The Secretary General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro has alarm that ongoing attempts to impose Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu as Ohanaeze President General would destroy the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization.
While condemning the “consolidation of illegality” which said was allegedly orchestrated by Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State just to further his Imo Governorship re-election bid come November, 2023, he insisted that the only solution to the crisis remained the implementation of the Igbo Bishops’ Recommendation with necessary adjustments based on current realities such as Obiozor’s death.”
This was contained in a statement he issued on Sunday, 21st May,2023 sighted by hoo!haa!! Newspapers.
It reads in full:
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo has been bogged down with leadership impasse and crisis,
leading to factionalization since the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization’s January, 2021 elections.
Certainly, Ndigbo need Ohanaeze, a united and functional Ohanaeze; at this time, more than ever before. However, the only antidote to ending the Ohanaeze quagmire is an immediate implementation of the report of the Peace Committee of the Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops which was equally endorsed by the Joint Body of South East Traditional Rulers Council and Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops.
After sitting for several months and relying on the organization’s Constitution as well as memos and submissions from all interested parties, the Spiritual fathers realized that the immediate cause of the crisis was the unconstitutional removal of the then Secretary General, Barr Uche Okwukwu.
Constitutionally, the Secretary General has the duty of convening “all meetings of the National Executive Committee, Imeobi and General Assembly in consultation with the President General.
Following his wrongful exclusion from Ohanaeze due to political differences with the former President General, the Secretary General (Okwukwu), from his submission to the Bishops’ committee, in line with the Constitution, consulted the President General to convene meetings leading to the election of the Chief Engr Chidi Ibeh-led Ohanaeze executive in Enugu on 9th January, 2021 by the Prince Richard Ozobu election committee. The next day, being 10th January, 2021,the then President General, Chief Nnia Nwodo went ahead to conduct a factional election in Owerri without the Secretary General, in contravention of the body’s Constitution to produce the Late Prof George Obiozor led executive by Chief Gary Igariwey election committee.
At the heat of the crisis in 2021, majority of the Imeobi Members and recognized affiliates stood in opposition against Late Obiozor for allowing the Imo State Government to drag him into illegalities, for their selfish political ends. Whereas some imeobi members and Affiliated bodies supported and endorsed the Chief Engr Chidi Ibeh-led executive, others chose to be neutral and sue for peace and reconciliation. This led to the formation of Concerned Imeobi Members (Anya Ndị Igbo), comprising an overwhelming majority of well-known Imeobi Members and Global Igbo Leaders (GIL), comprising all Igbo organizations in Diaspora. The Bishops intervention was based on the pleas and petitions of Ohanaeze stakeholders especially the two bodies mentioned above and was predicated upon the solemn oath by both Obiozor and Ibeh factions to abide by the Bishops resolutions.
Unfortunately, as stated in the Bishops’ Report, the Obiozor group reneged on their words and rejected the recommendations and resolutions of the Bishops which would have led to the collapsing of both factions into one united executive, in the interest of peace.
Many people believe that the death of the Deputy President General and President General of Obiozor’ faction “while in office” soon after going against the holy ultimata and injunctions of the revered fathers of faith may be due to the wrath of the Holy Spirit, after they allegedly said that the report would only be implemented and enforced “over their dead bodies”
Yet, on April 30th, 2023, continuing on the same path of illegality, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, an octogenarian and a former Chairman, Ohanaeze Constitution Review committee allowed Governor Hope Uzodinma to use him in making a mockery of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, just to further his Imo Governorship re-election bid come November, 2023.
In a consolidation of illegality, two former President Generals of Ohanaeze, Chiefs Gary Igariwey and Nnia Nwodo threw caution to the winds to “appoint” Iwuanyanwu to replace Obiozor at committee of friends nicknamed Imeobi meeting based on a questionable and unwarranted “Doctrine of Necessity”.
Firstly, assuming but not conceding that the Obiozor faction is legitimate, the Constitution stipulates in Article 13 that, ” In the absence of the President General and the Deputy President General, the National Vice President whose state is next in alphabetical order shall act”. Since the President General and Deputy General slots are zoned to Imo and Rivers, respectively, the Vice President from Abia, being the next state in alphabetical order, or that of Anambra since Abia already has the Secretary General slot ought to have stepped in seamlessly to then conduct the election without much ado. Thus, there was no Constitutional lacuna to necessitate any Doctrine of Necessity, ab initio.
Secondly, according to Article 11 of the Constitution, “The President General shall be elected by the National General Assembly (not Imeobi) from all candidates from the state whose turn it is to fill the office, provided there are at least three candidates”.
Consequently, the illegitimacy of Iwuanyanwu’s purported leadership of Ohanaeze is very embarrassing and absurd since all Constitutional stipulations were jettisoned just to promote Uzodinma’s political desperation.
“If you want to answer Your Excellency, you must emerge from an EXCELLENT PROCESS”. Therefore, Iwuanyanwu’s emergence remains null and void and of no effect, to the extent of its glaring unconstitutionality, regardless of the number of Governors and dignitaries in attendance!
Ohanaeze Ndigbo therefore urges all Igbo patriots to apologize to the Igbo Bishops and Archbishops, who feel righteous indignation that the word of God they proclaimed as God’s oracle was shabbily jettisoned and to plead with them to publish and insist on the implementation of their recommendation, with necessary adjustments based on current realities such as Obiozor’s death.
