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16 years after, Ohaneze in Delta reconciles


President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo

After almost two decades of avoidable crisis that outlived two Delta State administrations, Igbo apex socio-cultural group, Ohaneze, has finally reconciled.

It was a special day in the history of the group, as Ezeh Nnajiofor Michael (JP) of Ebonyi State who emerged as president-elect was handed over the mantle of leadership in Warri, Delta State.

Honourable Ezeh who contested the 2015 Ebonyi State House of Assembly under All Progressives Alliance (APGA), who spoke with journalists at his Warri residence said: “ My emergence as new president of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Delta Central and South Senatorial zones will consolidate peace, unity and love, for the progress of Ndigbo and our host communities. Crisis has never yielded good dividend because it hampers development, progress and unity moving forward. Hence it should not be encouraged under any guise.”

Ezeh, an engineer, further corrected an impression on the face-off thus: “Let me quickly correct this erroneous impression. Ndigbo have not been in crisis for sixteen years.

Yes, we were in that situation few years back, but on March 17, 2012, Deacon Jerry Chibuzor Azikiwe led administration proffered peace and ended the feud.

Since then peace has been restored and has come to stay.

“And Ndigbo in our zone now speak with one voice in unity. That was what gave birth to the hand over that would be taking place to Ebonyi State as enshrined in a working document put together by that administration. “

He further stressed,”in obedience to that document Enugu State should hand over to Ebonyi State and that is why the group nominated me and I was unanimous endorsed by Ebonyians to take over the Ohanaeze leadership mantle from 2018, for tenure of four years.

Thereafter another state of the South East will take over from me. From the above elucidations, you can see that it has not been crisis all the way.”

On what his people lost to the power tussle in the state, he said, “without any equivocation just as I stated above, a period of crisis is a period of colossal lost nothing to gain and nothing to benefit, especially, when viewed from the point that he population of Ndigbo in Delta State cannot be ignored in any political dispensation.

“It may interest you to also note that we struggled to vote in the People Democratic Party, PDP, into office and eventually, we were almost forgotten due to the unfortunate situation then. We have to change the narrative as Ndigbo was sidelined from the dividends of democracy, as we engaged in that crunch.”

He praised the role played by the state government in the attained peace for Ohaneze.

His words: “The government of Delta State led by His Excellence Senator Doctor Ifeanyi A. Okowa has shown huge co-operation by bringing Ndigbo as part of his government by appointing some of our sons to his cabinet.

Through two prominent Igbo sons, Mr. Festus Ukeje and the Special Assistant on Non Indigene Affairs, Okowa was able to mediate and finally gotten the issues resolved. The former governors (Chief James Ibori and Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan) on their own tried, but Okowa finally nipped it in the bud.”

As he stepped up to receive the hand over note, Ezeh said his immediate, medium and long plans for the group are legion. He said: “By God’s grace will my administration will look at the remaining grey areas, skirmishes and unresolved aspects in terms of proper cohesion, unity and peace that would be tidied up.

“Misconceptions, disagreement and disunity is inevitable because we are living in an imperfect world. But my promise and assurance to Ndigbo, is that I will lead with the fear of God, an open mind and an all-inclusive administration that is capable of nipping in the bud challenges as they rear their ugly heads up.”

He insists that winning the confidence of the various market groups, town unions and professionals among others that make up Ohanaeze remains a proiority, adding that, “The only thing that does not wave in life is the truth. I have vowed without fear of contradictions to tell my people the truth, and stand firm on truth, notwithstanding whose ox is gourd. There will be fairness, ensuring equity and fair play at all times. “

He further revealed his plans for the very vocal and vibrant Igbo youths, women and the aged under his watch, thus: “Generally speaking Ndigbo are known for their skill in trading and craft and above all education being the highest treasure on earth. It will no longer be business as usual. So we will ensure that the youth are meaningfully engaged in the above mentioned.

He further promised that, “We will achieve this by empowering through a revolving cash loan, to set up small scale industries or learn a trade through, which would in future make them self-reliant, and contribute meaningfully to the society.

Same hands of fellowship would be extended to indigent women, widows and welfare in form of stipends for the elderly in our communities back home. We will also encourage a free and qualitative medicare for the aged in our society”.

He hopes to improve on the cordial relationship with their host communities on his watch. His words: “Peace, having been realized, there will be need to strengthen the existing cordial relationship, inter-ethnic cohesion while helping one another.

We will also ensure that our people continue to respect the culture and tradition of our host communities, while also ensuring that we relate with them on mutual respect. Like the saying goes, respect is reciprocal.”

As a leader of Ndigbo in Delta State, how will he handle political issues without weighing on a side.

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