Ohaneze Ndigbo, a respected Igbo socio-cultural group, has advised southeasterners and Igbo youths in general, to disembark from tribal politics, in the light of the 2023 elections.
The Igbo group warned Igbo youths, never to be political apathists, who refused to take part in electoral processes, and in doing so, never step on the toes of people, who do not support the candidate that they would like to see elected.
Chidozie Alex Ogbonnia, the publicity secretary, while speaking on the International youth day, on Friday, gave the charge to Igbo youths, all across the country. “In a statement, Ohaneze urged all young people of Igbo descent to abstain from “ethnic blind patriotism.”
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Reacting to a statement made by the Coalition of South East Youth leaders (COSEYL), warning that no Igbo support, campaign or vote for the All Progressive Congress, presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Ohanaze warned those imposing their preferred candidate on others, to desist from such practice.
In their statement, The supreme Igbo group said “The Ohaneze Ndigbo worldwide, anchored by Ambassador Professor George Obiozor enjoins all youths, in the south easterner geo-political zone of this country, to abstain from blind patriotism, because of the ethnic group, a candidate comes from, just as we await the 2023 elections”.
In their words to COSEYL, the Igbo group who was quoted by the Guardian newspaper on August 10th 2022, warning that no person or sort of group, endorsing the Candidature of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will be entertained in the southeast. COSEYL also described those supporting Tinubu as Unfortunate and wondered why anyone would even support a man who is old-fashioned and doesn’t know how things are done in modern times.
Ohaneze further added that since people from other geo-political zones could support an eastern candidate, then an easterner had the right to support a preferred candidate from another region. Ohaneze pleaded with youths from the east not to destabilize the electoral process or bring bitterness through their behaviour.
“Ohaneze Ndigbo agrees that people and groups have a basic right to say what they think about important national issues, but we have warned them not to do so in a way that breaks the law or hurts other people’s rights.
Even though we agree with these rights, we have asked that they be respected. Let it be known that every presidential candidate is allowed by law to campaign and do door-to-door work anywhere in the country.” If Peter Obi, a presidential candidate from the south-east, has unrestricted access to and significant support in other parts of Nigeria, then COSEYL’s decision to make this mistake, which could hurt the Igbo aureole for friendship between different ethnic groups, is both self-persecution and reckless.