Apex socio-politico organisation in Igbo land, the Alaigbo Development Foundation has described as brutal, undemocratic and highly monitised the experience of a former presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, Sam Ohuabunwa, at the party’s national primary, held in May.
This is as the group pointed out that it didn’t hid its reservations on the current electoral process in the country, which would signal election of the nation’s leaders come 2023, saying it had lost faith in the corrupt electoral system in Nigeria.
According to a statement, on Sunday, by Ohuabunwa’s Media Office, ADF President, Prof Uzodinma Nwala, stated this at a reception organised in honour of the former presidential aspirant, in Enugu, on Saturday.
The statement qouted Nwala as saying the greatest threat to the country’s cohesion and peace currently was a selfish and unpatriotic political leadership.
According to him, “This is a special moment for us, members of the Alaigbo Development Foundation as we welcome one of our most remarkable leaders, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, who has just returned to us after a brutal encounter with the undemocratic mode of selection of candidates for the presidency of the Federation of Nigeria.
“Right from the beginning of of the current electoral process, even before and in fact till tomorrow, the ADF never hid her lack of faith in the highly monitised and corrupt electoral system in Nigeria.
“What Ohuabnunwa has undergone is a brutal experience with the Nigerian electoral system, which ADF has consistently referred to as the game only vampires can play.
“Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa has been with us for several years and we know him as one of the most priceless candidates of any political party in the Nigerian political system. He and people like Peter Obi, are a few of the gems in the Nigerian politics. They remind us of the late Mallam Aminu Kano, Gen. Shehu Yar’Adua and several other nationalists who have been sounding echoes urging us to abandon the old unpatriotic order of greed and self-centeredness if we must develop the needed spirit of harmonious togetherness and progress.
“The greatest threat to national cohesion and peace in Nigeria today is the political leadership that is selfish and unpatriotic. In addition and in particular, the undemocratic mode of selection of political leaders in our party primaries is the greatest threat to national and unity.
“Indeed, the mode of selection of party candidates during primaries is highly monitised. This is why leadership selection in Nigeria favours the highest bidder and often this is certainly the men who have stolen most from the National Treasury.
“ADF is of the view that Ohuabunwa lost in the undemocratic delegates mode of selection in the Nigerian electoral system and that the masses of Nigeria had no hand in what happened at the National Stadium on May 28 and 29, 2022.”
Speaking on the reception, Ohuabunwa, said the occasion rekindled his burning desire to replicate the Igbo entrepreneurial attitude in the Nigeria system, saying he wasn’t oblivious that Nigerians watched keenly as events unfolded before, during and after the presidential elections.
While thanking the ADF for the honour accorded to him, he observed that the Igbos were currently misconstrued, mis-characterised and misunderstood in the country, adding the people of the South-East region were broad-minded, accomodatiing and fair play seekers.
He said, “The meaning the Reception organised in my honour by the Alaigbo Development Foundation gave me, was that they were watching. You know when you go into this race sometimes, it’s a fairly lonely battle and you know, everybody is watching you as if you are a movie.
“And after it all, you would be like were you people watching me? Were you interested in my success? What I saw was that people were keenly interested and it’s a reflection that they had a perception that I did my best. And that I went through the whole hog single-handedly from beginning to end and that maybe, didn’t expect I could travel that road to the end.
“So it’s a sign of their appreciation for my ability to stay on the cause, because they knew that if I went through successfully , I would be able to provide value to Nigeria and to the Igbo race.
“As I often say, the Igbo man in Nigeria is not well-represemted. He’s largely mis-characterised, misunderstood and mis-profiled. And one of my desire is if I have an opportunity, I will show the difference. The little places I have held sway either as CEO of Pfizer or Chairman of Nigerian Economic Summit Group, MAN or NECA, I tried to show the best of what a Nigerian of Igbo extraction can be.
“That first we are broad-minded, we are entrepreneurial, we seek justice, equity and fairly. We are a people who move on in life inspite of challenges and we are also interested in others moving on , too.
We are not lazy; we are not laid-back; we are not fraudulent and we are not mischievous and we are not mercantilist. But we have a sense of justice and equity; we don’t like to beg.
“That’s the kind of thing we want to bring to Nigeria-to see us as our own best. And I believe that God will still grant that desire of mine.”