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• Group pledges to raise N3trn for campaign
From Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia
Three South-East groups, World Igbo Youth Movement, Igbo Students’ Forum and Igbo Diaspora Women, have shortlisted seven names, out of 20 indigenes of South-East Zone from various political parties, as candidates who are most qualified to contest and win the 2019 presidential election in fulfillment of the Igbo presidency project.
Those shortlisted include Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, former Abia State governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and former Senate president, Chief Ken Nnamani, all of who are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Others are Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, former governor of Anambra State, Chief Peter Obi and Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika (retd.), all of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Also shortlisted is United Progressive Party (UPP) chieftain, Chief Chekwas Okorie.
The groups also promised to raise N3 trillion for the campaign of any candidate of Igbo extraction who emerges as the flag bearer of any of the political parties in the presidential election come 2019.
They said mobilisation was on top gear and shall be fully kicked off on October 1, when they would shortlist the last three persons who shall fly the flag of the political parties on behalf of Ndigbo.
This is contained in a communiqué issued by three South-East groups after their meeting in Enugu.
The communique signed by Mazi Alex Okemiri of the World Igbo Youth Council, Prof. Helen Ogbonna, Igbo Diaspora Women Professionals and Comrade Obi Izuo of the Igbo Students’ Forum, stated that out of 21 persons shortlisted earlier, seven scaled through in the screening exercise they carried out.
The group said there was no going back on the issue of Igbo presidency project in 2019.
The Communique read in part: “We met today in Enugu to review our earlier stand on the 2019 presidency as well as other burning issues in the polity and firmly took the following decisions:
“That there is no going back on the Igbo presidency project as it remains the only way to appease Ndigbo and ensure equity, justice and fairness in the scheme of things in Nigeria.
“Out of the 21 persons earlier shortlisted for the position, the following persons have now scaled through a screening process by a special committee set up for that task.
“For the All Progressives Congress (APC), we have Governor Rochas Okorocha, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu and Chief Ken Nnamani; Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – Chief Ike Ekweremadu, Chief Peter Obi and Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, (red.); United Progressive Party (UPP), Chief Chekwas Okorie.”
The group said they arrived at the decision by considering the track records of the candidates, their health status and viability in terms of governance.
“As we said earlier, the possible candidates should not bother about the campaign fund as over N3 trillion shall be mobilised from the diaspora for the project. So, we want to re-assure our people that the resources to achieve this project will be available through sons and daughters of Igbo land abroad. Mobilisation is on top gear and shall be fully kicked off on October 1, 2017, when we will shortlist the last three persons that shall fly the flag of the above parties on behalf of Ndigbo.
They warned that no Igbo man should accept to work as a campaign manager for any other candidate from other regions.
Reviewing the case of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, the groups warned that any attempt to re-arrest him would spell doom for the country.
“We caution Nigeria may cease to exist if Nnamdi Kanu is re-arrested. This may also be the fate of the country if the planned October 1 massacre is carried out against Ndigbo living in the North. Arab spring is starring us in the face with the current genocide being packaged to take place in the North,” the group warned.