Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Joe Nwaorgu, on Friday said the body has no regrets over its decision to back former President Goodluck Jonathan, in the 2015 presidential election.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex socio-political organisation of the Igbo, endorsed Jonathan, the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, in the election, which was eventually won by Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress.
Majority of the Igbo also voted for Jonathan and the PDP in the polls, which saw Buhari and the APC recording fewer votes in the South-East.
Political analysts believe that the bloc votes for Jonathan was a grave miscalculation on the part of the Igbo, as it cost the South-East a place in national mainstream politics.
Also, there are insinuations that the decision not to vote for Buhari was among the reasons for the alleged marginalisation of the South-East in key appointments made by the President, who reportedly said he will not treat those who did not vote for him the same way he will do those who voted him into power.
“Constituencies that gave me 97 per cent cannot in all honesty be treated, on some issues, (same way) with constituencies that gave me five per cent,” Buhari reportedly said during a visit to the United States in July.
But Ohanaeze Ndigbo has said it has no regrets for refusing to support Buhari.
Ohanaeze scribe, Nwaorgu, who spoke to journalists in Enugu ahead of the expiration of the tenure of the current National Executive Committee of the body, which would vacate office in January 2017, said the travails of the Igbo under Buhari’s administration had vindicated Ohanaeze’s outright rejection of the President.
Speaking to journalists in company of some other Ohanaeze chieftains, Nwaorgu said, “The Igbo have been having problems with the Federal Government since the end of the civil war, problems of neglect by successive administrations, but the problems have exacerbated under Buhari.
“He (Buhari) has been unfair to us – in his first 32 appointments, he gave 24 to northerners, seven to southerners, and out of these seven to southerners, there was none to the South-East.
“Nothing has changed, the ministerial appointments he has given us are our constitutional entitlements but who he places where is clear. The super ministers are there.
“It has been very bad for the Igbo since 1970 but the situation has exacerbated under Buhari and his attitude and utterances are not helping matters. In fact, Buhari is even acting to provoke us into taking a wrong step, to give him a reason to clamp down on us.”
The Ohanaeze Secretary General explained why the body rejected Buhari.
He said Buhari has always been unfair to the Igbos.
“We know him very well, during his first outing from 1983 to 1985, what did he do? Shagari, number one person (in the previous civilian administration was placed under) house arrest, Ekwueme, the number two, who has no constitutional functions (was sent to) prison. Igbo took note. He came out again as Executive Director, Petroleum Trust Fund, what did he do? Have you checked the allocations of PTF? Sixty-six per cent of all our petroleum money went to the North-West, his zone. He gave us (South-East) 6.2 per cent.
“With that pedigree, what will encourage people to say please come on? If we had said come on it would have put us in a poor shape that we can’t analyze well. We analyzed well, and we have been vindicated,” the Ohanaeze Ndigbo chieftain said.
Nwaorgu went ahead to state the reasons behind Ohanaeze’s decision to support Jonathan in the presidential election.
According to him, the decision was informed by a need to mend relations with the South-South, which together with the South-East was part of the old Eastern Region.