I’m Deeply Sorry – Ihedioha Apologises For Calling Igbos Supporting Obi Saboteurs
Former Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioa, has apologised to Igbos and supporters of Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 Presidential Elections for calling them ‘saboteurs’ if they vote against the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 election.
Ihedioha tendered his apology during an interview on Channels Tv on Friday. This followed pressure from his supporters who also threatened to withdraw their support.
The former governor won the governorship of Imo State under the Peoples Democratic Party , but was ousted from office after a Supreme Court verdict that went in favour of Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressive Congress in 2020.
Obi, who is from the South East, had backed Ihedioha during the court case with Uzodinma, and is now on the ballot for the country’s top job.
But in a video seen circulating, Ihedioha said during an event in Ghana that, “If you vote any other place, you are a saboteur. After Atiku Abubakar the next president will come from the South East of Nigeria. That is the gospel in Accra (Ghana) if somebody tells you any another thing; that person must win in Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Niger, Kwara, Plateau Benue, Jigawa, and among other Northern states before you can be a president of Nigeria.
“Emotions and sentiment don’t win elections; you must be realistic to win elections. You must plan to win elections and that is where I belong.”
But he said in the interview that his comment was taken out of context.
He said, “I spoke to our people consciously, people within the PDP to express the need for them not to sabotage the efforts in claiming power in 2023 so that Nigerians see good governance. Give it to the Peoples Democratic Party, one thing about us, yes there will be issues, which is expected in every human conglomeration we have ways of dealing with those issues.
“The issues have been put in a different context and some persons majority of who love me, majority of who believe in me, majority of who have confidence in me, have good expectations of me, rightly so.
“The huge expectations born out of abundant love and expectation to say look I’m calling anyone or every South Easterner, Igbo man at that do not vote my party as saboteurs. That can not be.”
He maintained his remark was taken out of context, adding that Nigerians and Igbo have the right to choose a president of their choice.
Ihedioha explained, “That is far from the truth. Obviously that is not me, it is not in my character. I believe in decency within my immediate nuclear family. That can not be. My position was very simple. I was speaking to our people, I’m an Mbaise man and the PDP has been faithful to us. Has given us support and the opportunity to produce a governor in our state and I said to them that we have an opportunity and I called that they should not sabotage our efforts to claim power and that was it. That was the context.
“I have found out a lot of persons who have made calls either to my person, my family members, or to my friends and associates have not had the opportunity and privilege to watch the tape.
“However, I’m responsible to people. When people show you love, show you confidence and believe in you, you have the need to respect their feelings and so, to all those millions of Nigerians particularly of the South East extraction who feel hurt by my use of language, I’m deeply sorry about it.
“I do not mean to hurt anybody and they have the right to express their political opinion in any way, form or shape. I have lots of my friends who belong to other political parties and they will continue to relate. They should accept me for who I am and know that I am not a rude person and I’m not a disrespectful person.”
On the struggle of his party and the APC in the South East, he claimed that the tension and movement by the supporters of the LP and other Nigerians was created by the “terrible governance and deceit” of the ruling APC.
According to him, the worsening state of the economy and insecurity is a major driver of the agitation to shift to the Labour party.
“Nigeria is fast on the decline and so people are worried. There is frustration in the land and it is very palpable. The people can not imagine what the future holds in store for us. I understand the issues. For them the established political institutions are a problem. But I caution everyone to be careful,” he added.