Recently, the leadership of both Youth and Women wings of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo were inaugurated in Enugu state, by the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo and members of the Imeobi, with the aim of stemming the crisis rocking the groupBut the crisis still lingers, with threats and verbal missiles becoming the order of the day within the group, as CHUKS NWEZE observes
Colourful inauguration In a colourful but belated ceremony, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo youth wing leadership and that of the women wing, were inaugurated. The grandiose inauguration took place at a Hotel in Enugu on May 7, 2018.
The ceremony which was billed to take off at 2 pm, kicked off at about 5 o’clock in the evening when the Ohanaeze national leadership led by Chief Nnia Nwodo, and his executive members and some Imeobi members stepped into the arena where the inauguration took place. However, in spite of the fact that the inauguration did not kick-start as scheduled, the youth wing leadership elected on April 19, 2018 and that of the women wing that took place the following day, were sworn in without the president- elect, Mr. Arthur Obiora, who hails from Anambra state, because one of his contenders to the position of the youth presidency, Sir Tony Uche Ezekwelu, wrote a petition against him that he has passed the age limit of 50 years. Contentions When Nwodo mounted the rostrum after swearing the rest of the executive, he explained that they took time to look into the petition and had to set up a committee to look into the allegation of age falsification so that the true president could be ascertained and sworn in. As Nwodo explained it, it looked like a light matter but it caused tension and blood to run high while the meeting to resolve the issue lasted as the hall for the inauguration had been filled to the brim by wellwishers, Ohanaeze chieftains as well as the media men who had come to witness the hilarious ceremony.
Endless crisis Before the inauguration, Ohanaeze Ndigbo youth leadership has been in crisis because the former Ohanaeze national leadership had disbanded the women wing and the youth wing led by Nazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro from Abia.State for unruly behaviour that bothered on extortion of money from the public using Ohanaeze name and for making statements as if it the true representation of the EnwoIgariwey leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, then. When Nwodo took over in January, 2017, instead of a vibrant and united youth wing, he inherited a discredited youth leadership that approached him to allow them to continue but Nwodo would not hear of it. Immediately Nwodo announced that the youth wing and the women wing leadership should be put in place, the former leadership led by Nazi Isiguzoro began to fight back and called Nwodo names and even moved to dethrone him.
At a stage, using some willing media organisations, Isiguzoro and his cohorts announced that Nwodo was no longer the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo because he has been supplanted but by who, they could not tell. In spite of Isiguzoro’s media outpouring and the alleged link with the recent bombing of Nwodo country home in Ukehe, the President General still went ahead, undaunted and conducted elections and subsequently inaugurated them.
Ensure peace reigns While speaking at the occasion, Nwodo said that since his assumption of the position of Ohanaeze leadership, he has tried everything in his power to ensure that peace reigned in Ohanaeze and the entire Igbo race in general, pointing out that it was not he that sacked the former Ohanaeze Ndigbo youth leadership but his predecessor, Igariwey who wanted to maintain sanity and decorum banned the youth and women wing. “Since January, 2017, we have been trying to ensure that there is peace.
The past youth wing exco did evil and were going about extorting people in the name of Ohanaeze and were disbanded. “They approached us to allow them to continue but we said no that their tenure has expired. When we called for election, they started accusing me of all sorts of things, even claiming to have removed me as the President General.
I did not say anything because they are my children, “Nwodo explained. Vituperative attacks Unknown to Nwodo, even after the election and the inauguration of the new youth wing leadership, Isiguzoro and his former exco, having tasted power, is not relenting in their vituperative attacks on as they continued to use their willing tools in the media to tarnish Nwodo’s image and to aver that the election of the new leadership was a nullity because their tenure was still running.
The former youth wing exco led by Maxi Isiguzoro in a statement signed by Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, Secretary General, Ohanaeze Youth Wing and Comrade Obinna Achionye, Deputy President, immediately after the inauguration of the new exco that replaced them, launched attack on Nwodo for daring to elect their replacement.
The statement read in part thus:“it has come to the notice of Ohanaeze Youth Wing, OYW, that the illegal and unconstitutional political appointee youth cliques, created by the erstwhile President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, to impersonate Okechukwu Isiguzoro-led Ohanaeze Youth Wing has been unlawfully inaugurated.
“We hereby reiterate that there is no vacancy in Ohanaeze Youth Wing and shall regard this as an affront to create ill feelings within Ohanaeze youth, an action that is likely to break public peace. We call upon the public to note the following stand of Ohanaeze Youth Wing. Conventional stipulation “On the age limit, Arthur Obiorah, 56, is not qualifi ed, for in Ohanaeze Youth Wing leadership, we are governed by the conventional stipulation known as United Nation’s standard, which is also prevalent in Nigeria, which put youth age at not above 40 years.”
While also accusing Obiorah of not possessing the right academic qualifi cations, the group said that he is “a grandfather with three grandchildren and has no business being around Ohanaeze Youths, not to even talk of leading/representing Igbo youths before the public or even participating in ethnic nationality youth forums’ meetings with youths from Arewa, Afenifere, Ijaw, Middle Belt, etc.
“Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro remains the president of Ohanaeze Youth Wing until next April when the Abia tenure expires and a resourceful youth president emerges from Anambra. “Be it noted that Ohanaeze Youth Wing is fully an independent organ, with full backing of the laws of the land and Igbo mandate, fully registered appropriately as a corporate entity, which could sue and be sued.
“However, Ohanaeze Youths will not be deterred from fully operating democratically and as well continue to serve Ndigbo well, with respect to others. Regrettable threat “It is verily regrettable that erstwhile President Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nnia Nwodo, still forcing himself on the Igbo’s and against Igbo preferred Prince Richard Ozobu presidency has made a political charade appointment to usurp Ohanaeze youth Wing leadership.
“It is clear desperation of a man who wants to cover a genuine opposition outside and within for trying to repeat the mistakes of the past without proper consultation and endorse his presidential aspirant from Northeast. “While Ohanaeze Youth Wing led by Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro will continue to be peaceful and not be seen to be violent, we will use appropriate legal means to seek redress of any abnormality done to us by Nwodo and his puppet youths presently doing his bidding.
“We warn that we should not be held responsible if this eventually leads to breach of public peace. We are afraid that the rank and fi les of the Igbo youths are not happy with Nwodo and may be pushed to actions beyond OYW control. “Hence, we call upon Nwodo to call off his Ohanaeze Youth Wing’s charade/inauguration to enable peace continue to reign in Igbo land and avoid turning the region to another crisis zone.
” Every discernible being will know that, going by what is the ground, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo youth leadership crisis may yet not be over. The threat from the Isiguzoro group and the age falsifi cation levelled against the president general elect, Obiora, is capable of infl ating crisis in Ohanaeze.