After several hours meeting in his Abuja home, the umbrella body for the entire Igbo nation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, may have succeeded in prevailing on the former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, to shelve his 2015 presidential ambition.
Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, the president of the organisation, Gary Nnachi Enwo-Igariwey, disclosed that the discussion to persuade the former governor took more than six months, announcing triumphantly that they eventually reached an accord yesterday in Abuja.
Although the politician and astute businessman tacitly agreed to abide by the decision of the organisation concerning the 2015 presidential election, his countenance suggested that Dr. Kalu may be skeptical about dropping the ambition totally.
The Ohanaeze boss said: “We are here to discuss with the former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, on weighty issues concerning my people, the Igbo nation and Nigeria in general. I was here six months ago to discuss with him concerning the rumour about his presidential interest and I told him I would want to make it a formal discussion.
“So, today, I have come here in continuation of that discussion. After several hours meeting, I want to formally appeal to him to shelve his 2015 presidential ambition and join me in the discussion for Igbo unity so that we can speak with one voice.
“We no longer want a situation where we speak from different points. Our agenda should be the same and that was why I have come to rob minds with him especially on his presidential ambition for the interest of the Igbo nation.
“We want to appeal to him to join hands with us so that at the appropriate time, we will make our statements concerning the presidential election with one voice. As a nation, we will like a great son of his calibre to join in that decision-making.
“In the interest of peace, he should shelve the ambition until such decisions were made. He has given me his assurances that he would consider the appeal so that we speak with one voice in the interest of our people. We want to also mobilise him to stand on the side of the Igbo course and utilise his energy to unite Ndigbo,” he stated.
In his response, Dr. Kalu said: “Let me confirm that the President of Ohanaeze was here many months ago to appeal that he would want the Igbo to speak with one voice because it will not be in our interest to speak with divided voices. I want to really thank the president of Ohanaeze for his efforts in bringing peace in Igbo land and in ensuring that the elite in Igbo speak with one voice.
“I am sure we kept you so long during the many hours we dialogued, trying to see how best we can agree. Since a tree cannot make a forest, if the apex Igbo organisation decided that they don’t want any of their sons to contest presidential election, we will hold on, work with them and see what they will do. I will not be the saboteur to sacrifice my tribe.
“I consider whatever they have agreed as superior. I have to abide by their decision because I believe they have their reason for resolving so. Their reason might be more superior to what I think. It is not only the Ohanaeze that have been making the appeal, there were so many other Igbo elite, sons and daughters both in government and the private sector.”
“The appeals have come from Lagos, Abuja and the Diaspora. Since it is like that, who am I to say no to their appeals. I cannot turn down the appeal from Ohanaeze because I don’t have anywhere to run to for support. So long as we will not derail, I will abide by our discussion which I don’t want to make public.
“I will not contest for presidency because the Igbo must speak with one voice and I won’t divide the Igbo nation. I hold the Ohanaeze in high esteem and I want to make it clear that we don’t have any other faction of the organisation. We have only one Ohanaeze.”