Tension as Nwabueze, group kick against imposition at Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s election
Elder statesman and Chairman of Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT), Professor Ben Nwabueze has warned against imposition of a sole candidate for the office of the President-General at the re-scheduled Ohanaeze election
Nwabueze’s position contained in a letter sent to one of the candidates, Professor Chinweyite Ejike, was in response to the alleged endorsement of a former Minister for Information, Nnia Nwodo as a sole candidate by the Enugu State Government.
Similarly, a group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Stakeholders Forum, South-South Region, has raised alarm over what it described as a plot by some prominent politicians to install candidates in the positions ceded to Delta and Rivers states.
The group in a statement signed by Coordinator, Amadi Fineman and Secretary, Wigwe Kindness urged all members and stakeholders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in the South-South to resist the plot.
Although, Nwodo’s endorsement had not gone well with other contestants, who include ex-Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Allison Madueke; and two senior lawyers, Enechi Onyia (SAN) and Mike Ajogwu (SAN), Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had explained that it was a collective decision of ‘stakeholders’ in the state.
Nwabueze who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), argued that the office of President-General belongs to the entire Ndigbo and not to any one particular State, as to bestow on it the right to impose a sole candidate on the organisation, stressing that such moves stultify the idea of a healthy contest producing a credible and competent choice.
According to him, the composition of the electorate must conform to the provisions of the organisation’s Constitution to assure its ability to make a free, fair and credible contest.
He contended that the election provides an opportunity to revitalize Ohanaeze; to inject into it the spirit, vision and dream that prompted it’s founding some 40 years ago.
“The requirements of the Ohanaeze Constitution are backed by a sensible and desirable rationale intended to ensure justice and fairness as between the States, as well as to ensure that the candidate emerging from the election as winner would be a person who possesses the requisite qualities. The requirements should be maintained. There should be no imposition of anyone as a sole candidate,” Nwabueze added.
He endorsed Ejike for the position saying that he is a good manager of men and resources, an exemplary leader, a man of outstanding intellectual endowment, with an affable personality and a high sense of responsibility.
Meanwhile, the former Presidential Liason Officer, during the Alhaji Shehu Shagari administration pointed out that “against all odds I insisted that even the so-called members from the non-core Igbo states should be allowed to head Ohanaeze,” adding that that was how the late Raph Uwechue ended up taking over from him.
Ikedife said he knows most of those angling to become President General, stressing that apart from being in the Ohanaeze fold longer than others, Chief Nnia Nwodo was involved in the writing of the Ohanaeze constitution. “Most of Imeobi meetings during that period were held in Nnia Nwodo’s residence,” he added, pointing out that it was the younger Nwodo that donated the Ohanaeze secretariat during his stint as governor of Enugu State.
The former Liason Officer said he expects whoever emerges after today’s election to move Ohanaeze in the right direction, pointing out that it was because of the near-comatose situation of the socio-cultural body that a motley Igbo groups started springing up to fill the vacuum.
Also speaking on the election, National Chairman and founder of United Progressive Party (UPP), Dr. Chekwas Okorie, said electing Nwodo, who had shown consistence in the organization “is in the greater interest of the Igbo nation.”
He declared: “I very strongly recommend Chief Nnia Nwodo to be unanimously elected as the President General on Tuesday December 10, 2017. I make this recommendation with every sense of responsibility and patriotism. Chief Nnia Nwodo towers head and shoulder above those who have stepped forward to contest for the office of President General in terms of commitment and personal sacrifice to the cause of the apex Igbo socio cultural organisation, consistently for several years.”
While stressing that Nwodo has paid his dues with or without government endorsement, Okorie said: “Let me remind members that Chief Nnia Nwodo played a central role in supporting his elder brother, His Excellency Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, the former Governor of Enugu State to donate the present National Secretariat of Ohaneze complete with a Certificate of Occupancy.”
Although, Nwodo’s endorsement had not gone well with other contestants, who include ex-Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Allison Madueke; and two senior lawyers, Enechi Onyia (SAN) and Mike Ajogwu (SAN), Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had explained that it was a collective decision of ‘stakeholders’ in the state