Ohanaeze disagrees as group seeks fresh election

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Raphael Ede, Enugu

A group under the aegis of Ohanaeze Veterans rose from an extraordinary meeting on Sunday in Enugu and called on Imeobi – the highest decision-making organ of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to immediately set up a caretaker committee to conduct an all inclusive credible and unifying Ohanaeze election.

The group, which described parallel elections that produced both Professor George Obiozor and Chidi Ibeh as fundamentally flawed, said none complied with the Ohaneze Ndigbo constitution.

In a communique signed by Mazi Bismarck Oji and Ndubuisi Igwekala; Convener and Co-Convener respectively, the group condemned the alleged killing of innocent people by Nigerian soldiers during a clash with members of Eastern Security Network set up by the Indigenous People of Biafra to contain the activities of herdsmen, kidnapping and armed robbery in the South-East region.

The communique read in part, “The purported removal from office of the immediate past Secretary General, Uche Okwukwu, is a nullity to the extent that no General Assembly meeting ratified it in line with the constitutional provision that “the General Assembly is the supreme organ of Ohanaeze which has the power to elect and remove NEC members and as well ratify all Imeobi decisions for them to become valid.

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“The Imeobi meetings of 6th and 20th December, 2020, where the immediate past president-general, Chief Nnia Nwodo, derived his powers to set up the Igariwey Electoral Committee is a nullity since they were summoned by a staff of the Ohanaeze Secretariat, the Administrative Secretary, not the Secretary General, as stipulated in the constitution. Moreover, there was no General Assembly meeting to ratify it.

“Therefore, we join the Global Igbo Leaders (GIL) a broad coalition of key Igbo organisations in urging the Concerned Imeobi Members to expedite action on the formation of the caretaker committee which shall midwife the process of an all inclusive credible and unifying Ohanaeze Election. Delay defeats equity.”

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On the ESN/ soldiers clash, the group said, “We condemn soldiers of the Nigerian Army for their highhandedness in handling their recent clash with the ESN vigilante.

“Rather than exercising restraint, what occurred was a repeat of the Obigbo massacre; shooting, maiming and harassment of unarmed civilians, including women.

“We suggest that a group of eminent Igbo elders should be saddled with the arduous but pertinent task of getting IPOB and the governors to the negotiation table in order to avert further security hitches in Ala-Igbo and ensure mutual respect and cooperation. These three wise men; Bishop Obi Onubogu, Prof. T. U. Nwala and Prof. Elo Amucheazi, should rise up to the occasion and save Ala-Igbo.”

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Reacting to the call for a fresh Ohanaeze poll, the National Publicity Secretary of the apex Igbo group, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, described the call as unfortunate.

He said, “They are entitled to their opinion, but the truth is that all the five governors of South-East were there; those who couldn’t come sent their representatives. All the traditional rulers, ministers; in fact, members of the National Assembly and who is who in Igboland were there at Owerri to authenticate and legitimatize the election.”

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