By Sunday Ani
Leader of pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo has warned there would be no Nigeria if the presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi is not voted into power on February 25.
Adebanjo said voting Obi remained the best option for the country as its candidature was just, fair and equitable and in respect of the agreement that binds Nigeria.
He made the statement, yesterday, in Lagos at the celebration of life and times of late President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Prof. George Obiozor.
Adebanjo said he was pained by Obiozor’s death at a time Nigerians were in a battle to save the country from the oppression of many years.
He also lampooned the Igbo for not throwing their financial weight behind Obi’s presidential quest.
“Forget Nigeria if you don’t vote for Obi. I am not boasting and it is not a threat. When we say we must come together, is it by cheating one of us? Is that equity, justice and peace?”
The Afenifere leader described Obiozor as a great Nigerian who was committed to the country’s unity.
“These days, I don’t fancy those who talk about united Nigeria in peace without action to back it up. Many people, even among the Igbo, pay lip service to a united Nigeria because of their selfish interest; Obiozor was not one of them. Obiozor was a distinguished scholar, an ambassador par excellence, an intellectual of international repute, and a qualified and distinguished Nigerian. When you want to mention the people who give this country recognition and respect, how can you not mention George; he is one of our prides. He shouldn’t have gone now because we are in the middle of a great battle. Unfortunately, the Igbo are not giving Obi financial support. I am challenging you openly; you have not been giving Obi the financial support. Those of us supporting him are poor people. I know that you people are billionaires. This is the time to spend your money for a good cause. Obi must not suffer anything financially in this cause when he has you people. It is a great shame and that is one of the reasons I am missing Obiozor; a man of courage; a man who will call a spade a spade; very diplomatic, courageous and distinguished in character. I hope there are more of him in Igbo land, who will contribute to this struggle to keep Nigeria a united country in peace.”
Adebanjo said the Nigeria president of Igbo extraction in 2023 was a cause that all must fight for, and that the Igbo should not be shy about it as it was their constitutional right and not a favour.
He also warned Nigerians to prepare for post election crisis, saying, “In giving tribute to Obiozor, you must be prepared for a post election crisis. But, whoever causes or initiates it, must not get away with it.”
In his tribute, Senator Mike Ajaegbu described Obiozor as the Moses of our time. He said: “Moses led the isrealites out of Egypt but he did not get to the Promised Land before he died. In the same vein, Obiozor has led the Igbo this far before his death, and surely we are getting there.
Gen. Ike Nwachukwu (Retd) in his tribute lamented that even though Obiozor was no more, his spirit lives with the Igbo. He described Obiozor as a courageous man who could speak truth to power at all times.
He also lamented how some Igbo are still considering whether to vote for Obi or not, charging those sitting on the fence to rise up and join the fight to rescue Nigeria.
It was a day of tributes for the late diplomats as personalities cutting across ethnic and religious divides were all on hand to pay their last respect to the Ohanaeze chieftain.