There was tension yesterday during the emergency Ime-Obi meeting of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, as one of the aspirants for the President–General of the body in the January 11, 2021 elections, Prof. George Obiozor collapsed.
The meeting was convened to resolve differences arising from the list of 40-man Electoral Committee for the 2021 election of the organisation submitted to the Ime-Obi by the President-General, Chief Nnia Nwodo on December 6, 2020.
Imo state stakeholders had endorsed Obiozor, 78, as their consensus candidate, but he was said to have started shivering and losing consciousness at the meeting from where he was seated and somebody close to him called for help.
The Guardian also learnt that while he was being helped out of the hall, he slumped and started talking incoherently just as efforts to revive him failed, as he was moved into his car and accompanied by an Enugu State Government ambulance in a bid to rush him out of the venue.
A member of the Ime-Obi meeting who sat close to him at the meeting said Obiozor suddenly started behaving funny and talking to himself, adding that he noticed that he (Obiozor) was unwell and immediately called for help.
Meanwhile, after over three hours of the meeting presided over by Nwodo, the Ime-Obi Ohanaeze Ndigbo resolved to conduct the election as scheduled on January 11, 2021 in Owerri, Imo State.
Also, the disagreements arising from the list of electoral committee members were resolved with the emergence of a new Chairman of the Electoral Committee, Chief Gary Enwo Igariwey.
Igariwey, who was a former President-General of the Igbo apex socio-cultural organisation from Ebonyi State replaced Chief Ben Obi from Anambra State, whose nomination was opposed on December 6, 2020 by Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on the grounds that he was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
To arrive at Igariwey’s choice, Obi whose nomination was opposed willingly stepped down to enable the meeting to nominate another chairman after Nwodo nominated him (Igariwey) and unanimously approved by members of the Ime-Obi.
Igariwey will work with Bishop Goddy Okafor, who was nominated as Deputy Chairman and other members earlier nominated to conduct the January 11 election.
Nwodo, who told journalists after the meeting that it was not the first time Ohanaeze Ndigbo would be conducting its elections outside in Enugu, described the meeting as the ‘most peaceful’ the organisation has had in a while.
Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, Ebonyi State Deputy Governor, Kelechi Igwe, Ngige, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and former Enugu State Governor, Okwesilieze Nwodo, among several others, attended the meeting.