***Chief Alex Ogbonna emerges president in Enugu
***As Ogene emerges in Anambra
By Vincent Ujumadu, Anayo Okoli, Peter Okutu, Chinonso Alozie & Chinedu Adonu
NEW state presidents of Ohanaeze Ndigbo have emerged across the the South East states where elections were conducted on 7th January, 2016 . In Enugu State, the election was conducted at the Ohanaeze secretariat by Chief Eric Ebe, the outgoing State President in his capacity as the chairman of the state’s Ohanaeze General Assembly.
The election was monitored by members of the National Election Committee led by Prof A.B.C. Nwosu, former minister of health, who is the chairman of state election committee. Other members of the committee include, former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Chief Dubem Onyia, Barr. James Ikeyi, Dr Mrs Selina Ugwuoke-Adibuah (Outgoing National Financial Secretary), Lolo Kate Ezeofor (President, Umuada Igbo).
In his valedictory speech, the outgoing President, Chief Ebe listed some of his achievements, urging the incoming executives to continue his laudable programmes.
“My administration did much to promote Igbo language & culture. They said Igbo language will go extinct but with our efforts that will not be the case. We observed that in some schools, students are punished for speaking Igbo and we stopped it.
“Also, we were able to get the Enugu State House of Assembly to set aside a day when they conduct their sitting in Igbo language. However, I don’t know if they still do that” Ebe stated.
According to him, his other achievement in office included the successful hosting of the first ever Iwa Ji ceremony by any state chapter of Ohanaeze.
Thereafter, the election commenced in an orderly manner. However, it was more or less a family affair since no two persons contested for any of the offices.
All the aspirants were able to harmonize their interests ahead of the election proper. That notwithstanding, the process of conducting the election was still followed.
In the election for the office of President which was zoned to Enugu West, Hon Chief Alex Ogbonna from Awgu Local Government was the only contestant and he won overwhelmingly as all the 62 delegates present voted for him with none voting against him.
The other members of the 19 man executive were equally elected by affirmation. They include, Prof Frederick Eze from Udenu Local Government, (Deputy President), Chief Sam Okonkwo from Nkanu West Local Government (Secretary), Oliver Odenigbo from Uzo-Uwani Local Government (Assistant Secretary), Fidelis Ojobor from Igbo-Eze North Local Government (Treasurer), Sir Ignatius Achu from Ezeagu Local Government (Assistant Treasurer), Obinna Onyia from Udi Local Government (Financial Secretary), Damian Obisi from Nkanu East Local Government (Assistant Financial Secretary), Nnaji Celestine from Enugu South Local Government (Organizing Secretary), Okolo Godwin from Enugu East Local Government (Publicity Secretary), Kevin Chukwu from Aninri Local Government (Assistant Publicity Secretary), Ede Chukwuma from Isiuzo Local Government (Legal Adviser), Ezeugwu Ben from Nsukka Local Government (Assistant Legal Adviser),Ephraim Oluedo from Oji River Local Government (Assistant Organizing Secretary), Prof Fab Onah Obeta from Igbo-Eze South Local Government (Auditor), Agbowo Romanus from Nkanu East Local Government (Ex-Officio, East), Ede Livinus Uche from Igbo-Etiti Local Government (Ex-Officio, North) and Anyaene Kenneth Chukwuma Local Govern-ment (Ex-Officio, West).
However, one noticeable feature of the newly elected executive committee of Ohanaeze Enugu State was its lack of gender balance as there was no single woman among the 19 officers elected.
While reacting to that, the outgoing National Financial Secretary and a long standing member of Ohanaeze- Dr Mrs Selina Ugwoke-Adibuah expressed her displeasure over the development. “I complained once I observed that but I was told that the women would be compensated through chairmanship of committees,” Ugwuoke said.
In his acceptance speech, the newly elected President, Ohanaeze Enugu State, Hon Chief Alex Chiedozie Ogbonnia thanked Ohanaeze Ndigbo,Enugu State chapter for the opprtunity given him and his executives to serve.
“I thank all of you for this opportunity given us to serve. I assure the outgoing excos that we shall double their achievements,” Ogbonnia said.
Chief Ogbonnia, a lecturer and a one time state legislator under IBB’s short lived 3rd Republic was also elated at the calibre of people who graced the occasion.
“Let it be said that Prof ABC Nwosu, who is not just a professor but a first class professor of parasitology was present at my election. Let it be said that Chief Dubem Onyia, a consummate politician and a former minister of state for foreign affairs was present at my election,” he said.
He also pledged that the Enugu state executive committee of Ohanaeze under his watch shall work harmoniously with other state chapters as well as the national body.
Ogene emerges Ohanaeze president in Anambra
In Anambra, there is so much expectation from the new leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Anambra State headed by Chief Damian Ogene from Nnanka in Orumba South local government area of the state.
Ogene was unanimously elected and he replaced Dr. Chris Eluemunoh from Nkwele Ezunaka in Oyi local government area, whose tenure ended last year.
Ogene emerged at a time the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization was facing a lot of challenges, including the pressure from the pro-Biafra groups, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, and the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, which felt that Ohanaeze was not mounting enough pressure on the Nigerian government to address the alleged marginalization of the South East geo-political zone.
Luckily for Ohanaeze, its new Anambra boss had been an insider, as he was a member of the immediate past state executive and was always involved in its internal and external politics.
The newly elected executives are expected to be formally inaugurated on January 12, 2016.
Elder Justice Ajuzieogu for Abia
In Abia state , an 18-member executive committee with Elder Justice Ajuzieogu as the Abia State President came into place while Chief Ugochukwu Nwokejie was elected the Secretary of Abia State chapter.
Other members of the 18-member executive committee included Comrade Okey Paul Nwankwo who emerged as the youth leader; Mazi Ogbonnaya Akuma was elected the publicity secretary and Mrs. Vivian Chikwendu emerged as the state woman leader.
Others elected include Chief Nnamdi Onwunie, first Vice Chairman, Chief C. C. Njoku, second Vice Chairman, Mr. Uzoma Kanu, the legal advier. Chief Loveday Okere was elected the Assistant Secretary, Chief L. O. Dike emerged the treasurer, among others.
Mr Ezechi Chukwu for Imo
In Imo state it was confirmed by the Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr Joe Nwaorgu, that an election was held on Saturday, in Owerri, and Mr. Ezechi Chukwu emerged as the State chairman.
In Ebonyi State, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo election that produced the State Chairman, Comrade Offor Boniface was adjudged to be free and fair as he was unanimously elected by members of the Igbo socio-cultural organization.
The election took place in the serene environment of Virginland Hotel, Abakaliki.