2015: Igbos didn’t have the proper vehicle to vie for president – Ohaneze

By Vincent Ujumadu

Awka—THE national leadership of the apex Igbo socio –cultural organization, the Ohaneze Ndigbo said yesterday in Awka that it had not endorsed any aspirant for the 2015 presidential election.

National president of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Gary Enwo-Igariwey said at a briefing in Awka, Anambra State, that the organization would not endorse anybody without adequate consultation with the stakeholders, including Ime Obi (the Igbo Think Tank) and the South East Council of Traditional Rulers.

He said: “Ohaneze has made no statement on the adoption of any presidential candidate and that is the truth.

The fact remains that Ohaneze does not have a programme for Igbo president in 2015, but before we adopt any candidate, we have to consult widely on the issue and it would therefore be inappropriate for anybody to say that we have adopted any candidate. The Ime Obi and other Ohaneze affiliate organizations have to decide on the issue before Ohaneze leadership would take a stand.”

The Ohaneze president was however emphatic that Igbos did not have the proper vehicle to vie for the president in 2015, arguing that it was for that reason that it decided to suspend the ambition until the expiration of the tenure of President Goodluck Jonathan.

He also said the organization would address the issue of indiscipline in Ohaneze, noting that a situation whereby affiliate organizations would be announcing the adoption of a presidential candidate when the parent body had not made any pronouncement on the matter amounted to indiscipline.

Igariwey defended the absence of governors and other notable politicians of Igbo extraction during the celebration of the Igbo Day in Awka on Monday, attributing it to the National Honours’ Award ceremony which took place in Abuja on the same day.

According to him, most of those who were expected to attend the Awka ceremony but were unable to do so, apologized for their absence and promised to reach out to the organization later.
Source: Vanguard, 1st October 2014.




National Conference Crisis Rocks Ohaneze over Selection of Delegates

Chief Nnachi Enwo Igariwey
Chief Garry Igariwey, president-general, Ohaneze

* Ozekhome faults FG’s ‘no-go-areas’

By Christopher Isiguzo  and Adibe Emenyonu  
Ahead of the proposed national conference, a major crisis may have hit the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo, over the alleged plans by the organisation’s leaders to hand-pick their cronies as delegates to the conference.

The crisis is coming on the heels of a declaration by a human rights lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), that the proposed national conference would be a waste of time if it fails to discuss the issue of unity of the country, which the federal government described as “a no-go-area”.

However, leader of the Igbo Women Assembly and former president of Council of Women Society (NCWS) in Enugu State, Chief Maria Okwor, who raised the alarm Tuesday, asked the governors of the five states of South-east to liaise with the Igbo Leaders of Thought, led by renowned constitutional lawyer, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, on how to select delegates to the conference in view of the leadership crisis rocking Ohaneze Ndigbo.

She alleged that the leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo led by Chief Garry Igariwey as president-general and Dr. Joe Nwogu as secretary had both planned to plant stooges as delegates that would represent Igbo women at the conference.

Okwor further substantiated her allegation by citing a women’s meeting summoned by Igariwey and Nwogu yesterday at the Ohaneze secretariat in Enugu, where prominent women members of Imeobi Ohaneze, including herself were excluded.

“There is also so much power concentrated at the centre. Power should be devolved to regions or zones. We did not agree with the PAC report because what we need in Nigeria today is a new constitution and not a military constitution that we are currently operating. We have agreed to be at the conference despite the modalities but we don't want another jamboree in the name of national conference.
“Now that Ohaneze has problem, we asked Nwabueze to call everybody together to harmonise views to be presented at the conference. After articulating the Igbo positions, Igarawey was invited to sign the document but he refused.

“We have people of integrity in the Igbo Leaders of Thought and I don’t understand why Ohaneze cannot support it. We agree that Ohaneze is the apex Igbo body even though there are other Igbo bodies but the Ohaneze leadership has to be right.

“We won’t boycott the conference but we women want to support what will benefit our children. We the Igbo women in Ohaneze are in support of Igbo Leaders of Thought under Prof. Ben Nwabueze. I will lead the protest against Ohaneze if they try to exclude us.”

Meanwhile, Ozekhome,  who commended President Goodluck Jonathan for initiating the conference, which “other past leaders failed to do”,  insisted that the conference would end up as a jamboree if the issue of the unity of the nation, fiscal federalism, resource control, devolution of powers, autonomy of ethnic nationalities, corruption and other types of government needed.

Fielding questions from journalists in Benin City, the Edo State capital, Ozekhome noted that fundamentally, the issue of type of government to adopt should be paramount among other issues because it would deal with whether we are satisfied with the presidential system of government which according to him, “has been shown to be very expensive and money guzzling.”

While reacting to the modalities for the conference, Ozekhome said: “I disagree with the federal government position of said there is no go area. We have passed the stage where we can say we cannot discuss Nigeria in all its ramifications, we even discussed God and how he created the world, it is in Genesis. Why are we afraid of discussing ourselves?

“Why are we scared of discussing where we are coming from, where we are and where we want to go to? Who said we cannot discuss the problems of Nigeria. We have never agreed to live together as a nation. There was a time when the late Sadauna of Sokoto, Sir. Ahmadu Bello, once described Nigeria as a piece of historical mistake. Chief Obafemi Awolowo once described Nigeria as a piece of geo-graphical expression.

“Nigeria’s unity is negotiable. The so called indissolubility and indivisibility are mere rhetorics that cannot stand the test of time. Nigeria’s unity is negotiable, because failure to negotiate it is to postpone the evil day.

“At the conference some fundamental questions will emerge as to why we don’t have confident in one another, and why are we suspicious of one another? Why we believe more in our ethnic nationalities. Not to have it is to continue to postpone the evil day,” he said.

Source: ThisDay, 5th February 2015.