About two weeks after the visit of a former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, to the All Progressives Congress vice-presidential candidate, Kashim Shettima, the Igbo Elders Consultative Forum which he chairs is seriously divided, The PUNCH has learnt.
Although the official statement had claimed that it was a courtesy visit, sources said it had thrown the IECF into controversies as members who had been champions of the Igbo presidency and supported the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, remained divided.
The division among the members of the organisation was fuelled by the cancellation of two press conferences earlier scheduled for 1 pm on Tuesday, June 14 and Friday, June 24 2022 at Ezeife’s residence in Asokoro at the last minute, while no explanation was given.
Since that time, the IECF had maintained a deafening silence, thereby fuelling more speculation that politicians may have infiltrated its members.
A dazed member of IECF who does not want to be mentioned confirmed the division but was not sure if it was allegedly sponsored by the All Progressives Congress.
He said, “I’m not sure I know what is going on among Igbo Elders. The only thing is that after those two aborted press conferences and even meetings, we decided to concentrate elsewhere and watch. There are people who came to hijack the place for the purpose of making money.
“We don’t know whether they’re being sponsored by the APC. We think he (Ezeife) was told that it wasn’t good. At that time, Igbo Elders were very vocal and they tried to divide us. We didn’t allow that to bother us because we know where we were going and doing underground work.
“But I think we have come back to our senses, we have come back from our madness. Those people actually failed, they collapsed. The APC wanted to neutralise us, but that one is now over.”
When contacted on the division among Igbo elders and whether it was not a threat to Obi’s ambition, the Spokesperson of Peter Obi Support Network, Onwuasoanya Jones, said Obi’s movement was a national agenda.
According to him, Ezeife is an elder statesman and can decide to visit whoever he wishes to visit.
He said, “Obi’s presidential project is not an Igbo agenda. His is a Nigerian project and we accede to the rights of every Nigerian to decide whom to support and whom to vote for. We believe that if competence, character and credibility are the deciding factors, Obi towers well above every other candidate in this race
“Ezeife is an elder statesman and former governor. We cannot decide for him whom to visit or not. It is absolutely within his right to visit Shettima or any other person for that matter.” (Punch)