Former Imo Governor Emeka Ihedioha has denied calling the presidential candidate of the Labour Party Peter Obi or anybody supporting him a saboteur.
Ihedioha said this in a statement by his media aide, Chibuike Onyeukwu on Wednesday.
Ihedioha, while in Accra, Ghana to celebrate this year’s Iri Ji festival with the Mbaise community was quoted to have derided anybody who votes for Obi instead of the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar as a saboteur.
The statement attributed to the Mbutu Mbaise-born former Deputy Speaker drew the ire of Imo residents.
However, Ihedioha denied ever referring to Obi as a saboteur, saying Obi was his long-time friend with whom he shared close political affinity.
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.
“For clarity purposes, His Excellency, neither 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.
“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 a contrary political opinion.”