How Buhari’s Letter To Ohanaeze Stoked Crisis
A LETTER written by the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, to the leadership of the Ohanaeze Nd’Igbo, the umbrella socio-cultural organisation of Nd’Igbo, is at the root of the current crisis threatening the organisation.
Not long ago, there was an attempt by yet-to-be identified persons to destroy the Ohanaeze Secretariat at No 7 Park Road, GRA, Enugu, even as a splinter group, led by the first republic Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, continues to battle the Gary Enwo Igariwey-led executive over the duration of its tenure.
However, investigations by The Guardian revealed that, contrary to the argument by the Mbazulike Amaechi that the tenure of the Ohanaeze executive is for a period of two years, the letter from Buhari seeking audience with leaders of Nd’Igbo actually sparked off the hostilities.
It was gathered that after the South East spokesman of the APC, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, brought the letter personally signed by General Buhari, an argument ensued between Amaechi and the Ohanaeze leaders over how and where the APC presidential candidate should be received.
In the letter — titled: “Request for Consultative Meeting” and dated November 7, 2014 — Buhari had written: “A time comes in the history of nations, when the ligaments holding the nation are stretched to their very ends, creating uncertainty, despair and general despondency to pervade the land. It is without pleasure that I say our country is once at crossroads.
“This regrettably is where none of us wants our dear nation to be; and it is because of this unpleasant scenario that I am persuaded by many Nigerians to come forward again to seek for your votes, in order to halt Nigeria’s dangerous slide into anarchy and possible state failure.
“In coming to the inevitable conclusion to seek your support and lend my humble service again to our fatherland, I considered it pertinent to hold consultations with all communities nationwide in order to build a mutually acceptable national consensus. Needless to add, no national consultation will be complete or meaningful without a meeting with the leadership of Ohanaeze NdIgbo.
“Since I cannot assume to know all the pressing issues facing Ndigbo or what Ndigbo expect of the new Nigeria we wish to build, I would greatly appreciate if you could kindly arrange a consultative meeting with Ohanaeze Ndigbo where we could discuss and try to determine how this could best be done”.
But no sooner had the letter gotten to the Ohanaeze leaders than the subject matter divided them because while Chief Amaechi was said to have told the Ohanaeze executive led by Igariwey that he should be allowed to host Buhari and his delegation at his country home, the Ohanaeze leaders objected.
A source close to Amaechi confided in The Guardian that the elder statesman, having noticed the body language of the Ohanaeze leaders towards possible endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan, contended that, as the most senior living political actor in Igbo land, he should be the one to receive the Buhari delegation.
“But the Igariwey executive insisted that since the letter was addressed to Ohanaeze Nd’Igbo, Buhari and his delegation should be received at the Ohanaeze Secretariat. The argument was partly the reason the issue of endorsement of President Jonathan was shelved until all the various contestants must have met with Ohanaeze,” the source disclosed adding that the crisis was instigated to ensure that each faction could endorse a different presidential candidate.
As at the time of filing this report, neither Chief Igariwey nor Chief Amaechi could be reached for comments.