Obiora Okonkwo, United Nigeria Airline chairman who serves as the state director-general of the Atiku Okowa Campaign Organisation, made the statement in Awka, Anambra State on Wednesday, November 23, 2022, said that the easiest and shortest way for an Igbo man to become the president of Nigeria is for Atiku Abubakar to be president in 2023.
“Atiku Abubakar and the PDP is the shortest feasible route for an Igbo to be president in Nigeria in view of the present realities on the ground,” Okonkwo said. “This may be difficult to accept for certain people in the South East for the time being, but it remains the only logical path for an Igbo political renaissance in Nigeria and easy election to the presidency in the next 4-8 years.”
This is a notion that was discredited back in September by Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide when the organisation chided former Vice President Atiku Abubakar for urging Igbos to step down for him.
According to Dr Okonkwo, the South East and Ndi-Igbo currently need their reconnection to the National Grid by having genuine reconciliation and forging strategic alliances with other regions of the country.
He said their alignment with Atiku Abubakar is never for selfish gain but for the collective interest of the South East and Ndi-Igbo. Obiora said that no particular region can produce the president without the support of other regions, noting that the South East should support Atiku for good.
“It will be dangerous for the South-East to be isolated and abandoned in the opposition for another 8 years in our nation’s democracy and the only person who will integrate the Igbo is Atiku,” he said.
He urged the south-east as a region to collectively support and vote for PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in 2023.
“It is obvious that the South-East region and Ndi-Igbo are treated like lepers under the APC. It is quite instructive for the South-East and Ndi-Igbo to be rational and strategic with their votes and support to help other parts of the country unseat the APC and reinstate the PDP while we will have to enjoy more stake to produce the President post-2023,” he said.
According to Obiora, in order for the south-east to achieve greater success, they must make sacrifices that would strengthen the region as a whole and reawaken the republican and tenacious spirit in them.
“We must make sacrifices that will build on the successes that the South-East and North have already achieved through strategic alliance in the past,” he said.
According to him, among the promises of the Atiku-Okowa joint ticket is the assurance that Nigeria will be restructured and Atiku will ensure true federalism to replicate the development associated with Ndi-Igbo in the Third Republic.
“We urge Ndi-Igbo, the intellectual, leaders of thoughts of the South-East, to put their faith in our choice to support Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 election. We are confident that it will serve the interests of our people and region and that our efforts will be recognized and appreciated after 2023,” he stated.
Atiku’s Claim Of Being Stepping-stone To Igbo Presidency Laughable, Diversionary, Says Ohanaeze
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday, (September 29, 2022) took a swipe at a statement credited to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, claiming that his presidency would be a stepping-stone to Igbo Presidency, describing his claim as laughable and diversionary.
Atiku had, few days ago in Enugu, where he met party stakeholders from the zone, noted that Igbo Presidency would come from him being president of the country.
But, Ohanaeze, in a statement in Abakaliki, through its Secretary General, Okechukwu Isiguzoro, queried how Atiku can claim to be a stepping stone to a futuristic Igbo Presidency when Nigerians, united across ethno-religious lines, overwhelmingly support Peter Obi, the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, for the 2023 general elections.
He maintained that all polls conducted, so far, show that Obi is cruising to victory, not as an Igbo presidential candidate, but as the real unifier of all the zones that make up the country.”
The statement reads: “Ohanaeze wishes to state that the statement of Atiku, the presidential candidate of PDP in Enugu two days ago, that his presidency would be ‘a stepping-stone’ to Igbo Presidency is laughable and diversionary.
“How can Atiku claim such when Nigerians, united across ethno-religious lines, overwhelmingly support Obi for president of Nigeria, in 2023, not based on ethnicity, but because what he represents is hope for a new Nigeria.
“Foremost Nigerian thought leader and aviation entrepreneur, as well as former Chairman/CEO, 7STAR Hangar/Airlines, Isaac Balami, captured the mood of the nation, two days ago, when he said he was endorsing Obi based on 3Cs — Competence, Credibility and Capacity.
“In terms of competence, credibility and capacity, Obi is in a world of his own. Neither Atiku nor Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC, comes close to him.
“Sincerely, Nigerians are really yearning for a Third Force Presidency due to their terrible experience under APC and PDP governments since 1999.”