Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, lost the support of the South-East the moment he abandoned zoning, from which he had primarily profited, according to Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene, National Vice President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
If Atiku had been one among those who insisted that 2023 was the South-turn East’s to produce the President, according to Okeke-Ogene, he would have been the greatest hero of modern-day Nigeria.
He told reporters in Awka on Tuesday that the PDP candidate would use the upcoming election as a chance to exact revenge for the sacrifices Ndigbo made for him in the previous election.
According to Okeke-Ogene, who also serves as Peter Obi/Ahmed Datti Presidential Campaign Committee’s South-East Zonal Coordinator, none of the two major political parties—the PDP nor the APC—could have fielded candidates from any other region other than the South-East.
He said, “If conscience is anything to go by, the two major political parties, couldn’t have field candidates from any other zone other than Southeast. Igbos are being persecuted by Buhari today because they gave Atiku during his last election 95 per cent votes.
“What former President Olusegun Obasanjo and others are doing today is what we had expected from Atiku who happens to be our in-law. That’s why it’s not good to vote according to sentiments.
“Atiku would have known that the entire South-East sacrificed their votes and interest for him and see this election as a payback time. He wouldn’t have engineered and funded the no zoning campaign because we voted for him based on zoning.
“Atiku would have been the greatest hero of our times if he had been in the fore front of championing it’s turn of the South-East. But if Atiku fails this election, he’ll go to the grave as unrepentant person, sorry to use that word, but it’s very unfortunate.”
Okeke-Ogene added that he was not worried over the perceived lack of support by the South-East governors for Peter Obi’s candidacy, insisting he was optimistic of LP’s victory, saying the era of a governor boasting of entire votes in his state was over.
“South-East governors are five persons with five votes. I have a family of five, so I have five votes. I can’t even guarantee that all of them will join me to vote for my candidate.
“The same way the votes of the governors belong to them. They may decide to cast it to Labour Party or elsewhere. Days are gone when one man will say, leave the entire South-East for me to deliver; it’s a joke.
“We’ve grown to the level that you can’t drag people like cow. Even today’s cow is resisting. For the past 27 years I’ve served Ohanaeze, I perceive the people’s odour and innuendo. They’re not voting for Obi because he’s an Igbo, but as a Nigerian project.
“Obi’s national acceptance is the first of its kind in Nigerian history, even Zik and Ojukwu didn’t enjoy such handshake across the Niger. But he’s having more than handshake. We’re even expecting handshake across Africa. It’s a divine intervention.
“The Igbo have voted for every tribe and zone in this country. That’s why people, including Obasanjo are speaking for us. They appreciate our pains and know they’re genuine. They are ready to carry our load,” Okeke-Ogene added.