By Anayo Okoli & Peter Okutu
UMUAHIA—OHANAEZE Ndigbo Youth Council, has restated its determination to ensure that nothing happens to the Igbo in the North on account of the quit notice issued by a coalition of Arewa youths.
Rising from a meeting at Umudike, Abia State, to review its next move on the parley with Arewa Youths over the quit notice, the group expressed the hope that the meetings would yield fruitful results.
They however, expressed regret that one Edozie Eyibo, whom they claimed is not an Igbo man and Chuks Ibegbu were allegedly working against peaceful resolution of the issue.
However, Ohanaeze parent body, yesterday warned that it will not fold its arms and allow any illegitimate group or persons to discredit it by issuing what it described as staccato statements tailored towards dragging the image of the organization in the mud.
The organization further stressed that there was no crack or division in its operations and constitution as the Igbo apex body in the country.
We’re still talking with Arewa youths
In a communiqué issued after the meeting and signed by the OYC Publicity Secretary, Engr. Obinna Adibe, the group alleged that Nwodozi and Ibegbu were sabotaging the result achieved so far in the ongoing dialogue with the Arewa Youths.
They accused Nwodozi of working against the interest of Ndigbo, playing a “spoiler’s role because he is not an Igbo man.”
They also accused Ibegbu, the National Deputy Publicity Secretary of the Ohanaeze of being under a contract to destroy the on-going peace moves for selfish reasons.
“The youth wing of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization met today and took far reaching decisions, which essentially border on the October 1 ultimatum given to Igbo resident in the North.
“We took time to review the steps we have taken so far towards initiating a peace process with the Arewa youths, to ensure that nothing untoward happened to any Igbo man or woman in the 19 Northern states.
“We are delighted with the results achieved so far and we have the firm belief that this process shall finally reunite us and ensure the safety of our people.
“However, we note with utmost concern the desperate moves by some persons to sabotage these efforts and then see to a massacre of Ndigbo in the North.
“The persons in question are one Odozi Nwodozi, who parades himself as the chairman of Ohanaeze in the FCT, Abuja. We are indeed at a loss how such a person got to lay claim to that position.
“It is strange because in the first place, he is not an Igbo man, but from Edo State, although he has allegedly changed his name three times, but that has not in any way made him an Igbo man.
“We want to say with all seriousness that he is not an Igbo man and as such, he should desist from poke-nosing into matters affecting Ndigbo, more so when he does not have the interest of our people at heart.
“We warn him to cease henceforth from disparaging the Ohanaeze Youth Council and by extension, sabotaging our determined effort to see to the protection of our people.
“Also in this dangerous mission is Chuks Ibegbu, who seems to be under contract to not just tarnish the image of the Ohanaeze Youth Council but to rubbish all our efforts.
“Ibegbu has gone extra mile to the point of issuing media statements in the name of our President, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro. He should get ready for court action as we shall not just sue him for libel but for impersonation.
“Finally, may we restate our earlier belief in the ongoing peace process between us and the Arewa youths. We shall see it to the end in order to safeguard our people,” the statement said.
”Ohanaeze will not allow itself to be discredited”
But in a statement issued in Abakaliki on behalf of the National Executive Committee, NEC of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, the National Publicity Secretary of the Igbo group, Prince Uche Achi-Okpaga, who described the relationship between the national leadership of Ohanaeze and IPOB as that of father and son, added that no amount of pressure or attack in any form can derail the resolve of the group towards protecting the interests and aspirations of Ndigbo.
The statement read in part: “The attention of the National Executive Committee, NEC, of Ohanaeze Ndigbo has been drawn to the activities of a group led by one Okechukwu Isiguzoro issuing statements on behalf of the Ohanaeze youths.
“It is pertinent to note that the leadership of the Ohanaeze Youth Wing was suspended way back in 2016 by the former NEC led by Chief Gary Enwo-Igariwey through the Imeobi of Ohanaeze. Owing to some inconsequential and discordant actions of the leadership of the Youth Wing, the Imeobi suspended it in May, 2016, more than eight months before the current NEC was elected on January 10, 2017, relying on Article 23(iv)(b) of the Ohanaeze Constitution to wit: “Imeobi shall have the powers to dissolve the leadership of any wing, scrap or modify any wing as it deems fit in the interest of the Ohanaeze.
“The suspension was not and has not been lifted. Instead, the suspension order was inherited alongside that of the Women Wing by the present NEC on assumption of office and has been looking at the problems of the two wings in order to arrive at a final and acceptable solution.
“On the above premise, it is imperative to note that Ohanaeze has no crack or division and does not issue staccato statements and will not allow any illegitimate group or persons to issue statements and credit same to Ohanaeze in any guise. We are not oblivious that they are machinations tailored to drag Ohanaeze’s name, image and integrity in the mud.
“Currently, we have in custody a concrete and undeniable evidence of meetings and engagements of some Igbo sons including Isiguzoro and some other sponsored persons from a far geopolitical zone to distract and dismember Ohanaeze and create the impression that it is divided and does not speak for Ndigbo.
“We state in clear terms that IPOB is our son. The pages of newsprints cannot be the appropriate channel to admonish them. No sane man would chide his son in the market. Those who publish unguarded statements create crises between the Ohanaeze and the IPOB and these would only eat their disappointments.”
“At any rate, we are focused and undaunted in Ohanaeze so that no amount of pressure or attack in any form can derail or deform our resolve to protect the views, interests and aspirations of Ndigbo.”