Pan-Igbo group Ohanaeze Ndigbo may have politically shifted to the All Progressives Congress [APC], going by the undercurrents at the election of Ambassador George Obiozor as the new President-general on Sunday.
Obiozor virtually had no competition in the election at Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri, Imo State.
He won by a massive 304 votes, beating a lone challenger who had just 15 votes. Three other contestants withdrew from the exercise.
Obiozor sponsored by Governor Hope Uzodimma had been adopted as a consensus candidate as far as November. Thus his election today was a mere coronation.
APC stalwarts, ministers and the two governors were at the stadium to queue behind Obiozor, in a show not just to be counted as his supporters, but to demonstrate where the new Igbo leader belongs.
Igbo politicians have a grand plan to make one of their own as the presidential candidate of the ruling APC in 2023.
From indications, they seemed to have reached an accord with some northern power brokers over the matter.
This, as analysts believe may explain, the political shift in the South East zone.
From just one governor in Imo’s Hope Uzodimma, the APC now has two governors with the defection of Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi state.
His defection in December, had several northern governors in attendance, after which he was brought to Abuja, to be formally received in the party by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Whether Umahi will be the candidate is not clear yet.
But the fact that the new political movement has now effectively taken over Ohanaeze, is indicative of the agenda unfolding.
Ohanaeze under John Nnia Nwodo was pro-PDP and came out to endorse PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar in the run-up to the election in 2019.
Ohanaeze also backed President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, to the chagrin of Muhammadu Buhari, who held series of meetings trying to woo Igbo leadership.
In office, Buhari has been prosecuting projects, such as the second Niger Bridge and roads dear to the Igbo elite.
Doubtless, the political alienation is melting away.
In a statement on Sunday, the APC congratulated Obiozor for emerging as the new leader of Ohanaeze.
The statement which was signed by the secretary of the caretaker committee of the party, Sen. John J. Akpan Udoedehe, spoke about ‘mainstreaming’ the south east in the nation’s politics and also about a shared agenda.
“Our great party congratulates former Nigerian Ambassador to the United States of America, Prof. George Obiozor on his election”, the APC said.
“We also congratulate the outgoing Chief John Nwodo executive for his mature and patriotic leadership of Ohanézè Ndígbo.
“Going by his distinguished service to the nation, Obiozor’s experience and suitability for the strategic position of President-General of Ohanézè Ndígbo is not in doubt.
“The Party hereby urges Ndigbo to support Obiozor to fulfil the mandate of the organisation.
“The APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) under the leadership of Governor Mai Mala Buni is determined to consolidate on the ongoing efforts to further mainstream the South East geo-political zone in the workings of the governing APC and place the zone in its deserved political standing in the country.
“While the APC is ready to partner and work with the new leadership of Ohanézè Ndígbo towards our shared development, we are also confident that the new leadership will be a bastion for the unity and tolerance all Nigerians should imbue for the peace and progress of the nation”.
For now, the opposition PDP is maintaining a disquieting quiet and probably watching developments in the south east.