The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) on Wednesday, warned the Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, against blackmailing and railroading the North on the alter of ethnic and identity politics, IgbereTV reports
This was contained in a statement issued on Wednesday, by the forum’s Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in Abuja while responding to an earlier statement credited to a faction of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
Baba-Ahmed said, “The Northern Elders Forum is shocked at the statement released by Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Mazi Okechukwu Isuguzoro, in a language that is both irresponsible and damaging to its own interests.
“Mazi Isiguzoro singles out the North as the bastion of ethnic and religious politics while he unashamedly campaigns for Igbo presidency, complete with the threat that Nigeria will not be secure and united unless an Igbo President emerges.
“This damaging de-marketing of the prospects of an Igbo President will be hard to surpass.
“Nigerians and Northerners, in particular, will not be impressed or blackmailed into making choices that are not informed by their interests. On the contrary, they will notice that the apex Igbo organisation is virtually subverting one of its own, and blaming the rest of the country for the postures of political candidates.
“For clarity, it should be emphasised that Northern voters will not be stampeded or threatened by Ohanaeze Ndigbo. The North can identify ethnic and religious politics and will see it clearly in this statement coming from Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
“The Northern Elders Forum appeals to leaders and elders to show maturity and leadership as we embark on campaigns that are, in themselves, fraught with threats and dangers.
“The Forum advises Nigerians that the democratic system does not operate based on threats and blackmail, and we should be prepared to support and vote for any candidates of our choices next year