As Igbo leaders strategise on the election of new leaders for the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Mr. Emeka Charles Kalu, has called on them to elect someone who can be a veritable mouthpiece for Ndigbo and not a political stooge to authorities.
Kalu, a former governorship candidate of Abia State and National Coordinator, Peoples Democratic Party Coalition (PDPCO), who spoke exclusively with The NEXT EDITION on Saturday, maintained that Ohanaeze Ndigbo was supposed to be the voice of the Igbo ethnic nationality, just like every other national bodies of other socio-cultural in Nigeria, like the Afenifere and the Arewa Consultative Form (ACF), for the Yoruba and the Hausa Fulani, respectively.
He, however, lamented that over the years, Ohanaeze Ndigbo leaders had been playing the role of political tools, rather than that of socio-cultural body when such circumstances arose, thereby making it to lose its voice and relevance to the extent that it had become an object of ridicule among Ndigbo and people of other nationalities.
He said: “You can appreciate what I am saying by understanding why it could be possible that Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) can eventually become more popular in South-East as mouthpiece of the people instead of Ohanaeze Ndigbo which should be playing such role.
“I think the coming Ohanaeze Ndigbo election is another opportunity for Igbo leaders to choose a man that will help recoup what we have lost by not having anyone to speak for Ndigbo in a manner that our interests can be protected in Nigeria.
“ACF, NEF, etc, are also socio-cultural bodies whose voices are always heard very loud and clear on matters concerning their people. But, ours seems to be playing the role of defending the interests of few, while the rest of us are languishing.
“This should be an opportunity to end such a trend and choose a leader that will help Ohanaeze Ndigbo live up to its usefulness in the business of protecting the interest of Ndigbo at all times.”