By Douglas Okoro
Igbo youths through the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide and a coalition of other youth groups in the South-East have vowed to resist any attempt by politicians to buy votes in the zone during the 2019 general election.
The President and Vice President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council, Messrs Okechukwu Isiguzoro and Obinna Achionye, respectively, in a statement issued on Thursday in Abakaliki, indicated the plan of the coalition.
It said the coalition including South-East Women Professionals, World Igbo Youth Congress and Igbo Students Movement, had vowed to mobilise the entire Southeast zone and Igbos in other regions to resist attempts by political elite to sell Igbo votes.
They warned the electorate in the South-East against falling prey to desperate politicians that would come to deceive them with frivolous promises, cash and other material gifts with intent to get them to sell their votes.
“We call on Igbo youths, progressives, leaders and agitators to rise up and defend the traditions, values and culture of our people, as we will fight against those whose interests are to sell Igbo votes to the highest bidder, especially in the presidential election,” the statement read in part.
The members of the coalition also frowned at the recently concluded Igbo Day celebration held in Owerri, pointing out that holding Igbo Day on a day apart from Sept. 29 was “uncultural” to Ndigbo.
They distanced themselves from the celebration, saying the anniversary could best be described as Imo Day and not Igbo Day.
“Based on Ohanaeze constitution, Igbo Day celebration holds Sept. 29 every year,” the statement said.
It said that the apex decision-making organ in Ohanaeze, known as Imeobi, never approved the congregation of people that met in Owerri.
“On this note, Ohanaeze youths and the affiliate coalition have distanced themselves from the Owerri event and we warn against setting a bad precedent by holding Igbo Day on a day other than Sept. 29,” the group said.
They appealed to the APC-led Federal government to address infrastructure deficit in the zone as well as create viable investment climate for businesses to thrive.