This is coming after the apex Igbo group congratulated President Buhari on his victory despite endorsing the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, as its preferred presidential candidate.
Speaking on the president’s victory at the just concluded presidential poll, the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Uche Achi-Okpaga, told VINCET KALU, that the organization doesn’t owe anybody apology over its position, and that if another opportunity comes, it will still do the same as the president doesn’t place premium on the Igbo.
Is Ohanaeze disappointed over the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in last Saturday’s poll?
I want to come form a different angle. We have done what we needed to do as Nigerians; the rest is left for God and humanity.The election has come and gone, and what follows are the intricacies of the politicians. It is left for them to accept or reject the outcome of the election as usual. In 2015, former President Goodluck Jonathan congratulated the winner, Buhari, but this time around, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has already rejected the result, and that one is no longer the business of Ohanaeze.
Our business was to take a stand and galvanise our people on the way to follow, and we have done that, and we exercised our mandate. So, it is left for the politicians and Nigerians to do their business.
Is Ohanaeze satisfied with the votes the Igbo gave the Atiku-Obi ticket?
In politics, everybody cannot be on the same line, otherwise it won’t be politics; there will always be divergent views and majority will always carry the day. That was what transpired in the South East, where the voting was very transparent, but elsewhere particularly in the North, you cannot say the same.
We never expected 100 per cent of Ndigbo would follow our directives on where to vote. Even in a family, the husband may disagree with the wife, and the children with their parents; it is a natural thing, but the important thing is that in all the South East states, our views were adhered to and people followed us as reflected in the votes.
We have our people who are in government as ministers, we have governors who were not in agreement with us and we have others who would want to do what they could in order to retain their positions and would want to dissent from our understanding. These people have followers who would go according to their instructions. The overall aggregation of votes tells you that the Igbo heard us and identified with us.
How will you relate with Buhari in the next four years when you openly worked against his re-election?
We don’t have any regrets whatsoever and we don’t owe anybody any apology. If we have another opportunity as Ohanaeze, we will still do what we have done. This government doesn’t place any premium on Ndigbo, so we did what we have to and dammed the consequences; we are sure that even if Buhari rules for eight years, he has no place for us, so why are we deceiving ourselves.
He is a very practical person, he doesn’t have pretenses, and there is no choreography in his action. He has told you that he has no place for the people that gave him five per cent votes, and it has continued to be so in his appointments, in his statements, in his actions and his body language. Do you want the man to kill himself before you know what he has in mind or does he have to use razor blade to open his heart for you to see it? He has continued to show it at any given time, and at any slightest opportunity he will display his action and what he has in mind. So what else do we do?
We are not regretting the action we have taken and if you start it afresh tomorrow, we will do the same; we are not regretting it.
But this time around, there is no question of five percent, as he scored 25 percent or more in some South East states, don’t you think that he will give the Igbo a better treatment?
We don’t give a damn. With the man we already knew, there is no shaking. I just pity Igbo who think that the man will turn back and look at them. It is not possible to learn how to use the left hand at old age.
Did the coming together of Ohanaeze, Afenifere, PANDEF and Middle Belt Forum based on restructuring and support for Atiku yield dividends?
Yes, as reflected in the voting pattern.
You don’t need to be told, Nigerians are down and dejected; they have been pushed to the wall.
We started this issue of restructuring in Ohanaeze as a way out of the myriad of problems facing the country. Nigerians are downtrodden.
We own this country together and we are beginning to see Nigeria as George Orwell’s Animal Farm, where some animals have become more superior to others.
If we carry out the restructuring we are clamoring for, the North will have an advantage more than the South because of their vast land mass and their agricultural inclination. Unfortunately, they refuse to see that when you restructure, it is to their own advantage.
If we don’t restructure the country, it will continue to be like a stationery machine – all motion and no movement. It is power all the time; who has the power, who doesn’t have the power and who wants to take the power, while the economy is nosediving on daily basis.