I million Igbo will welcome Buhari to Imo Thursday, says Ohanaeze Worldwide
Says IPOB can’t stop massive turnout for President
By Daniel Okorocha, Owerri
Ahead of President Mohammadu Buhari’s scheduled Thursday visit to Imo State, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has said it has mobilized no fewer than one million people to welcome Nigeria’s President. The group said it has already mobilised door-to-door to ensure massive welcome for Buhari
The group said the stay-at-home order by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, (IPOB) will not deter millions of Igbo people from across the world to welcome the Nigerian President. IPOB had described the President’s visit as unnecessary asking residents of Imo State to stay at home. IPOB said the visit of the President at a time the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu was in detention undermines any assumption that Buhari is in love with the Igbo ethnic group. In recent months, IPOB has shown its strength through its effective stay-at home orders.
In the statement signed by Deputy President General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Dim Uche Okwukwu, a lawyer and made available to Irohinoodua decried the IPOB order for Imo people to boycott the Thursday September 9 presidential visit to the Igbo heartland as misplaced.
“We urge all Imolites and residents of Imo State to completely ignore and disregard the purported order, or any illegal order, capable of portraying Imo people and the larger Igbo population as hostile to the exalted Office of the President of the Federal Republic. We encourage all to come out en mass and welcome the President” Okwukwu said in the statement.
He said President Buhari is a friend and defender of Ndigbo. Chief Okwukwu said “Contrary to the blind outbursts from certain quarters, he gave Igbo sons and daughters key posts in his government. Eng. Ibe Kachukwu was his Petroleum Minister. Dr Chris Ngige remains the Minister of Labour and Employment. Chief Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is the first Nigerian to serve as Minister of Transportation while Dr Ogbonnaya Onu serves as Minister of Science and Technology, all in President Buhari’s government.”
He said in the security structures of Nigeria, President Buhari made the Igbo-born General Lucky Eluonye Onyenuchea Irabor his Chief of Defence Staff.
“We could go on. Since 2015 President Buhari has retained an Igbo man called Godwin Emefiele as Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria. Any man who hates you can never trust you with the key to Nigerian treasure house. Only a true friend of Ndigbo can do that” he said.
Okwukwu is the Deputy President General Ohanaeze said Igbo never voted for President Buhari in 2015 and 2019 but that he still carries the Igbo along infrastructure wise.
He said Buhari “is building the Second Niger Bridge to facilitate human and commercial movements. He is interested in building pioneer Multi-Disciplinary University at Ubima and deep sea port in Bonny, all in Rivers State. The badly damaged Port Harcourt-Enugu Express Road is currently receiving positive attention from President Buhari. He has done us well. So we must come out to welcome him to Imo State.’
Ohanaeze said the Igbo must also accept the fact that there is nothing Imo people can do between now and January 2024 when they will go to the poll and reelect or replace the Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma.
“But as lovers of progress, we must support him in hosting the President. We must do everything in our power to maintain the peace while our August visitor from Abuja is in Igboland. We must be good host and never contemplate any boycott capable of reminding other Nigerians that they once went to war against us. Indeed, we must turn the presidential visit into a bridge-building opportunity capable of convincing Nigerians to zone the 2023 presidency to Ndigbo,”Okwukwu said. Ohanaeze has been factionalised into two with one group opposed to President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, (APC)