The Ohanaeze Ndigbo has directed Igbos to cast their votes for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, in the February 16 presidential election.

The endorsement of the former vice president was announced by the President General of the Igbo socio-political group, John Nwodo, in a statement released on Thursday, January 24, 2019 after a meeting of the Ime Obi, the group’s highest decision-making council.

He noted that the decision was carefully made in consideration of many issues, especially in regards to the plans of candidates on the restructuring of the federation.

 Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo President, John Nwodo

The group also noted that Atiku’s choice of Peter Obi, a former Anambra State governor, as his running mate gives the Igbos an opportunity for inclusivity in government.

The statement read, “After a critical and dispassionate appraisal of the issues and the visible fault lines in our polity, including the analysis of the election manifestos of the various parties, especially with regards to the restructuring of the federation and continued relevance of our people in the Nigerian geopolitical space, the meeting resolved as follows:

“That Ohenaeze remains the apex socio-cultural organisation that works for the interest of the Igbo in and outside Nigeria. It attempts to aggregate the views of all other Igbo platforms.

“Ohanaeze notes particularly that a major political party (PDP) by the nomination of our son, Peter Obi as the vice presidential candidate, has given Ndigbo an opportunity for inclusivity. Ndigbo must seize the moment.

“That the presidential candidate of PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has made an avowed commitment to restructuring of the federation and reconfirmed same during his recent visit to the United States in his meetings with high-level US officials.

“In consideration of the above and other relevant existential factors pertaining to the treatment of the Igbo in our polity, the Ime Obi Ohanaeze, therefore, hereby ratifies the decision reached at the Ohanaeze National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held in Enugu on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 to adopt the Atiku Abubakar/Peter Obi ticket in the 2019 presidential election.

“Ime Obi therefore endorses and embraces fully this ticket without equivocation, especially with regards to the position of Ndigbo at the Awka Declaration, which insisted on a complete restructuring of the Nigerian polity.”

The group urged Igbos to use their voters’ cards as a potent tool to ensure “a restructured polity and for a better society”.

2019 presidential race

The Ohanaeze’s endorsement of Atiku is a boost as he goes toe-to-toe with incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the polls next month.

They both face competition from 70 other candidates including Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Progressive Party (YPP)Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), and Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC).

Others are Tope Fasua of the Abundance Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP)Eunice Atuejide of the National Interest Party (NIP)Adesina Fagbenro-Byron of the Kowa Party (KP)Chike Ukaegbu of the Advanced Allied Party (AAP)Hamza Al-Mustapha of the People’s Party of Nigeria (PPN)Obadiah Mailafia of the African Democratic Congress (ADC),Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim of Peoples Trust (PT) and many more.