Professor of law, Ben Nwabueze, has said he will live to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, become Nigeria’s president.
Nwabueze spoke on Wednesday at a summit where Igbo leaders met with Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Peter Obi, in Enugu.
“I am 87 going 88. I am at the departure lounge waiting for the final call. But I am going nowhere until our collective objectives are met,” Nwabueze, who was chairman of the summit, said in his opening remarks.
Atiku later posted a picture of the two men in a warm embrace and quoted the octogenarian as saying, “I will not die until you become president.”
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) added, “Don’t forget the unfinished business of the Nigerian project.”
To which Atiku replied, “On my word and honour, consider it done, sir!”
In a five-point communique issued at the end of the Enugu summit with the theme “Ndigbo 2019 and Beyond”, the Igbo leaders said their decision to endorse the PDP candidate was based on the restructuring agenda put on the table by Atiku/Obi, which four zones of the country had agreed on.
The communique read by eminent lawyer, Olisa Agbakoba, SAN said: “The Igbo people of Nigeria held a 1 day non-partisan and inclusive summit convened by elders, traditional and religious leaders on Wednesday 14th November 2018 to consider Ndigbo’s place in the polity especially in light of the forthcoming 2019 elections.
“The summit deliberated on the state of Ndigbo in Nigeria today especially after years of exclusion from the centre. This country has never been as divided as it is today. We Igbos have always yearned for a level playing field with justice, equity and fairness.
“The summit recognised the nomination of His Excellency Mr. Peter Obi Former Governor of Anambra State as the Vice Presidential Candidate of the PDP and fully endorses this nomination. It was acknowledged that this nomination puts Ndigbo back in the centre of governance. It is therefore important that Ndigbo should rally behind the Atiku/Obi ticket.
“We identify with the Atiku/Peter Obi ticket on the restructuring agenda as has been reiterated by four zones of the country namely: south-south, south-west, north-central and south-east. We believe that as long as the federating units remain weak the centre will continue to be weak. We equally move to appreciate the position of the Atiku/Obi ticket in promoting national unity.
“In conclusion, the summit reiterated that the time is now for Ndigbo to mobilize and organize effectively to realize the Atiku/Obi ticket. We are not campaigning against anybody, we are simply campaigning for our very survival. Igbo votes must count wherever Ndigbo live in Nigeria.”
In welcoming Atiku to the summit, chairman of Ohaneze Worldwide, Chief Nnia Nwodo, thanked him for the choice of Obi as his running mate. He assured him that Obi was one of the best in Igboland who redefined governance in Nigeria through his seminal achievements as governor of Anambra State by moving the state from the worst to the best in education, health, road construction and other sectors.
Atiku, who was accompanied by PDP national chairman, Uche Secondus and other chieftains such as Sen. Bukola Saraki, Aliyu Babangida, Ben Bruce, Gbenga Daniel, Tom Ikimi and Dino Melaye, assured the Igbo that he would work towards their demands, which were already in his policy paper.
He later paid a courtesy visit to the Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, before departing.