“Righteousness exalts a nation and sin is a reproach to all nations”. Furthermore, a nation that rewards wrongdoing and corporate dishonesty will never know peace and progress.
We still stand by our words, to vacate office, in the greater Igbo interest, if the Bishops’ report is implemented. Until then, we shall remain in office to prevent Ohanaeze from falling into the hands of men of questionable past, who have a history of being “political guymen”; always eager to serve “Any Government In Power (AGIP) without any modicum of conscience or integrity, men whose Anti Igbo antecedents is public knowledge.
For challenging this illegality, we wish to alert Ndigbo and indeed all Nigerians that Governor Uzodinma has unleashed state security at his disposal on us. The President General, Chief Engr Chidi Ibeh, MFR and Secretary General, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro have had to contend with harassments and trailing by security operatives. Let the world be informed of the person responsible, if anything untoward happens to any member of our executive!
Again, we have been victims of blackmail and injurious propaganda by those trying to ascend the throne of authority in Ohanaeze through the backdoor.
Firstly, the Impostors are those who are afraid of the implementation of the Bishops’ Report. We have not collected and are not ready to collect any money from anyone in pursuit of our agenda of liberating Ohanaeze and indeed Ala-Igbo from the hawks. Let anyone who gave us one Kobo come forward with proof!
Contrarily, it is Alex Ogbonna, the Publicity Secretary of the Obiozor faction that has been leading most of their NEC members, from door to door, begging for money while sidelining Okey Emuchay. This led to Emuchay publicly disowning Ogbonna and his cohorts when they visited Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State who had incurred the wrath of Ndigbo and other Obidients by working against Obi’s election, to collect $300, 000, as compensation to victims of the Obigbo Massacre and settlement of Biafran agitators on the eve of the Governorship Election.
Rather, we are buoyed on by the need to return Ohanaeze to a common patrimony of Ndigbo, not the political portfolio of a select few. That was the case in the days of Ozobu, Ikemba Ojukwu, Adm. Ndubuisi Kanu and co. Again, “arụ gbaa afọ, ọ bụrụ omenala”. Throughout Nwodo’s tenure, the General Assembly described by the Constitution as Ohanaeze’s Supreme organ never met once. As such, Iwuanyanwu’s illegality, if allowed, as some are suggesting ” in order to give peace a chance”, shall set a terrible precedent and shall damage whatever is left of the respect Ohanaeze enjoys today.
If this Iwuanyanwu’s abominable act of illegality is allowed to stand by Ndigbo, what moral right do we have to ask Obi, the LP Presidential candidate to seek to legally reclaim the mandate which majority of Nigerians believe he was denied? How can any Igbo man or woman accuse the President Elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of not winning the election while supporting Iwuanyanwu, who never contested, talkless of winning any election?
To put the facts straight, we never supported any other Presidential candidate in 2023 elections, apart from that of the Labour Party, LP, Mr Peter Obi on the grounds of equity, competence and capacity. Based on our understanding with him, we made it clear that his, was a Pan -Nigerian project, not an Igbo project.
Again, the cheap propaganda that exposing Iwuanyanwu’s misadventure will affect Obi’s Presidency bid is untenable. Ohanaeze factionalization predates Obi’s Presidential Project. Besides, his party-the Labour Party, LP, stated officially that the ongoing factionalization of the party will not affect Obi’s case. Despite being also affected by leadership challenges, Afenifere has given more support to Obi’s Presidential Project than Ohanaeze.
However, while urging Obi to continue the pursuit of his case in court, we encourage Ndigbo to remain law abiding and supportive of the Government of the day under Tinubu, pending when a court of competent jurisdiction up turns the his election.
This has become necessary to protect Ndigbo, especially our people living outside Ala-Igbo from Igbophobic attacks. During and after the election, several markets have been burnt in Lagos just to punish Ndigbo. Several Igbo persons lost their lives as well. Igbophobia is becoming popular with the security agencies failing to deal with its proponents, especially Mc Oluomo. Just days ago, Kehinde Adesoga Adekusibe @GideonAdekusibe sent out a genocidal tweet, ” Lets kill all the Igbos. Lets flush them out of Yoruba lands. I hate these people with passion. They are violent people. They are worst. They hate us. Lets hate them without holding back”. Till date, the security agencies have done nothing to deter such. Rather, to the shame of the Igbo community in Lagos, the Eze Igbo Ilupeju has been incacerated for over a month and is being tried for terrorism for threating that IPOB would be invited to protect Igbo lives and properties in Lagos since the police and other security agencies have decided not to do so, has been abandoned to his own fate.
Ndigbo should know that we are not aware of any court case, neither did any court of competent jurisdiction including the Enugu High court serve us. Rather, we sued the late Obiozor faction in Umuahia and Abuja courts since 2021 July.
For clarification and putting the records straight, we have not received any funds from Peter Obi or Tinubu, we funded Obi’s elections through our Obidient groups with over N58m from our membership dues, and it’s strategic for Ndigbo at the moment to support the President Elect, Bola Tinubu, until the Presidential Tribunals and Supreme Court says otherwise, the protection of Igbo businesses, investments, properties and lives outside the southeast especially those Igbo residents in the Northern and Western Nigeria is paramount.
We challenge one Alex Ogbonia to deny if he is not the impostor who is crying foul because we have barricaded all access for them to utilize Ohanaeze name for personal and political gains, it will cost us nothing to be the servants of Ndigbo.
Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro
Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide