The popular saying that Igbo enwe Eze, Ndigbo don’t have a king or
kings played out on January 9 and 10, 2021 respectively as Ohanaeze
Ndigbo, the apex Igbo cultural organisation held parallel elections to
elect new executive that will pilot the affairs of the organisation
for the next four years.
While one faction stayed in Enugu and elected one Engr. Chidi Ibeh as
the president general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo with Barrister Uche Okwukwu
as the Deputy President General on January 9, 2021, another faction,
in Owerri, Imo State the following day on January 10, 2021, also
elected Prof. George Obizor as the president general.
The two elections which were organised by Chief Richard Ozobu’s and
Prof. Gary Igariwey, former president general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nnia
Nwodo’s successor, respectively conducted the Enugu and the Owerri
No doubt, this was an indication that things are no longer at ease
with the Igbo union which once enjoyed peace and serenity during the
reign of Prof. Joe Irukwu of Abia State; Amb. Raph Uwachue from Delta
State and Prof. Gary Igariway of Ebonyi State.
The Nnia led Ohanaeze led Ohanaeze was imbued in couched conflagration
as the youth wing of Ohanaeze suffered turmoil throughout the stay of
the erudite and smooth talker, Nwodo. Till the day Nwodo left office,
the then Secretary General, Barr. Uche Okwukwu never saw eye to eye
with him and it was a free for all for spoke for Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
The former deputy publicly secretary, Chuks Ibegbu, former media aide
to Nwodo, Chief Emeka Attama, and the former president of Ohanaeze
Youths, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzo, were all dishing out information to
the public for Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
It was under this chaotic situation that the 2021 general election of
Ohanaeze Ndigbo was held in Enugu and Owerri respectively, an
indication that all is not well with the hitherto peaceful Ohanaeze
The confusion that predated the eventual elections proper was the
shifting of the election venue to Owerri instead of Enugu where the
former elections were held. This prompted many to believe that the
election was not going to be free and fair. The Imeobi meeting, the
inner caucus meeting of Ohanaeze Ndigbo that was always held in Enugu
was also shifted to Owerri, Imo State and all these were red signals
that Ohanaeze has been hijacked. What showed that Ohanaeze might have
been hijacked is that governors from the Zone that seemed to be
nonchalant as to who becomes the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo,
began to show interest and even midwifed the imposition of the
candidacy for the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo that even
before the election, people had already known that the imposed choice
candidate of the governors and some prominent Igbo leaders, Prof.
George Obizor, former DG of National Institute for.International
Affairs, NIIA, was going to be the President General of Ohanaeze
Ndigbo. It was this that made many a candidate for the election to
withdraw some days to the election.
Before the election was held, the choice of who would constitute the
electoral committee became a subject of controversy as to whether it
would be spearheaded by Igariwey, the former President General or
someone else. It was under this imbroglio that Richard Ozobu and
Igariwey electoral committees emerged. Those who saw the handwriting
on the wall began to decline their ambition to continue in the
supposed charade called election. Thus, candidates for the PG
election, Ezechukwunyere Nwebo, Uju Okoro, Chris Asoluka and Dr. Joe
Nworgu former Secretary General under Amb. Igariwey, withdrew from the
race when they felt that the election had been skewed to favour their
fellow contender, Prof. Obizor.
While the above contenders shelved their ambition to contest the PG
election, Engr. Chidi Ibeh and his cohorts would not back down but
held their own election in Enugu on Saturday, January 9, 2021 before
the Owerri January 10, 2021 election that saw to the emergence of
Obizor as the factional PG.
Ohanaeze chieftain who simply gave his name as Chief Moses told
newsmen in Enugu that the authentic Ohanaeze PG is Engr. Ibeh, saying
that what happened in Owerri was a charade. “As far as I am
concerned, they are wasting their time. Engr. Ibeh is the authentic
Ohanaeze President General. Obizor and co are wasting their time
because he was not validly elected. You will see it. Mark my words,”
Factional Deputy President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dim Uche
Okwukwu produced by the Enugu election, insisted that their executive
was the authentic one and advised Ndigbo to distance themselves from
the Obizor led executive.
In a statement on Sunday, Okwukwu said the tenure of Chief Nnia
Nwodo-led executive had expired and that as such, it lacked powers to
spearhead an election.
