By Steve Oko
Immediate-past Senate Minority Leader, and Senator representing Abia South district, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, has said that those referring to the candidature of the presidential flag bearer of Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi as ‘Igbo presidency’, are mischievous and on a smear campaign to de-market him.
Senator Abaribe who is seeking re-election on the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, argued that it is unfair to single out Obi and link his ambition with his tribe while leaving out other presidential candidates.
Abaribe who spoke during a virtual town hall meeting by Ikengaonline, wondered why Obi’s traducers are not also referring to Atiku Abubarkar of the Proples Democratic Party, PDP as ‘Fulani presidency’; and Bola Tinubu of the All Progressive Congress, APC, as ‘Yoruba presidency’.
He said that those trying to link Obi’s ambition with the agitation in the South East were part of those behind the political exclusion of the race from Nigeria’s political equilibrum.
The former Abia Deputy Governor, insisted that Obi should be seen as an individual pursuing his constitutionally-guaranteed rights without any links to his tribe and religion.
” It’s unfortunate that Peter Obi’s emergence which is now a silver lining has come with complications. Tinubu has a presidential ticket, nobody is saying it’s a Yoruba ticket.
” Atiku has a ticket, nobody is saying it’s a Fulani ticket. But Peter Obi got a ticket and everybody is shouting:’It’s Igbo presidency. Some even try to link him with the Biafra agitation.
” Have they tried to associate Tinubu with the Oduduwa self determination agitation? Or Atiku within the Fulani herdsmen menace or the banditary in the North”
Senator Abaribe wondered why some people have continued to live in fear and suspicion of the Igbo or impute unnecessary motives to genuine moves by Igbo sons and daughters.