The Ohanaeze Ndigbo has stated that the Igbo would back only political parties and candidates with the interest of Ndigbo in their agenda in the 2019 general elections.
President General of the body, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, said that their support will only go to a presidential candidate with manifest programme that would address the multifarious interests and challenges confronting Ndigbo in Nigeria.
Nwodo spoke last week, at a reception organized by the Enugu Chapter of the group in his honour on arrival at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, after a trip to the United States of America, where he and his deputy went to inaugurate the South Carolina chapter of Ohanaeze.
“Ohanaeze is a non-political organization and the membership of Ohanaeze cuts across political lines. All Igbo are members of Ohanaeze from their town unions and they all exist in all the political parties, so I cannot be an agent of any political party.
“What is important to Ohanaeze is that before the election, all the political parties must sell their manifestoes to us so that we can advise the Igbo appropriately. The parties have not yet nominated their candidates; so, it is premature for me to begin to ask them what they have.
“When the candidates emerge, I will seek audience with them. First of all, I’ll want whoever becomes the next president of Nigeria to sign an undertaking, if he is not an Igbo man, that he will not stay for more than one tenure and that the next president of Nigeria will come to Igbo thereafter. That is the irreducible minimum for Ndigbo,” he said.
On the state of Akanu Ibiam International Airport Nwodo said, “Today I lost my temper at the Airport, because our people have an international airport that is not operational. I spoke to the President in Abakaliki about the state of Enugu Airport; the runway is in a despicable condition. The Ethiopian Airlines came to my house and complained to me with pictures.
“There were cracks in the runway, the new terminal building is abandoned, the one former President Jonathan renovated is not like anything anybody did anything to. Part of the annex was carried away by hurricane. The one there is in a very bad condition.
“In the international arrival where we used today, it took us two hours to get our luggage. First, the trucks that were going to bring them are in disuse, only one is working. Secondly, the punishment our people are given in the airport there, Immigration takes bribe from them, Customs takes bribe from them.
“There is nowhere in the world you have gone through an air transportation and you arrive in your place and the Customs will begin to ask you what are you carrying, because there is international agreement for carriage of goods. All dutiable goods are assessed at the point of shipment because they go through an x-tray.
“But people carry personal effects and reach Enugu airport and they tell them to open their box to see what they are carrying, nobody does it in Lagos, nobody does it in Abuja, nobody does it in Kaduna, nobody does it in Kano. But it is done here. A boy called S. I. Jubril of the Nigerian Customs was the one presiding over this rape of our people today and I chastised him,” he said.