The apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, says the withdrawal of certificates of returns of some Igbo persons by the Independent National Electoral Commission is a part of a plot by the ruling All Progressives Congress to ensure any Ndigbo does not emerge as presiding officer of the 9th National Assembly.
In a statement in Abuja on Wednesday and signed by the President of Ohanaeze, FCT Abuja chapter, Odozi Nwodozi, the group among other things, demanded the immediate release of Certificate of Return of Governor Okorocha of Imo and Senator Benjamin Uwajimogu.
“These attempts which have been made manifest by the disdainful manner of allocation of Principal Offices in the National Assembly by the Adams Oshiomole-led APC where Ndigbo were blanked out, an action further amplified by the orchestrated attempt at excluding the South-East from contesting for any of the offices in the 9th Senate through the deliberate connivance of INEC in withholding the certificates of Return of Igbo persons who possess the capacity, qualifications and wherewithal to challenge their malicious impunity.
“Elected legislators like the Imo State governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha and the highest and most experienced Igbo senator in the APC, Senator Benjamin Uwajimogu have been denied their certificates of Return on unconstitutional grounds. Actions aimed at crippling the Igbo attempt at a shot in the leadership of the 9th Assembly.
“It is common Knowledge that despite the exclusion of the Igbo nation from the Executive arm of government, amplified by our been veiled off from the entire security apparatus of Nigeria, the post-election actions of both the APC leadership in out-zoning Ndigbo in the distribution of offices of the 9th National Assembly, and the collaborative actions of their INEC appointees have shown that there is a deliberate attempt to perpetuate the exclusion of Ndigbo from governance in the current dispensation.
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“We demand the immediate release of the Certificates of Return of both Governor Ohkorocha and Senator Uwajimogu, to enable them participate in the inauguration and election of officers of the 9th Assembly.
“Furthermore, it is sad and disheartening that experienced legislators from the South-East like Hon. Chike Okafor and Nkiru Onyejocha are overlooked in the allocation of offices in the House of Representatives, not minding the fact that they passed through the needle’s eye to win their elections and the qualities they have exhibited in their previous legislative tenures.
“INEC should follow the institutional procedure of allowing aggrieved candidates to approach the electoral tribunals to sort out themselves and not the crude and banana republic style of withholding the certificates of return of persons already declared winners, with the intension of caging them till the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly and the election of its officers.
“The deliberate exclusion of Ndigbo in the recent zoning of offices in the National Assembly is unacceptable to Ndigbo. It is also a confirmation of the fact that the APC as a party does not have a place for the Igbo nation, and as such does not deserve the vote of Ndigbo.