…says all presidential candidates free to campaign in S’East
The pan-Igbo socio- cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide led by Ambassador Professor George Obiozor, has declared that every political party and presidential candidate is free to campaign in South East geo-political zone of the country. Ohanaeze urges youths in the region to eschew ethnic chauvinism as the 2023 general elections draw nearer.
The Ohanaeze admonition was in reaction to a statement issued by Igbo youths under the auspices of the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL). The group as quoted by some newspapers recently “warned groups and individuals promoting the presidential ambition of Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu to stay clear of the zone”. But in a statement signed on behalf of Obiozor by the national Publicity Secretary, Dr. Alex Ogbonnia and released to journalists in Enugu on Friday, Ohanaeze acknowledges the inalienable rights of individuals and groups to express their views on national issues but advises that such rights should not infringe on the rights of other Nigerian citizens. “Clarification is made that each of the presidential candidates has every right to campaign and canvass for votes in all parts of the country.
“In other words, since the presidential candidates of the South East or Igbo extraction enjoy untrammeled access and mass followership in other geopolitical zones of the country, it is a political self-immolation and indeed highly unreflective for COSEYL to embark on a misstep that may diminish the Igbo patina for inter-ethnic friendliness. “Emphasis is further drawn that the statement by the COSEYL is at variance with the Igbo character of liberality, hospitality, frontier spirit and accommodation of diverse interests. The South East constituency has sufficient political awareness or enlightenment to assess the presidential candidates as they visit the South East to market their manifestoes and canvass for votes.’’ The apex Igbo group further stated that it was a subversion of democratic process and indeed a potent source of national crises for candidates to perceive threats or hostility from groups within the country.