Ahead of the election of a new Ohanaeze Ndigbo President-General in January next year, the Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu has appealed to Ndigbo to vote for a true Zikist among the five candidates from Imo State vying for the position.
Okechukwu insisted that the next Ohanaeze President-General must be a disciple of the great Zik of Africa and Owelle of Onitsha, the Late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe who was pan-Nigerian and believed in the collective prosperity of Nigerians.
He is of the belief that a Zikist President General of Ohanaeze will better position Ndigbo in the 2023 presidential election.
The chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) spoke with journalists in Enugu, on the issue of the January 2021 election of President General of Ohanaeze.
Okechukwu recalled that in the last Ohanaeze election, he erroneously thought Chief John Nnia Nwodo (jnr.) is a Zikist and voted for him, but he was alarmed when Nwodo veered off the doctrine of Zik and joined Yinka Odumakin of Afenifere in lambasting President Buhari.
He lamented that Nwodo rejected the hand of fellowship extended to him by President Buhari and joined Afenifere in talking about restructuring, at the expense of Nigeria president of Igbo extraction, whereas the mainstream Yorubas were on the dining table with Buhari.
He insisted that Zik could have paid more attention to Nigeria president of Igbo extraction than restructuring, especially when President Buhari had commenced incremental restructuring via Executive Order 10.
“My dear colleagues, my appeal is that we all consensually search for who is a true Zikist among the candidates from Imo State and vote for him.
George Obiozor, Dr Chris Asoluka, Dr. Joe Nwaorgu, Chief Goddy Uwazuruike, and Prof. Chidi Osuagwu, we must locate a true Zikist,” Okechukwu said.
On who is a Zikist, he quipped, “My cursory analysis of Ndigbo political circuit can be posited thus – one the Zikists and secondly the Ikembaists. The Zikists are disciples of the great Zik of Africa, Owelle, Dr Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe, who was a Pan-Nigerian, a believer in the collective prosperity of all Nigerians.
As we approach the Ohanaeze election one will appeal we search for a true Zikist; for majority of Ndigbo are Zikists.”
Asked what advantage a Zikist will bestow to Ndigbo, he said Igbos would gain more by being more pragmatic than emotional. Our eyes should be on the ball.
“I am one of those who supported our elder brother Chief Nnia Nwodo, Ikeoha Ukehe, because it was the turn of Enugu State then. You know Ohaneze adopted the rotation convention before even the advent of rotation convention of the 4th Republic in Nigeria. Then one mistakenly thought Ikeoha is a Zikist, but when he veered off the basic tenets of Zik’s doctrine one was alarmed.”
Buttressing his assertion that Chief Nwodo veered off the Zikist doctrine, Okechukwu recalled that after the last Ohanaeze election, they briefed President Buhari who wrote a nice congratulatory letter to Chief Nwodo and offered for dialogue as he did in the letter he wrote to Ohaneze on November 7, 2014, while contesting for the presidency.
The APC chieftain lamented that instead of embracing dialogue, Nwodo joined Yinka Odumakin of Afenifere in lambasting President Buhari.
Asked if Nwodo was wrong in criticizing the President’s lopsided appointments and all other wrongdoings against Ndigbo, Okechukwu said,
“No, No, I will be an idiot to defend the indefensible. All I am saying is that in the tradition of the great Zik, he would have opted for dialogue. Zik won’t throw the baby and bath water away, especially when he was offered dialogue option.
“I am sorry to conclude that Chief Nwodo seems to have paid scant attention to our agitation for Nigeria president of Igbo extraction. Methinks we could have gained more, than joining Afenifere, when the mainstream Yorubas, were on the high table dinning with Mr. President.”
According to Okechukwu, it is an irony that Ohanaeze leadership either did not take notice of the incremental restructuring introduced via Executive Order 10 by Mr. President or they deliberately ignored it.
He maintained that President Buhari commenced restructuring because Executive Order 10 is incremental restructuring in compliance with 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Okechukwu posited that, “Mr. President relied on the powers vested on him under Section 5, to give life to True Federalism by strengthening the autonomy of State Legislature and State Judiciary, to make them more independent, accountable and transparent. This is aimed at deepening democracy at the grassroots level and reduction of Emperorship of Governors.”
“In sum, this key restructuring element was aborted by governors, who hung it on the mace of the Supreme Court; because they want to maintain the status quo of rubber stamp State Houses of Assembly, pliable State Judiciary and handpicked local government councils.”