Prominent Igbo leader, Senator Ben Obi, has condemned the campaign of calumny, allegedly fuelled by IPOB against the president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, accusing him of collecting billions of naira to support the suspended Ruga cattle settlement programme of the Federal Government.
Obi, former special adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on inter-party affairs, said it smacked of wickedness to accuse a man who had been at the forefront of projecting the interest of the Igbo race of such lies.
Recently, there have been reports in the social media alleging that Nwodo and former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, collected N6.2 million to support the suspended Ruga programme in the country.
In a statement titled “Nwodo: An act of ingratitude,” Obi regretted that those he described as the promoters of the lies from the pit of hell were flying it through the various social media platforms.
He said: “For the avoidance of doubt, since his assumption of office as president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo has consolidated on the past achievements of other presidents of the organisation to the admiration and commendation of well-meaning Igbo leaders and elders.
“Under his leadership, the Ohanaeze had a clear direction and focus; for the first time, the Igbo race had a formidable umbrella that fought for the common good of the Igbo race.
“To me, it is an act of ingratitude to accuse a man who sacrificed his personal gain, comfort, including risking his own life for the cause of the Igbo race. Chief Nnia Nwodo deserves commendations, rather than trumped-up allegations.”
Senator Obi said that, during the 2019 elections, Nwodo provided leadership that gave the Igbo nation a voice and platform to speak with one voice, unlike what happened in the past.
“Let me state in very lucid terms, there is no anti-Igbo movement or proclamation that he has not condemned and spoken against, even when such would bring him at loggerheads with the powers that be.
“His emergence as the spokesperson of the cultural groups in Nigeria, comprising the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), under the leadership of Prof. Ango Abdullahi, Afenifere, under the leadership of Chief Ayo Adebanjo, PANDEF, under the leadership of Chief Edwin Clark, and the Middle Belt Forum, under the leadership of Dr. Pogu Bitrus, is a clear demonstration of trust in his sterling leadership and commitment to the cause of not only the Igbo race but Nigeria as a whole,” he said.
The Ohanaeze, he said, remained the foremost Igbo socio-cultural organisation worldwide and every other organisation in Igboland was subsumed under its umbrella.
Obi noted that Nwodo remained the number one citizen among Ndigbo, home and abroad, and as such he deserved the respect of all.
He said all well-meaning Igbo sons and daughters were solidly behind Nwodo and urged all those who had genuine grievances to come home for a roundtable on the way forward for the Igbo nation.