By Tony Adibe
The highest Igbo socio-cultural association, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has picked holes the statement credited to one Okechukwu Isiguzoro that the newly elected President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu was an imposition that will destroy the pan-Igbo group.
The National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr Alex Chiedozie Ogbonnia, in a statement made available to NewsBits in Enugu on Tuesday, emphasised that Chief Iwuanyanwu was duly elected through “Doctrine of Necessity.”
Dr Ogbonnia recalled the electoral process that produced the business mogul and elder statesman, stressing that unsuspecting public may be misled by what he described as mischievous publication by Isiguzoro.
Ohanaeze said, “The attention of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has been drawn to a mischievous publication by Okechukwu Isiguzoro captioned “Iwuanyanwu’s Imposition Will Destroy Ohanaeze Ndigbo; Igbo Bishops’ Recommendation the only way forward. We are tempted to ignore the said publication because, it is true to type, but on a second thought, we reasoned that the gullible unsuspecting public may be misled, hence the following clarifications.”
According to the Ohanaeze spokesman, “It is worth repeating that Chief Engr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, CFR (Ahaejiagamba) was not imposed on the Igbo. For the records, after the befitting burial accorded to Ambassador Professor George Obiozor, CON and Chief Joel Kroham, the former President General and Deputy President General respectively, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide invoked a doctrine of necessity by requesting Imo and Rivers States to produce persons that will serve out the balance of the Obiozor and Kroham tenures.”
He explained that in line with the arrangement, the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Imo State Chapter, Barrister C. J. Ihemedu conducted enquiries in Imo State in respect of interests for the replacement of Obiozor as the president General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, but none indicated interest.
“In fact, many eminent Igbo pleaded with Chief Iwuanyanwu to rise to the occasion. The Council of Elders, Imo State held a meeting and endorsed Chief Iwuanyawu. The Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Imo State Chapter unanimously endorsed Iwuanyanwu. He was subsequently presented to Imeobi Ohanaeze Ndigbo and a motion for adoption of Iwuanyawu was moved by Chief Nnia Nwodo and with a voice vote, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu was elected as the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide without a dissenting voice,” according to the National Publicity.
Part of the statement further read: “The five governments of the Southeast of Nigeria were represented; His Excellencies, The Rt Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu State); Prof Charles Soludo (Anambra); Dr Kelechi Igwe, Deputy Governor (Ebonyi State); Sir Udo Oko Chukwu, Deputy Governor (Abia State); Prof. Placid Njoku, Deputy Governor (Imo State). His Excellency, Mr Peter Obi, the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, the Presidents of Ohanaeze in Delta and Rivers States, Prince Frank Nwandu and Mr Lucky Ekeji; HRM, Igwe Ambassador Lawrence Agubuzu, CON, the Chairman Council of Traditional Rulers, Southeast of Nigeria.
“HRM Igwe Alfred Achebe, CFR, the Obi of Onitsha; HRM, Eze Cletus Ilomuanya, foremost traditional ruler and Chairman, Council of Elders, Imo State; Prof. Anya O. Anya, Ambassador Okey Emuchay, MFR, the Secretary General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo; Prince Gary Igariwey, former President General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Arc Ferdinand Agu, Nze Ozichukwu Chukwu,etc were present to express solidarity to Chief Iwuanyanwu.
“The several Imeobi members who have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields were in attendance. Since the election of Chief Engr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, CFR Ahaejiagamba as the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, several eminent Igbo dignitaries and groups have been sending goodwill messages.
“For instance, a letter by Anya Igbo, a leading Igbo multi-organisation wrote Ahaejiagamba and stated among others: “We felicitate with you and acknowledge that you have earned the respect of the Igbo nation through your service and advocacy”…”while recognizing you as the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, we urge you to deploy all means possible in “uniting all factions of Ohanaeze under one leadership and ensuring that all court cases are withdrawn”.
The Anya Ndigbo added: “we hereby request for a meeting with your esteemed person to be held within the next two weeks”. The letter was signed by the following prominent Igbo dignitaries representing various Igbo groups: Elder Dr Uma Eleazu. Chairman, BOT, Anya Ndigbo; Engr. Chris Okoye, President, Anya-Ndi-Igbo; Chief Emeka Diwe, President, Association of Igbo Town Unions; Bishop Obi Onubogu, Chairman, BOT Ala-Igbo Development Foundation; Engr. Chike Madueke, President, Aka Ikenga; Prof. Anthony Ejiofor, President, World Igbo Congress (WIC); Prof. Nze Amadiebube Mbama, Global Igbo Leaders (GIL); Prof. Elochukwu Amucheazi, Secretary, Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT).
“Other statutory Imeobi Members that signed the document include Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Prof. Ihechukwu Madubuike, Prof Ven. Chinedu Nebo, Elder K.U Kalu, Amb. Lawrence Nwurukwu, Chief Dr. Omenazu Jackson, Prof. Chidi Osaugwu and Sir Okey Nwadinobi Secretary, Anya-Ndi-igbo. The Njiko Igbo Forum led by Rev. O C Obioha and several Igbo dignitaries including Senator Dr.Jim Nwobodo have sent their congratulatory messages. Chief Iwuanyanwu has responded by requesting for a meeting with the Anya Ndigbo on June 1, 2023, at the Ohaneze Ndigbo National Secretariat, Enugu. This symbolises the Ahaejiagamba large heart, magnanimity, and pragmatism.
