By Emeka Mamah, Dennis Agbo & Chinedu Adonu
Enugu— A former Minister for Information and Culture, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, yesterday emerged the new President General of the apex socio-cultural body of Ndigbo, Ohanaeze, in an election conducted at the national headquarters of the group at No 7 Park Avenue, Old GRA, Enugu.
Nwodo pulled a total of 242 votes to defeat his only rival, a former Vice Chancellor of old Anambra State University of Technology, ASUTH, Prof. Chiweyete Ejike, who scored 13 votes. Six votes were voided in the contest for the President General.
The post of Secretary General of the organization also went to a Rivers state indigene, Barrister Uche Okwukwu who scored 166 votes against Chief Isaac Wonwu who got 63 votes, while Chief Kroham Joel got 4 votes.
Veteran journalist, Emma Okocha defeated
In the same vein, Emeka Okwu from Delta State emerged the National Treasurer with 168 votes, defeating veteran journalist, Emma Okocha, who scored 34 votes.
Okocha alleged that the election was rigged against him by the governors. “They don’t want a journalist there,” he alleged.
Protests of imposition of candidates were rife in the election, particularly from Imo State where Governor Rochas Okorocha was accused of imposing the Deputy President General.
Also, candidates complained of high nomination fee such as N500, 000 for President General, N300, 000 for Secretary General, N250, 000 for Deputy President General and N100,000 for National Treasurer.
Prior to the election, lists circulated, itemizing preferred or what some called imposed winners.
Delivering his valedictory speech, the out-going President General, Chief Enwo Igariwey said he hoped to see a rejuvenated Ohanaeze and charged them to complete the ongoing remodeling of Ohanaeze secretariat being executed by Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State.
Out of about 500 delegates for the election, the Movement for Actualization of Sovereign state of Biafra, MASSOB secured 5 delegates.
There was commotion on the use English language in the forum, with many preferring that Igbo language be adopted as medium of speech.
Chairman of the election committee, Prof. Anya O. Anya told Ndigbo that 47 years after the Nigeria/Biafra war, it was time for reflection and repositioning of Ndigbo.
I’ll die for Ndigbo—Nwodo
Meantime,the new President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo has vowed to die for the cause of Igboland, if asked to do so.
Nwodo also pledged to dialogue with the Indigenous people of Biafra, IPOB, so as to make the self determination group speak in one voice with Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
He also pledged to enthrone integrity and make efforts to repatriate Igbo business capitals scattered in diaspora back to Igboland. “Money does not make a man but integrity,” he said.
At the manifesto time before the election, two candidates Prof. Simon Atuanya, and Chief Joel Ezeugwu stepped down for Nwodo, leaving him to contest with Prof. Chiweyete Ejike, a former Vice Chancellor of old Anambra and Commodore Alison (rtd) who picked nomination form for the President General and failed to turn up for screening on Monday. He also failed to show up on the election day.