By Uche Amunike
Barely two weeks after for former governor of Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife visited the Vice Presidential flag bearer of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Kashim Shettima, the Igbo Elders Consultative Forum (IECF), which he chairs has become seriously divided.
Even though the official statement issued by Chukwuemeka Ezeife claimed that his visit to Shettima was a courtesy call, it has stirred great controversy as the IECF are majorly, champions of the Igbo presidency and also avid supporters of the Peter Obi movement. Presently, however, they are visibly divided,
What led to the division among the elders is the cancellation of two press conferences, billed to be held by the elders in the month of June. The first one was earlier scheduled for Tuesday, June 14, 2022 by 1pm, while the second one was scheduled for Friday, June 24, 2022. Both conferences were fixed with venue being at Chukwuemeka Ezeife’s residence in Asokoro. Surprisingly, both conferences were cancelled last minute with no explanations given.
Ever since, the IECF has maintained a deafening silence, which has resultantly fueled the speculation that politicians may have infiltrated her members.
According to a member of the Elders’ forum who pledged anonymity, the IECF is presently divided, but he wasn’t sure if the division was sponsored by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
His words: ‘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.’
Spokesperson of the Peter Obi’s Support Network, Jones Onwuasoanya, when contacted concerning the division in the IECF and if it would in anyway threaten the ambition of the presidential flag bearer of the Labour Party, he maintained that Peter Obi’s movement was a national agenda.
He stressed that Chukwuemeka Ezeife is an elder statesman and has the right to pay visits to whoever he chooses to visit.
His words: ‘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.’