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Ayade’s N20m largess, alleged dethronement divide Ndigbo in C’River

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Cross River State Government’s N20m largess and alleged dethronement of the Eze Ndigbo have split Ohanaeze Ndigbo in the state.

This led to suspension of the Acting President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Ugoji Nwabueze, while his (Nwabueze’s) camp dethroned the Eze Ndigbo.

Governor Benedict Ayade had given N20m to the Igbo community in 2019, but it was alleged that Nwabueze shared the money without consulting the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation.

Speaking during a media briefing at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) press centre in Calabar, President-General of Igbo community in the state, Chief Obi Oyeka, linked the crisis to Nwabueze’s disbursement of the N20m Governor Ayade gave to the organisation without consulting other members.

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He said all the Igbo groups in the state were still working as a united group, insisting that Nwabueze’s claims of dethroning Eze Ndigbo only existed in his imagination.

“Nwabueze was Vice President, who became Acting President when the former President died. However, the state executive was dissolved on December 12, 2020 after its tenure expired in May 2020,” he said.

He explained that due to some constitutional infringements, Nwabueze was suspended from the organisation, which was why he claimed to have dethroned Eze Ndigbo in Cross River.

Oyeka added that a meeting of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, which held on March 20, 2021, suspended him from the organisation, so he has no powers to dethrone Eze Ndigbo, whose installation precedes his tenure, asking: “By the way, in what capacity does he dethrone Eze Ndigbo? Is he a chief or kingmaker?

Also, Chukwuemeka Egwuonwu, who apologised to the Eze Ndigbo group for his role in disbursing part of the money Nwabueze’s instruction without informing them, explained that he Nwabueze made him to pay for the vehicles, which he later regretted.

“He told me about his plans of getting two vehicles for the organisation and we paid N13m, but I apologise to the Igbo, because we did not follow due process. I only collected about N900, 000 that I used to buy drinks for people,” he said.

But reacting to the alleged disbursement of the N20m without due process, Nwabueze told The Guardian that the money was not in his custody, saying since he promised to buy vehicles for the group, he only asked that N13m should be used to buy two buses, which Egwuonwu paid directly to the seller from his account.

On his alleged suspension, he said the Ohanaeze constitution made no provision for caretaker committee or interim executive, and as such, his purported suspension was illegal.

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