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Igbo presidency: Ohanaeze Ndigbo didn’t visit Wike, says Ogbonnia

By Lawrence Njoku, Enugu
15 March 2023   |   4:05 am
Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo appears set to implode following the visit last week by some members of the group to Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike.

Alex Ogbonnia

Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo appears set to implode following the visit last week by some members of the group to Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike.

National Publicity Secretary of the group, Dr Alex Ogbonnia had after the visit last week issued a statement, saying it was to confront the governor over the role he played against the election of Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) during the presidential election in Rivers.

The visit has elicited negative reactions as many have condemned the group as lacking in principle.

But addressing reporters at the national secretariat of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Enugu yesterday, it’s Secretary General, Ambassador Okay Emuchay, dissociated the leadership of the group from the visit, saying the visit was not on behalf of Ndigbo.

He said: “My name is Ambassador Okey Emuchay, the Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide. This is to say that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide did not undertake any trip to see the Governor of Rivers State, His Excellency, Gov Nyesom Wike last week. Those who did went as private individuals, not as the NEC of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide. It is important for me to make this clarification in view of what has been trending in the media since last Thursday”.

He went on: “We had made efforts in the past to seek an audience with the Governor of Rivers State. For over two years, the late President General, myself and other stakeholders had to engage with prominent Nigerians whose names I am not here to disclose. The last effort was a letter I delivered via DHL to the Governor on the 18 of January this year, to among others, inform the him that the Deputy President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, High Chief Kroham Joel had passed on and the family had fixed a date for the funeral in his village in Ahoda West LGA of Rivers State. I did not receive any response to that letter. Ohanaeze NEC was in Ahoda West local government to bury the late Deputy President General. It is important to say that our Late President General, Amb Prof George Obiozor on his own, transferred the sum of N1million to the widow of the late Deputy President General, the Governor of Imo State provided N5 million to the family of the late Deputy President General. These were the funds that were used for his burial. He was buried on the February 4, 2023 and Ohanaeze NEC was fully represented to give him a befitting funeral.”

He said that the late President General, Prof George Obiozor was buried on February 10 in Imo State without any of the governors from the seven Igbo states attending, except a delegation from the government of Ebonyi and that Imo state, which bore the burden of the burial

“I don’t want to go further but the truth of the matter is that Ohanaeze will survive, Ohanaeze is in safe hands and we shall survive this period because this is the first time in the history of Ohanaeze that the Deputy President General and the President General will pass on at the same time,” he said.

On the issue of Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, a self acclaimed Secretary General of a faction of Ohanaeze Ndigbo,  Emuchay said that a high court had on March 10, issued order restraining him and three others from parading themselves as officials of the group.

“The legal department of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide is doing the needful and in the next few days, that process will be completed. I want to say once more that Ohanaeze has no faction. Okechukwu Isiguzoro was never elected as Secretary General of Ohanaeze.

“He goes about issuing statements that are injurious to the Igbo nation and to our nation, that are littered all over Nigeria and beyond. Okechukwu Isiguzoro should cease doing what he is doing and also, we call on his sponsors to understand that Ohanaeze will survive. Ohanaeze is above all of us. Ohanaeze is an umbrella organisation for all Igbo, both at home and in diaspora. So, those who are prodding him, those who are sponsoring him should please think about our people. Okechukwu Isiguzoro was never elected,” he said

The Secretary General pleaded with the Igbo people to remain law abiding and troop out on Saturday the 18th of March to exercise their civic responsibility.

Meanwhile, Ohanaeze Ndigbo said it received with shock the sad news of the passing of the former Dean of the Church of Nigeria, former Archbishop on the Niger and Bishop of Awka Diocese, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), the Most Rev’d Maxwell Anikwenwa.

Anikwenwa was called to glory on Monday, March 13, 2023.

A statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Alex Ogbonnia said he rendered invaluable supports to Ohaneze Ndigbo while alive.

“He was a notable member of Imeobi Ohaneze Ndigbo and would attend meetings, offering profound advice and organic solidarity. He stood for the unity of Ndigbo with a proviso that with the unity of purpose, the Igbo ingenuity, resourcefulness, cosmopolitanism and adventurism, will usher in a new paradigm and a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

“Anikwenwa distinguished himself as a moral edifice who loathed the lame argument that religion and Church do not mix, rather that the Church has enormous roles to play in sanitizing and edifying the democratic process for the good of the nation.”

He sent the condolences of Ndigbo to the Anglican Communion and the members of the immediate family, praying God to grant his soul peaceful repose.