The controversy over the recent comments by former Governor of Imo State, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, against the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, is not over as a coalition of pro-Obi groups in Abia State has given conditions for Ihedioha to be forgiven.
Obi’s supporters, who staged a protest on Monday in Umuahia, said the former governor must publish unreserved apologies to Ndigbo on national dailies and via national television and radio houses before his apologies would be accepted.
The group, which met on the platform of Coalition for Peter Obi (CPO), expressed disappointment and shock over the remarks credited to Ihedioha.
Ihedioha had, in a viral video while addressing his Mbaise kinsmen during their New Yam festival in Ghana, allegedly said that “any Igbo who votes for Obi or against Atiku Abubakar of the PDP is a saboteur.”
He was also quoted as saying that only PDP and APC are the serious political parties in Nigeria, and that only the emergence of Atiku as Nigeria’s President in 2023 would pave way for the actualisation of a President of Igbo extraction thereafter.
The former Speaker, House of Representatives, has since denied making such remarks, claiming that he was quoted out of context.
However, Obi’s supporters have dismissed the denial as an afterthought and cosmetic, insisting that the former governor’s remark was “a general insult to Ndigbo and millions of Nigerian youths who believe in Obi.”
The coalition, which gathered opposite Umuahia North Local Government headquarters, had placards with various inscriptions such as: “Ihedioha must atone for his sins,” “We are disappointed in Ihedioha,” “Ihedioha is the real saboteur” among others.
They said it was too shameful that a former governor and a high profile Igbo politician who had hitherto been held in high esteem could easily speak against the interest of his fellow Igbo because of selfish gains.
Speaking during the protest, Abia State Coordinator of CPI, Madam Matilda Anyamele, said that Ihedioha had lost the goodwill of Nigerian youths who had all along thought he was for the masses.
She said that the anti-Obi comment had revealed his true identify as a self-centred politician, who could easily sacrifice the interest of his people for a pot of portage.
“His comments are products of selfishness, sabotage of his own people and a confirmation of his love for stomach infrastructure,” she said.
The coalition declared that the swelling nation-wide support for Obi was based on his antecedents, and vowed to mobilise voters for him in 2023.
CPO cautioned Igbo politicians against unguarded utterances against Obi’s political ambition, declaring that the masses are ready for a political revolution that would give birth to a new Nigeria in 2023.
According to the coalition the two major political parties in the country have both failed Nigerians, hence, the growing clamour for change and a new normal.