Aguene, Ossai row over leadership of Igbo in Lagos
Crisis is brewing in Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, Lagos chapter, as one of the leaders, Chief Sunday Ossai, has called on Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo worldwide to restrain Chief Solomon Aguene from parading himself as the president of the group and vacate the secretariat.
Ossai, who said Aguene’s tenure as president ended since June following allegation of gross misconduct which culminated into his alleged impeachment by the Ohanaeze General Assembly, called on the Lagos State government to disregard him as the bonafide president. He said Ohanaeze had sworn in another president in his person, following his victory in an election conducted by a team led by Chief Oliver Akubueze in July 5, 2022.
Ossai alleged that since that election, Aguene has refused to vacate the secretariat at James Robinson’s Street, Surulere, thereby denying him access to the seat of power.
According to Ossai, Aguene claimed that his tenure was eaten up by the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore, would resume a fresh tenure to make up for the one affected by the pandemic, a position he said was out of place.
He stated that Aguene’s tenure expired as of June but he (Aguene) wouldn’t relinquish power, rather he went to ‘an unconfirmed’ court to obtain a consent judgement for tenure elongation.
“Aguene was impeached for gross misconduct. A lot of things had been going on before he got this consent judgement. Nobody has ever gone beyond four years tenure in Ohanaeze. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the ceremony he organised for certain women in his office where they were chanting and dancing in a particular pattern in which they shouldn’t have danced.
“The people that promoted his impeachment got upper hand and unanimously voted in favour of the impeachment motion during the meeting. That was all that happened but he unfortunately got a consent judgement from the court mandating him to carry on for another four years.
“Aguene has been skimming and begging for tenure elongation, saying that COVID-19 ate into his tenure, a request which the Lagos chapter rejected outright. We want the General Assembly of Ohanaeze worldwide to tell him to desist from any act that would negatively affect the image of Ndigbo in Lagos,” he added.
Ossai insinuated that Aguene’s refusal to leave office was deliberate so as to still be in touch with some political groups that would solicit Ohanaeze’s votes during the 2023 general elections, which will come at a cost.
He claimed that it was Aguene who instituted the team that conducted the election that brought him to office but has refused to vacate the secretariat for him.
BUT in a swift reaction, Aguene, who occupies the secretariat as the sixth President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos, said anybody could conduct election in his house and declare himself president, referring to the election that Ossai claimed to have made him (Ossai) the new president.
According to Aguene, there is no tenure elongation in Ohanaeze as each president has four years tenure to pilot the affairs of the group in Lagos in keeping with the tradition since the inception of the group 21 years ago.
“In 2018, I was elected the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos to serve for four years. There is no tenure elongation in Ohanaeze. Election is conducted every four years for change of government.
“After I was elected in an election conducted by President General of Ohanaeze national body, Dr. Nnia Nwodo, some people constituted themselves into a faction and took me to court, saying that the people that conducted the election that brought me to power were not the right people,” Aguene said.
According to him, it is the outgoing president and his executive that are supposed to conduct the election.
“They conducted their own election that brought about Leo Okafor, saying that the parent body of Ohanaeze, influenced by Nwodo, conducted the election that brought me to office for certain reasons.
“Thereafter, the past president and members of his executive who were supposed to conduct the election took me to court and sworn in Leo Okafor with his executive. I was in court for over three years. At this point, we had a few months for our tenures to elapse. Then, Ohanaeze decided to settle the matter and agreed to collapse the executives to form one Ohanaeze.
“We agreed that all the executives will re-contest their positions with the exception of me, since I was the only person in court. Based on this, we got a consent judgement from the court and the election was re-conducted. Okafor didn’t contest because it was an agreement by Ohanaeze but Ossai was ‘talked’ into contesting the election by people who defrauded him. We do not have two Ohanaeze in Lagos.”
On the allegation that he conducted the election that made Ossai president, Aguene said he didn’t, adding that he didn’t know when the election was conducted.
“I must tell you that what they did was contempt of court because the court has ruled and given judgement on the matter before the said election. At the time the said election was conducted, the office of president of Ohanaeze was not vacant.
“When the national body of Ohanaeze came to Lagos and saw what I was doing, they were all happy and said I was doing well. It was at that point that they opted for settlement and decided to collapse the system for me to continue. For the past 21 years in Lagos, Ohanaeze didn’t have a secretariat. I made it to happen. The facts are there, you can find out yourself.”
Aguene said Ossai was defrauded by some people who conducted the election that was claimed to have made him president of Ohanaeze Ndigbo as they didn’t have the right to conduct any such election.
“The court has given the jugdement before that election was conducted,” he added.
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