Form JOHN SILAS, LAGOS
Though 2023 General Election in Nigeria is still three years away, Igbos in the All Progressives Congress (APC) Lagos, have unanimously endorsed the dethronement of Chief Joe Igbokwe as their Apex Leader, while at the same time elevating Honourable Jude Chukwuemeka Idimogu to the position.
Idimogu, representing Oshodi/Isolo Constituency 02 in the Lagos State House of Assembly was assigned the lead role at a press conference which was held at the Igbo Community Center, Nwachukwu Drive, Okota, Lagos on Saturday.
Those present at the press briefing were Eze Ndigbo of Lagos State, Eze (Dr.) Christian Uchechukwu Nwachukwu, prominent Igbo traditional leaders, leaders of thoughts and other stakeholders who restated their endorsement of Hon. Jude Idimogu as their new Apex Leader; they also dissociated the Ohaneze Chairman, Chief (Dr.) Solomon Ogbonna from the development, as Ohanaeze was said to be a social cultural group.
Speaking, Eze Nwachukwu noted that the endorsement of Idimogu as the Apex Leader, was because of the need to give Igbos the relevance they deserve in the political structure of the state, as the previous leader was not reaching out to the grassroots, adding “We have not seen a genuine mobilization of Igbos since Pastor Ben Akabueze left for Abuja and Igbos are self-reliant people doing well in their various fields.
“We will not allow an individual to give us a bad name in APC, we can see in Jude Idimogu humility, self respect and dignity, and we irrevocably guaranteed that a new leader has emerged. We said it; we believe it and will defend it, because we need restructuring in Ndigbo APC Lagos state. We have Ndigbo in elective and appointed positions in time past who denied us the benefits.
“Ohanaeze don’t play politics but Ndi Eze who are the traditional leaders do; we have done it, the President Solomon Ogbonna was really not involved, but we declared Jude there at our secretariat being traditional leaders.
“We have seen bad leadership before and that is why we have endorsed Idimogu as our new Apex Leader and it remains so, we want him to look for other elected and appointed and bring them together for the good of all.
Hon. Idimogu in his acceptance speech noted that he has always being concerned about the state of things in the political circles as Ndigbo are not getting what they really deserved.
“I have not always being a happy man in Lagos State because our brothers are not getting what they deserve even in government. Today, I assure you by the grace of God, is a new beginning for all Igbos in Lagos. Ndigbo in APC as we are self made people and deserve respect from our leaders.
“It is not true that Igbos don’t like APC but success is linked to type of leadership, Asiwaju Tinubu’s wisdom and tenacity has transformed AD to APC, a great feat. APC Ndigbo were not doing much because the leadership were taking the ordinary Igbo man for granted.
“Most Igbos voted against APC, because the former leader betrayed their trust, I plead with the leadership of APC to give us the necessary support, we want to start working now.” Idimogu said.
On his part, the National President, Igbo Mandate, Prince Anselem Udoka disclosed that the decision made by Ndigbo traditional leaders and other stakeholders emanated from the fact that Igbos have distanced themselves from the APC and because they don’t like being insulted by Dr. Joe Igbokwe.
“Ndigbo today say enough is enough, when somebody has been in position for over 21 years, we have come to tell the world the leadership of Igbos in Lagos APC like Joe Igbokwe did not reach ground. Jude is now the Apex Leader of Ndigbo in APC.
We are assuring the government of Lagos State, that what we are trying to do is to bring Igbos together for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu before 2023.
“We begged Honourable Jude for years before he accepted so as to touch the grassroots unlike the other leadership who doesn’t know how to talk. We Ndigbo in APC are strongly behind him.
Igbos in Lagos have been distancing themselves from being insulted by Igbokwe not APC.”
Udoka said Chief Igbokwe has held several positions in Lagos without emplying a single Igboman, such positions include Chairman, GM, LAMRA; Chairman, Whaff Landing; Public Relations Secretary, APC, Lagos and now Special adviser to the Governor on Drainage.
Chief John Onyebuchi, Founder, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos and President Igbo Stakeholders in Nigeria and in Diaspora corroborated all said by Udoka, noting that there is no more opposition in Lagos State with respect to Ndigbo.
“APC had no opposition again, our new Apex leader never insulted me back then even when I confronted him, he handles the situation with respect.
“If Joe Igbokwe is popular let him go and contest, Igbos have been watching and knows that a day like this will come, you don’t insult anybody, leave trouble for us.”