By Clifford Ndujihe, Politics Editor & Chinonso Alozie
SEVENTY-NINE days to the expiration of the three-year tenure of Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s President-General, Chief Nnia Nwodo, former Nigeria Ambassador to United States, Professor George Obiozor, has emerged as the consensus candidate to succeed Nwodo.
Professor Obiozor was unanimously presented as a consensus flagbearer by Imo State stakeholders on Monday at an event held at the Government House, Owerri.
The stakeholders were led by elder statesman, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu.
Also present were other top Igbo elders as well as the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and Ohanaeze youth wing leaders, among others.
Vanguard had reported that Chief Nwodo dismissed as false reports that he visited Chief Iwuanyanwu and attended Imo Leaders of Thought meeting where a leader that will succeed him in January was chosen.
Meanwhile, the Imeobi (Inner Caucus) of Ohanaeze Nidgbo will roll out guidelines for electing Nwodo’s successor, next week after an enlarged meeting in Enugu.
Chief Nwodo’s tenure will end on January 9, 2021. By the rotational principle of Ohanaeze, the next president-general will come from Imo, a reason a host of Imo leaders are now in the race.
Those eyeing the Ohanaeze prime seat include Professor George Obiozor; former presidents of Igbo Think-Tank group, Aka-Ikenga, Chiefs Chris Asoluka, and Goddy Uwazurike; former Secretary-General of Ohanaeze, Dr. Joe Nwaogu.
Others are former Imo State governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim; former Vice-Chancellor of Imo State University, Professor Ukachukwu Aloysius Awuzie; Professor of Law, and former Dean, Faculty of Law, Imo State University, Dr. Nnaemeka Onyeka Obiaraeri.
How Obiozor emerged
Speaking on how and why Obiozor was chosen to lead Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Iwuanyanwu, who is the chairman of the Imo Stakeholders, said: “So many prepared for the position; we didn’t want to be put in an awkward position, so we organised ourselves.
“That is why over 200 Igbo leaders, cutting across political parties, came together to arrive at one consensus candidate.”
Responding, Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, said: “Igbo is beginning to be aggrieved, but we can speak with one voice.
“I thank you for speaking with one voice; every generation has its own challenges and Ndigbo must navigate with the wisdom of Solomon.
“To achieve this we must be diplomatic and accommodating. A point can be achieved without firing a shot in the air.
“The Yoruba did it without war; they did it with diplomacy. Igbo will not go to war, but will pursue it with diplomacy.”
On Obiozor’s emergence, he said: “The decision of the Imo State chapter of Ohanaeze to present the consensus candidate of this organisation is very laudable.
“I was taken unawares by their actions. I had no choice but to follow their part.
“By the constitution, it’s the turn of Imo State to produce the President-General. The choice of Professor Obiozor is welcomed as he is eminently qualified by his wealth of experience.
“His adoption is coming at a critical time in the history of Ndigbo in Nigeria. He would seek justice for Ndigbo not by confrontation but by persuasion. Our tomorrow is still bright.”