The Director General of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Presidential Campaign Council, Anambra State, Prof Obiora Okonkwo, has said that the Igbo nation has not endorsed any presidential candidate.
Okonkwo stated this on Thursday during a symposium of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) , Anambra State Council in Awka, the State capital.
He spoke as a guest lecturer on the theme: ‘The role of media in guaranteeing the sanctity of the electoral process in Nigeria”.
Reminded that the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, had endorsed the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, Okonkwo ,said the Ohanaeze Ndigbo would not take such decision without a meeting of stakeholders, including himself.
Our correspondent gathered that the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, had about five days ago endorsed the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, for the 2023 general elections.
Ohanaeze while endorsing Obi said, “Obi represented Nigerian conscience, moral probity, generational hope, redemption epiphany, and above all, the Igbo collective unconscious.”
The Igbo body, which stated this in a statement on Sunday titled, ‘2023: On SMBLF Position We Stand,’ signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, noted that the Labour Party’s candidate had filled what could have been a sad gap if he had not been on the ballot.
The Igbo group’s endorsement statement read in part, “In the first place, going by the principles of zoning and rotation of power in Nigeria, which have been in existence since 1999, it is the turn of the South East of Nigeria to produce the president in 2023.
“Second, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has canvassed to various eminent persons in Nigeria, seeking their support for the presidency in the South East come 2023. We are delighted by the responses from various groups and highly placed patriotic Nigerians.
“Third, Ohanaeze works in collaboration with the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), comprising the Afenifere, PANDEF, Middle Belt Leaders, and Ohanaeze Ndigbo led by an elder statesman, Chief E. K. Clarke. The group, in its quest for Nigerian unity, peace, and sustainable national development, has endorsed Mr Peter Obi as its candidate for the 2023 general elections.”
But Okonkwo during his lecture at the Correspondents’ Chapel forum urged journalists to informed the public alright about the 2023 general elections.
Stating that in a democratic society there is room for dissent, especially in political support of candidates, Okonkwo said, ‘The capacity to set the agenda and frame issues for public discourse is almost exclusive to journalists. No other professional group comes close.
“The media play a key role in the success or otherwise of the political class, including the government. However, to whom much is given, much is expected. Such enormous power should be exercised with utmost responsibility.
It also requires building your capacity to meet the evolving demands of the job, especially by way of training and re-training.
“For instance, how many of you have read the new 2022 Electoral Act? Are you familiar with the changes introduced given that it is your responsibility to help educate the public on it? Have you attended any recent workshops on media coverage of elections?
” Interestingly, many development partners and civil society organizations work in these areas. Always endeavour to avail yourself of any opportunities to enhance your capacity and improve your work as a journalist.
“As media professionals, you have an enormous opportunity and responsibility to help sanitize our electoral process as well as change the current trajectory of governance in Nigeria.”