Ohanaeze constitutes 40-man electoral committee

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The Ohanaeze Ndigbo on Sunday named a 40-man committee ahead of its January 11 election.

The committee was selected at a meeting by the organisation’s highest decision making organ, Ime-Obi.

Ohanaeze President-General Chief John Nwodo said his administration would not impose a successor.

He said: “I have no desire to nominate or choose my successor contrary to widespread reports in the media.

“My administration cannot undermine the unity of Igboland no matter the pressure by anybody.

“What we have done so far is to set the template for a peaceful transition and whatever anybody has done to suggest that we are working towards a consensus candidate and in the process, rob Ndigbo of ideal leadership, is not true. We are committed to a credible process that will be accepted by Ndigbo.”

Nwodo named 40 persons proposed by his executive from the five Igbo speaking states, including Rivers and Delta, as members of the 2021 Electoral Committee.

He announced that while Imo, Abia, Enugu, Anambra and Ebonyi had four members each on the list, Delta and Rivers states had three members each.

Other members were drawn from major Igbo groups, such as the Ndigbo Lagos, Association of Southeast Town Unions (ASETU), the Diaspora Youth Wing, Ohanaeze Abuja, Aka Ikenga, Izu-Umunna, among others.

But the event was not without some disagreements.

Nwodo had proposed that Chief Ben Obi from Anambra State should head the committee and Chief Ferdinand Agu from Enugu State would be the secretary.

But no sooner had the names been reeled out than discordant voices were raised. Many insisted that the list was defective.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, dismissed the list as improperly procured, stressing that he was not consulted before the names from Anambra were chosen.

Ngige stated that the list was “full of practising politicians”, insisting that a proper Ime-Obi should be constituted to enable Anambra members of the committee to be submitted.

“I am a former governor. I have served the leadership of Aka Ikenga and Ndigbo Lagos. I was a senator and now a minister.

“I am eminently qualified to nominate those who should be at the committee and there is no way this can be done without our input,” he said.

Arguing along the same line, former Imo State governor, now a senator, Rochas Okorocha, said Imo State had no consensus candidate as far as he was concerned.

Expressing disappointment that “Prof George Obiozor could condescend to the level of becoming a consensus candidate with all his exposure”, Okorocha insisted that such action was not known to the Ohanaeze constitution.

He called on Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and others who endorsed Obiozor to withdraw it in the interest of Ala-Igbo, stressing that Ndigbo should be allowed to conduct their affairs without rancour.

However, General Obi Umahi (rtd), Chief Iwuanyanwu and others appealed that the meeting should uphold the list.

They stressed that the committee was only working to produce the next executive for Ohanaeze Ndigbo and had until January to conclude the process.

They said there was never a time every Igbo person would agree on the list, stressing that Anambra, for instance, “will never agree even if you give them up to the year 2023 to produce their members”.

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, urged the committee members to work in the interest of Igboland, stressing that “we are not as stable as we ought to be”.

He said the contentions that have followed the elections were unnecessary, as according to him, “we are all Igbo and only one person will be President-General at a time”.

At the meeting were ministers of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu; Environment, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor; former Senate presidents Ken Nnamani and Adolphus Wabara, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, among others.

The meeting also appointed Chief Iwuanyanwu, Senator Nnamani and Igwe Achebe to look into the misunderstanding between Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi and former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim and others.

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