His statement reads thus: “The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has received
credible information to the effect that Chief Gary Igariwey, who had
in the last two weeks purportedly claimed to chair a non-existing
Electoral Committee, EC, is about to organize an election in Owerri,
Imo State, with the aim of announcing an illegal National Executive
Council, NEC, we therefore wish to inform the general public that:
“The Igariwey committee is illegal, null and void. It is a subject of
litigation before an Umuahia high court and we urge Ndigbo to
completely disassociate themselves from such illegality. Any action,
commission or omission, by the Igariwey-led committee is of no
consequence. Whatever emanates from it cannot stand the test of time.
“In my former position as Secretary General before the midnight of 9th
January 2021 when my term constitutionally expired, I repeatedly said
any Imeobi, NEC, Council of Elders or General Assembly summoned by
persons other than me was illegal, null and void.
“What is frightening today is that a purported election is being
conducted after the 9th January 2021 expiration of the term of office
of the former NEC. One wonders what the Igariwey charade is all about?
How can an election be conducted after the expiration of term of
office? Even the Nigerian state does not conduct election outside the
term of office of an executive. If what is about to happen in Owerri
had happened in the larger Nigeria, Ndigbo would have condemned it.
“I call upon Ndigbo to rally round their newly elected President
General, Engr Chidi Ibeh, and members of his NEC. His emergence,
against threats of ostracism and violence, is a true testament that
Ndigbo are a free people with the capacity to decide who leads them.
“We congratulate all Igbos, particularly those who mistakenly bought
forms from the Igariwey committee to contest for offices, particularly
the office of the President General, PG, and who for the greater
interest of Ndigbo withdrew from the election in the face of
overwhelming irregularities. We congratulate Dr Joe Nworgu, Chief
Chris Asoluka and Professor Chidi Osuagwu. These men of honour will be
remembered when the history of Ndigbo is properly written.
“Finally, my deepest gratitude goes to the highly efficient Global
Igbo Leaders for the great role it played in seeing that Igboland
remains stable without violence. I must mention Prof Uzodinma Nwala of
Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF); Prof Anthony Ejiofor and Dr
Festus Okere of World Igbo Congress (WIC) USA; Dr Nwachukwu Anakwenze,
Chief Christian Onuorah and Chief Oliver Nwankwor of Igbo World
Assembly (IWA) Worldwide and Prof Chika Moore and Ngozi Odumuko of
Nzuko Umunna (USA and Nigeria).
“Ndigbo recognize the immense contribution of Ben Allison of Ndi Igbo
Canada; Luke Nwannunu of Ekwe Nche USA; Barr Austin Okeke and Mazi Obi
Okoli of Igbo Board of Deputies Worldwide and Barr Alex Coker
Ezeamakam of Council of Igbo Communities UK. We are proud of Ogbuefi
Delly Ajufo of Aka Ikenga Nigeria; Mazi Obi Okoli of Council of Igbo
Leaders UK; Chief Oliver Nwankwor and Barr Alex Coker Ezeamakam of
European Igbo Communities (EIC) Europe and Mazi Amadiebube Mbama of
Council of Igbo States in America (CISA) USA.”
Having thus pointed out, it shows that Ohanaeze in time to come will
be imbued in crisis of leadership because the Obizor led executive
that has the backing of five South East governors of Imo, Anambra,
Abia, Ebonyi and Enugu, will not give in. So, for the meantime,
Ohanaeze has two presidents – Engr. Chidi Ibeh and Prof. George
A similar scenario played out during the turn of Abia State and
Ndubuisi Kanu and Prof. Joe Irukwu emerged but Irukwu had his way
eventually. When it was the turn of Anambra State, two presidents
emerged – late Dr. Dozie Ikedife and Ifeanyichukwu Enemchukwu.
Governors and Igbo leaders eventually prevailed on Enemchukwu to step
aside for Ikedife and that was how Ikedife had an unhindered
leadership in his day.
Now that it is the turn of Imo State a parallel executive has emerged,
and may be with time, one of the factional leaders will give way but
as it is now, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has gotten two presidents.
Thus, candidates for the PG election, Ezechukwunyere Nwebo, Uju Okoro,
Chris Asoluka and Dr. Joe Nworgu former Secretary General under Amb.
Igariwey, withdrew from the race when they felt that the election had
been skewed to favour their fellow contender, Prof. Obizor.
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