“Going by the foregoing, one will easily appreciate that the Igbo all over the world are happy that with Iwuanyanwu, a “New Ohanaeze Ndigbo is Born” Before now, Iwuanyanwu is one of the finest amongst the Igbo; a philanthropist par excellence, massive employer of labour, robust creative thinker, brave soldier, accomplished engineer, astute business mogul, industrialist and sagacious politician.
“Iwuanyanwu is an expansive social magnet who radiates irresistible warmth, amiability, good cheer, and confidence in any environment. He is indeed a rare gift to the Igbo at this material time. I have stated elsewhere that beyond the above attributes was the general outcry for the prerequisites or the required persona for the Office of the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide.
“Most expect the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to be economically stable and viable. He should have a presidential stature and clout. He should have robust intellect and a mind of his own. The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo must detach himself from any governor and should have the courage and moral authority to reproach or condemn a governor or any high office holder who goes against the Igbo interest or public norms.
“The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo must show capacity in many respects. He should have the courage and convictions to channel Igbo interests to the President of Nigeria without compromises. He should place Igbo interest above self-interest. I also added that the president general should be large enough or should have the tentacles that will incorporate the Igbo elements in the South South of Nigeria and other sundry places.
“The person must have contributed his quota in diverse forms in promoting the Igbo heritage. The President General of Ohanaeze must not only understand the intricate and labyrinthine political dynamics of Nigeria but must have sufficient political and business contacts across Nigeria and beyond; in other words, he should understand the nuances of governments at all levels.
“It is important to add that reverence to age is part of our culture and to that extent, the person must have attained an elderly status enough to command the allegiance of most. More importantly, the President General must have been an active participant in the Ohanaeze activities. And more—Chief Iwuanyanwu by all standards fits in squarely into what the Igbo need now. Those who hinge their rascality on constitutional provisions of Ohanaeze Ndigbo are expected to emulate the enviable dispositions displayed by the Anya Ndigbo as illustrated above. Some of the basic norms that have preserved democracy in the USA are social justice, mutual toleration and forbearance or restraints in deploying their institutional prerogatives.
“On the other hand, the bane of Nigerian democracy is located not in the written constitution but in the lack of human spirit for equity, justice, mutual toleration, and moral restraints. The Anya Igbo and numerous Igbo across the world appreciate that the more in search for details, the more likely the devils will creep in. The Isiguzoro and his cohorts allege falsely that members of Ohanaeze Ndigbo visited Governor Nyesom Wike and collected a whooping “sum of $300 (Three Hundred US Dollars, as compensation to victims of the Obigbo Massacre and settlement of Biafran Agitators”.
“It is inconceivable that Governor Wike, in his acuity, will ever give One Dollar to the people of Obigbo in Rivers State through the members of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. In fact, only a buffoon or halfwit can ever believe such a fabrication aimed at settling scores.
“It must be admitted that the Office of the Public Relations, in representing the opinion of the group, suffers some unscrupulous vicarious bashing but not such a callous, malevolent, despicable and malicious allegation.
“In the words of Denis Agbo of the Vanguard Newspapers; it’s almost becoming a norm for a law offender to pose a defense tactic of negative branding against any authority wielding the big stick, not giving in to his comfort palace of violations and impunity. Agbo added that in such situations, the offenders become propagandists, calumny campaigners and jesters, just to soil the reputation of anyone standing against their illegitimate ways. In spite of the pebbles, the Office of the Public Relations remains firmly committed and undaunted in the discharge of its functions, most effectively.
“The point the Igbo all over the world make is that: Ohanaeze Ndigbo is sacred and should not be sending conflicting signals to the general public; while the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide led by Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu embodies the Igbo consciousness for the 2023 general election; the other is issuing press statements, mobilizing for the “inauguration of President-Elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu”. This is a sad denouement for the Igbo, especially at this critical time.
“Remarkably, since Chief Nnia Nwodo took over as the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in January 2017, Okechukwu Isiguzoro has remained a thorn in the flesh of Ohanaeze. Even with an Enugu State High Court injunction Ref. E/878/2022 restraining him and his group from parading themselves as officers of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Isiguzoro is obdurate, uunremorseful, and persistent in his avowals.
“Finally, to develop a penchant for attacking elders is a morbid invitation to karma. The relentless innuendo on His Excellency, Senator Hope Uzodimma, the Governor of Imo State with respect to Ohanaeze Ndigbo is both misguided and unfounded. This is because, in the words of Chief Damian Okeke Ogene, Senator Uzodimma, in spite of his enormous contributions to Ohanaeze has never interfered with the Ohanaeze decisions; while Sen. Uzodimma was committed to his party, the All Peoples Congress (APC) in the 2023 general elections, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo took a separate path in full support of Peter Obi. Chief Iwuanyanwu, on the other hand, is a noble statesman that towers above partisanship. In fact, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu is a rare gift to the Igbo.”