The Ogun State Chapter of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo has declared that the group will only vote for a candidate who is ready to protect its interest.
The Global Treasurer of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and Eze Ndigbo one of Ogun State, Eze Willy Ejimnkeoye, disclosed this at a press briefing which was held at the Eze Ndigbo palace, in Ogun State.
According to Eze Ejimnkeoye, the Eze Ndigbo would hold a town hall meeting for all candidates in order to carefully select a chosen candidate to be endorsed.
He added that the group would let the cat out of the bag on the choice of the presidential candidate it would endorse when the time comes.
Ejimnkeoye also clarified that the group had yet to support any governorship candidate in the state, saying that it would endorse a candidate when the Independent National Electoral Commission, pastes the final list of the state governorship candidates.
He, therefore, advised the governorship candidates to ignore any Igbo or non-indigene peddling the endorsement of any party governorship candidate by the group.
He also said that the group would hold a general meeting, where Igbo residents in the state would converge to deliberate on who to endorse among the candidates.
He said, “the Ndigbo and Niger Delta eligible voters in Ogun State have come to the decision to vote bloc for candidates of our choice that are able to convince us of their determination to protect our people and remove all types of discrimination in the distributions of social amenities, education, health, tax and political and career appointments.
“We are seizing this opportunity to invite to town hall meetings all the governorship candidates of All Progressives Congress, Peoples Democratic Party, Labour Party and others.
“They should come and tell us what each of them has in store to protect our interests if they are elected in the fast-approaching 2023 general elections.
“The Ndigbo and Niger Delta communities living in Ogun State will endorse a governorship candidate that convinces us and is more popular among our peoples.
“I want to categorically inform the general public and all stakeholders in Ogun State that we, the Igbo of Southeast and indigenes of South-south region living and doing our businesses in Ogun State will meet through various cells of our township associations to decide on any governorship candidate for our endorsement.
“We as the EzeNdigbo of Ogun State are yet to convene a general meeting where all Igbo residents first and foremost would assembly in my palace to deliberate on all governorship candidates of all political parties contesting in the governorship election in 2023.
“We want to tell the whole world that this decision would not be taken until the INEC pastes the final list of all the candidates of all the political parties contesting for the governorship election in Ogun State.
“We shall not deliberate on the suitability of any candidate at this stage until the town hall meetings are held with the governorship candidates of all political parties.
However, he acknowledged and appreciated the incumbent governor of the state, Dapo Abiodun, for his contributions to the development of the state in the last three and half years in office.
Meanwhile, he said that the decision to choose who to endorse would be in “the spirit of fair play.”
He added, “we acknowledge the good work of the incumbent governor, His Excellency, Dapo Abiodun, since the last three and half years of his reign in Ogun State. It would only be fair that we, Ndigbo and Niger Deltans living in Ogun State should tarry until we have the opportunity to weigh all our options before we reach a decision to endorse any governorship candidate in the spirit of fair play.
“We want to seize this opportunity to warn all the candidates of all political parties to be wary of any Igbo or non-indigene residents in Ogun State peddling the endorsement of any party governorship candidate. We reiterate that no governorship candidate is yet to be endorsed,” he warned.
He, therefore, urged residents to get their Permanent Voter Cards, advising politicians to campaign without violence.
He stressed that insecurity, and killings among others should be out of it.
He said, “We further want to plead with politicians and candidates to run issue-based campaigns that are without political thuggery, violence and acrimony.
“The country is already experiencing enough insecurity, killings, banditry, kidnapping, terrorism, and other violent crimes; political violence should be out of it. We urge them to play politics without bitterness.
“We also seize this opportunity to encourage the INEC, to make adequate preparation to ensure free, fair, and credible 2023 general elections. We are happy and ready to support INEC in introducing the electronic transfer of election results, and bio-metric accreditation of voters during elections.
“We appeal to all stakeholders to cooperate with the INEC in order to have peaceful and credible elections for a smooth transition of power in 2023.
“We are voting this time, it’s not like before, we’ve been singing it to their ears to get their PVCs, nothing would stop us from doing our civic right.”