Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has given conditions for Ndigbo to support any presidential candidate in 2019.
President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, who gave the conditions yesterday, in a chat with newsmen at Ohanaeze secretariat, said Igbo would only support a presidential candidate whose manifesto protects the interest of the Igbo.
Nwodo spoke as he was received by members of the Enugu State chapter upon his return from United States of America, where he went to inaugurate the North Carolina chapter.
He disclosed that as soon as all the candidates for the various political parties emerge, Ohanaeze would seek audience with them, look at their manifestos and lend support to the party that best protects the interest of Igbo.
“Whoever wants to be president will assure us that he will not stay in office for more than one term. The Igbo will get presidency in 2023. This neglect will be worked out. We will look at who will protect the interest of Ndigbo,” he insisted.
He also decried the neglect of Igbo under the current administration, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, frowning at the poor state of facilities at the Akanu Ibiam Airport Enugu, where he landed yesterday.
“The runway is despicable. The terminal building has been abandoned. The other one at the domestic wing has been carried by hurricane. To disembark from the international wing took us two hours,” Nwodo lamented.
He also condemned the punishment the Igbo were subjected to at the airport by Immigration and Customs officials who he accused of extorting money from them.
He lamented that the Customs and Immigration officials mete out inhuman and degrading treatments to Ndigbo at the airport, by always insisting on travellers to open their boxes containing personal effects, whereas, nobody does such in other international airports in Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Kaduna.
Nwodo was happy that Ndigbo residing in America are living peacefully. He said he was amazed to find an indigenous Igbo Catholic Church where the priest, the choir and the laity are pure Igbo natives.
He said there was no state or country outside Nigeria that has the number of Igbo residents as large as the one in North Carolina.
Speaking on the import of the reception, the President of Ohanaeze, Enugu State, Chief Alex Ogbonnaya, said it was Igbo tradition to accord such reception to a great man returning from a far journey.
He described Nwodo’s leadership as exemplary and unprecedented in the history of Ndigbo and said for the first time, the president general has been promoting handshake, not only across the Niger, but also South-South, Niger Delta and South-West.
On the issue of neglect, Ogbonnaya explained that Igbo operate a communal system and Ohanaeze intends to leverage on this by promoting “think home” philosophy, so that Ndigbo would re-organise themselves and realise their capacity to do things for themselves.