The All Progressives Congress (APC) flag bearer for the November 16 Anambra governorship election, Senator Chris Ngige has described as misleading, rumours that his campaign rally on Tuesday in the commercial city of Onitsha was held in a bid to disrupt the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe’s annual Ofala festival.
Debunking media reports that he was cursed by the monarch for flagging off his governorship rally on the day set aside for the Ofala festival inspite of one year of notice given for the traditional ceremony, Senator Ngige, representing Anambra Central, said he was not in any way trying to disrespect Igwe Achebe, whom he described as a role model to traditional institution in Igbo land and Nigeria in general.
The senator said he received the nod of the Palace of the Obi of Onitsha concerning the rally, adding that his Campaign Organization even got the go-ahead to pay a courtesy call on the traditional ruler before proceeding to the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, Onitsha, venue of the event.
He said what happened was that we received permission from the Palace, and the Palace Secretary even asked us to give him the protocol list of the governors and other dignitaries that will be coming, because we planned to pay a courtesy call on Obi of Onitsha.
“We were told at the middle of the rally because we could not pay a courtesy call on Obi of Onitsha, because our Director for Operation, Mr. Okonkwo Okom informed us on Tuesday morning that further communication will be after the Ofala some other time
“There was never a time we came to disrupt the Ofala festival and we never intended to disrespect the revered traditional ruler of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe and Onitsha culture and tradition, as we hold him in high esteem just like we do to other traditional rulers in Igbo land. There was a communication gap and if that resulted in any embarrassment to the Igwe, our party, APC and myself (sic) apologise for that” he said.
Senator Ngige also urged the Monarch to disregard all political gimmicks from the opposition aimed at driving a wedge between him, APC and the Onitsha traditional institution just as he pleaded with his supporters to remain calm as everything is under control.