From Raphael Ede, and
Magnus Eze, Enugu
The endorsement of Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Atiku Abubakar and his running mate Mr Peter Obi, by Igbo highest decision making body, Imeobi Ohanaeze has continued to generate bad blood among Igbo leaders, as Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, has taken the matter personal with Chief Nnia Nwodo, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, allegedly calling him an “idiot”.
Nwodo, President General of the apex-Igbo social-cultural body and the highest decision-making authority of Ndigbo, had signed the resolution that publicly endorsed the PDP’s ticket for the February 16 presidential election, a move that was promptly rejected by the government of Anambra State, which said it did not reflect its views.
An apparently angry Obiano, who had vowed to deliver Anambra votes to President Muhammadu Buhari in the coming election, resulted to name calling. Nwodo, who recounted the shocking encounter of the incident, made through a phone call from the governor, which is circulating in the social media, said he had decided to go public over the matter “so that the Igbo would know who is idiot amongst both of us.”
Nwodo’s account: “Your Excellency Governor Obiano, I was surprised to receive a call from you a few minutes ago in which you said the following words “Nnia, I didn’t know that you were so idiotic”
“I am shocked that you can be so insolent. I am sure that I was not so idiotic when I addressed your State Assembly asking Ndi Anambra to disregard the IPOB boycott of your election nor was I idiotic when I pleaded with the Commander-in-Chief to restore your security details.
“History will judge who amongst us is idiotic. If standing with the popular wish of Ndigbo makes me idiotic I am happy to be called an idiot.
“I will make this communication public so that Igbo will know who is idiotic amongst both of us.”
Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to Chief Nwodo on Media and Productivity, Chief Emeka Attamah, has confirmed the social media report.
In a related development, two ministers in the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari have faulted the Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s endorsement of Atiku for the February election.
They also berated the group for fixing the meeting of the Imeobi, a key organ of the apex Igbo body, on a day the president was at the tomb of the first President of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, in Onitsha, Anambra state, to honour the great hero with the inauguration of Ziks’ mausoleum, saying it was not only a slight on the president, but also a desecration of the late icon.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, expressed regret that former governors of Abia state, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, his Enugu state counterpart, Sullivan Chime, former Senate President, Ken Nnamani and APC ministers and chieftains from the South East, who are statutorily members of the Imeobi were excluded in the meeting by its timing.
He said: “It was totally inappropriate to have a meeting of the Ohanaeze to discuss such a weighty issue as to who the Igbo should endorse for these elections. Even assuming that the meeting could be legally convened, it clearly was not the time to hold such a meeting and the result is that a very significant number of the membership of Ohanaeze were otherwise occupied by the visit of Mr President to Anambra and Enugu states and incidentally as has been said here; he was in Anambra to inaugurate a mausoleum for the Zik of Africa that was in the building for 23 years before the president on ascendency to office completed it.”
“Some have attributed that to mischief but for me, there is no way that a decision taken in those circumstances can be considered to be a decision for the Igbo,” Onyeama declared.