the 2022 Electoral Act and the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“INEC should resist the alleged pressure by inordinate and unscrupulous politicians to compromise the provisions of the extant electoral laws and conduct free, fair and credible elections in 2023 for the stability and corporate existence of Nigeria.”

On Kanu, the Igbo Elders Consultative Forum expressed disappointment over the decision of the Federal government to appeal against the court of appeal judgement which acquitted the IPOB leader.

The Igbo elders warned that the move by the government would have far reaching consequences on peace and security of the country. 

They added: “The Federal Government appeal against the Court of Appeal three-man unanimous judgement, which discharged Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, is capable of aggravating the security challenges and peace process initiatives in the South East, preventing the conduct of 2023 general elections in the zone, as well as its ripple effects on the peace, unity, stability and continued corporate existence of Nigeria. 

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