Arrest one Mallam Mahdi Shehu, a Katsina-based activist, for asking the North not to vote for Mr Peter Obi because ‘a vote to Obi is a vote to Biafra’, Ohanaeze told federal government on Friday.
Obi is the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general elections.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo stated this in a statement released by its national publicity secretary, Dr Alex Ogbonnia.
Ohanaeze quoted Shehu to have said in a video that voting Obi ‘is synonymous with the destruction of the North’, and asked northerners what ‘they would gain in voting for Obi’.
Dr Ogbonnia described such comments as ‘distasteful and capable of igniting ethno-religious tensions across the country’, adding that, “Persons that harbour such mindsets are the pernicious incubus which has for long held Nigeria down.
“We call on the federal government to arrest, prosecute and ultimately confine Mallam Mahdi Shehu in a prison to serve as a deterrent to others. If such a deep ethnic jingoism is allowed to play out in the oncoming campaigns, then the fledgling wing of the eagle may be irredeemably broken.
“Two major options are open to Nigeria in the 2023 general election: to continue with the abysmal tailspin of poverty, unemployment, rising inflation etc, on one hand, or a productive, combustive economic salvation on the other.
“Christian Southerners in the past willingly voted President Shehu Shagari, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and President Muhammadu Buhari on account of the manifestoes they presented to the populace.”
Ohanaeze further said, “The Igbo cosmopolitanism admits politicians of all persuasions to canvass for votes across the entire Igbo space without hindrance, bearing in mind that what Nigeria needs now is a transformative persona with ideologically based programmes and a proven record of accomplishments.”