The former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, has denied calling Igbo people supporting the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, “saboteurs”.
Ihedioha, a former governor of Imo state, was reacting to backlash after reports of him referring to Ndigbo supporting Obi’s presidential ambition as saboteurs.
In a video that went viral, Ihedioha allegedly castigated supporters of Obi in Southeast.
Disputing the claims, Ihedioha in a statement issued by his media aide, Chibuike Oyeukwu, on Wednesday said “never referred to members of any other political party, especially the Labour Party as saboteurs”.
The statement reads: “Few days ago, His Excellency Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha CON, on the invitation of his kinsmen, was in Accra, Ghana to celebrate this year’s Iri Ji festival with the Mbaise community in that country.
“As a founding member and one of the leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, he seized the opportunity of that visit to address PDP issues nationally but particularly in Imo State and assuage the anxiety of the members of his party who have been apprehensive of the developments within the party.
“In doing so, he decried what at best is the insouciant attitude and worse, the outright sabotage of some acclaimed party leaders who are engaging in acts that are inimical to the success of the PDP, especially in the Southeast by working in cahoots with the other parties. He was only talking about members of his own political party.
Clarifying his statement, he said; “For clarity purposes, His Excellency, never referred to members of any other political party, especially the Labour Party as saboteurs. He only spoke in the context of the PDP and the emphasis was on the need for members of his party to remain consistent and committed.
“It is inconceivable that he will refer to anybody who is supporting Mr. Peter Obi, Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, his long time friend, with whom he shares close political affinity and has utmost respect for, as a saboteur.”
“It is unfortunate that his well-intentioned speech which addressed the specific issue of happenings within his own political party was, again, manipulated by fifth columnists to suit their mischievous scheme of bringing him on a collision with Mr. Peter Obi, whose unwavering political philosophy of “Taking Back Nigeria” from the draconian stranglehold of the failed ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, he wholeheartedly shares.
“His Excellency respects the aspirations and passion of members of other political parties, even as he remains committed to the cause of his own political party and it is not in his character to cast aspersions on those who hold contrary political opinion.”