The emergency of Nigerian former ambassador to the United States, Israel and Cyprus, Prof. George Obiozor, as the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo is raising some dust.. Obiozor emerged in an election held at Dan Anyim Stadium in Owerri, Imo State capital.
This was even as other candidates for the position boycotted the election.
Chief Jackson Omenazu, who spoke with newsmen at the venue of the election, declared the process that brought Obiozor to power as fraudulent.
Omenazu, who is the Board of Trustee Member representing Rivers State at Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said the outgoing president-general was misleading the Igbo nation.
Chief Gerry Igariwe, who declared Obiozor the winner, said he (Obiozor) got 304 votes to beat other candidates.
Though our correspondents observed that other candidates boycotted the election, Igariwe said the process was smooth and transparent.
Speaking to our correspondent, one of the candidates for Ohanaeze Ndigbo President-General position who boycotted the election, Prof Chidi Osuagwu, described the electoral process as fraudulent.
The former professor of Biochemistry from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, said the outgoing president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nnia Nwodo, destroyed the socio-cultural organisation.
Osuagwu explained that he pulled out of the electoral contest because the stakeholders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo said the election should be suspended.
Meanwhile, one of the aspirants for the position of the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mazi Ikechukwu Oji, withdrew from the race.
Oji, a former youth leader of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, announced his withdrawal from the election on Sunday in a statement titled, ‘Withdrawal from the Owerri show of shame called Ohanaeze election’.
He said his withdrawal was in compliance with the position of concerned Imeobi, (highest decision making organ of Ohanaeze Ndigbo) members and other critical stakeholders.
According to him, the concerned Imeobi members had insisted that the election be postponed and a caretaker committee under the Christian Association of Nigeria, South-East, be set up to
take way for the conduct of a more credible and transparent election to save Ndigbo from shame and chaos.
He further told journalist, “The purported election of Prof. George Obiozor was a show of shame” since it was held in utter disregard for electoral guidelines known to Ohaneze Ndigbo.
“The election was not transparent, being fashioned to produce Prof. Obiozor, as a predetermined outcome. The state congresses were either not held or held to the exclusion of candidates, not in Obiozor’s line-up.
“Secondly, it lost its legitimacy when all the other aspirants withdrew from the race, citing electoral irregularities.”
Also, one of the leading contestants for the post of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Secretary-General, Chief Chuks Ibegbu, announced his withdrawal from the election, describing the process as undemocratic.
Ibegbu, who is the outgoing Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the body, said, “Following obvious distortion of the proper democratic rules of engagement and feeling the pulse of the Igbo Nation, I hereby exclude myself from the Nwodo-led Ohanaeze election.”
But the All Progressives Congress congratulated Nigeria’s former ambassador to the United States of America, Prof. George Obiozor, on his election as President-General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation.
The party’s congratulatory message was contained in a statement titled, ‘APC congratulates Obiozor on emergence as Ohanaeze Ndígbo President-General, by the National Secretary of the party, Senator John Akpan Udoedehe, in Abuja, on Sunday.
While congratulating the incoming President-General, the party also congratulated the outgoing leader of the group, Chief John Nwodo, and the executive committee he headed for its “mature and patriotic leadership.”
The statement read in part, “The APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee under the leadership of Governor Mai Mala Buni is determined to consolidate the ongoing efforts to further mainstream the South-East geo-political zone in the workings of the governing APC and place the zone in its deserved political standing in the country.”
However, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly, which claims to be the only recognised Igbo socio-cultural organisation, has warned the newly elected Ohanaeze Ndigbo President General, Prof. George Obiozor, to confine himself to Imo State or risk arrest and prosecution.
The President-General of the group, Basil Onyeacholam, stated this in his reaction to Obiozor’s election in Owerri, Imo State on Sunday.
Describing Obiozor as president-general of Ohanaeze Ndi Imo, Onyeacholam said, “Whatever happened in Imo State today (Sunday) remained null and void.”
He said he (Onyeacholam) remained the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo recognised by law, the Federal Government and the international community.
Onyeacholam said, “Obiozor cannot function. Obiozor has been elected under an illegitimate platform and they were duly served of court processes before they embarked on the said kangaroo election.
“He should make sure he confines himself to Imo State and should not mention anywhere that he is the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. I still remain the President-General. I’m in charge. There is no vacancy in Ohanaeze Ndigbo leadership.”