From all indications and barring any surprise last-minute entry, here are the aspirants seeking the seat of Chief John Nnia Nwodo, the incumbent President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide. The General Election of the apex pan-Igbo organization comes up in January 2021. So far, the Ohanaeze presidential hopefuls are Dr. Joe Nwaorgu, Prof George Obiozor, Prof Chidi Osuagwu, Chief Goddy Uwazurike, and Dr. Chris Asoluka. These men are eminently qualified and will each bring something substantial to the table to justify the high premium.
Each of them also has his unique selling point, making it rather difficult for the Electoral College to decide who is best among them if what one may regard as their cognate experiences is anything to go by. One knows all but one beyond mere reputation and acquainted with them over time and has followed their politics and interventions, and how they have been able to stand in the gap for Ndigbo on occasions.
Ndigbo needs to come to terms with what each man stands for and weigh it against what confronts the ethnic group in contemporary precarious Nigeria. That is the only way to choose right and avoid lifelong regrets. Here are the three issues to be given their primacy of place, namely: Nigerian President of Igbo (South East) extraction in 2023, Restructuring, and Alaigbo Homeland Security. The existential threats confronting Ndigbo in particular and Nigerians in general call for an astute leadership of Ndigbo from the front.
The outgoing President General Ohanaeze Nnia Nwodo took the leadership of the apex body many notches higher and has really made his tenure quite sublime. So, he is leaving not only huge footprints on the sands of time but also very large shoes. His successor will certainly have a huge task keeping the tempo and setting his own records.
Nwodo’s successor has to have the capacity and sagacity to sustain the level where Ohanaeze exists today even if he is not able to take it any higher. It is crucial to note that the attitude of the coming President General towards 2023, Restructuring, and Homeland Security will make or mar the future of Ndigbo. For example, an Ohanaeze PG who does not believe in the Nigerian President of Igbo extraction is more likely to frustrate it.
This is quite crucial. Ohanaeze has proved to be a critical factor in galvanizing Ndigbo politically even though the body is supposed to be a socio-cultural organization and therefore insular when it comes to partisan politics. But of late, Ohanaeze has aberrantly dabbled into politics. Under Nnia Nwodo, Ohanaeze openly endorsed Abubakar Atiku/ Peter Obi PDP ticket and worked for its actualization in the 2019 Presidential Election. This is likely to play up in the build-up to 2023.
Rightly or wrongly, therefore, Ohanaeze PG now has a role carved out in determining the direction Ndigbo would go in the nation’s national elections. It is this anomaly that led to the emergence of a dissident and anarchic Ohanaeze General Assembly to either truncate or whittle down the credibility of Ohanaeze.
Back to the issues before us, which is teasing out who the cap fits among our star-studded aspirants. Let us now dispassionately look at these great men and what they represent. It is important to do this diagnosis as objectively as possible if we have to help the electors come to terms lest they be swayed by primordial sentiments.
One is focusing on the four men as one knows them. Truly, one has never come across Chief Goddy Uwazuruike and whatever opinion one forms of him will bear out against objectivity. Those who know the gentleman should do justice to his introduction and justification.
The first on the radar is Dr. Joe Nworgu, an erstwhile university don, one-time ASUU Secretary, two-time Commissioner in Imo State, and Chairman of the Task Force for the completion and commissioning of the Owerri Airport. Like the University of Nigeria Alumni Association described him in a citation read out at an award he was the recipient, Dr. Nworgu is brutally honest, fair-minded, and very compassionate.
Most importantly, Dr. Nworgu has been part of the success story that Ohanaeze has become, having served the apex body as both Deputy Secretary-General and Secretary-General, and can easily consolidate as President General. He is also a firm believer in both Restructuring and Nigerian President of Igbo extraction. Dr. Nworgu’s belief that Restructuring and Igbo Nigerian President are not mutually exclusive is the point of departure between him and one or two other top contenders.
Next is Professor George Obiozor. Prof. Obiozor was a Nigerian professor and diplomat. He was the Nigerian Ambassador to the United States. He studied at the Institute of African Studies, and Albert Schweitzer College. He graduated from the University of Puget Sound in 1969, and from Columbia University with a Ph.D. in International Affairs.
Professor George Obiozor is clearly qualified for the job but there are two major snags that need explaining away. They are age and his stand on Restructuring cum 2023 Presidential election. Unless Professor Obiozor has changed his mind, he does not believe in Igbo Nigerian President in 2023 and therefore is not likely to lend his weight to the quest. It is therefore obvious that the emergence of Prof. Obiozor would take the wind off the sail of the campaign and is likely to see to its Nunc dimittis(death).
The other factor that will have a telling effect on the Obiozor Ohanaeze Presidency is his age. Age has proved to be a major factor in leadership performance. Being too young or too old has produced poor results compared to the performance of the same individuals at their prime. At 78, Obiozor does not have the vigor anymore, the type brought on by Nnia Nwodo, which was vital to his prime and golden age performance.
Professor Chidi Osuagwu is one of the best brains of Ibo extraction and has quite a bit of record of Igbo-centrism in his kitty. But compared to Joe Nworgu’s expertise in Ohanaeze affairs, one would place the latter head.
Dr. Chris Asoluka, political scientist, lawyer, financial expert, and one-time Commissioner of Finance in Imo State, is the youngest of them all. He is cerebral and diplomatic and has knife-on-butter kind of communication skills. His intellect matches that of Obiozor, Nworgu, and Osuagwa and equally has the level of Igbo-centric experience Nworgu has in Ohanaeze affairs. Asoluka was once a Deputy President of Ohanaeze.
In conclusion, therefore, any of these four great men can be Ohanaeze President General, so picking out one will be an uphill task. But one has reasons for being particular about the candidacies of Professor Obiozor and Dr. Nworgu. Despite his towering credentials, Prof. George Obiozor is most likely to be a major stumbling block to the campaign for the Nigerian President of Igbo extraction, given his notorious insistence that all that Ndigbo needs now is Restructuring and should not waste their energy looking to become the President of Nigeria. This stance is at variance with what the other zones that are equally fighting for Restructuring are doing and, therefore, a disservice to Ndigbo. This position is inherently antithetical to the progress and integration of Ndigbo in Nigeria.
Joe Nworgu, on the other hand, is for both Restructuring and Nigerian President of Igbo extraction. He believes both are not mutually exclusive and are actually complementary. Joe also possesses the requite characteristics needed to discharge the responsibilities of the Ohanaeze PG creditably. He is an unapologetic Igboist, independent-minded, cerebral, diplomatic, smooth communicator, and energetic. Ndigbo can sleep with two eyes closed with him as Ohanaeze President General and under his guide, they can pursue both Restructuring and Nigerian President as South West and South-South are doing.
…Dr. Law Mefor is a Forensic/Social Psychologist and Journalist
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