By Chinedu Adonu
Embattled Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Barr Uche Okwukwu, has said that with the current crisis rocking the group, the South-East clamour for presidency come 2023 is at risk.
Okwukwu, who has been in a running battle with Chief Nnia Nwodo-led Ohanaze, made this known to journalists in Enugu.
He said the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization was also heading for imminent factionalization.
Recall that Nwodo-led Ohanaze said he had been suspended, but Okwukwu said he remained the scribe of the Igbo umbrella body.
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However, reacting to the fresh inauguration of new members of the Ohanaeze Electoral Committee, Uche said the newly reconstituted committee has former Ohanaeze President, Garry, Enwo Igariwey as Chairman, and faulted the process. He insisted that any action taken by the committee would amount to futility.
According to him, “The purported Imeobi where they set-up the electoral committee is null and void because only the Secretary-General has the power to do so by the Ohanaeze Constitution.
“An illegal meeting was held and they set-up an electoral committee, which in my humble view is illegal, you can’t place something on nothing.
“In Imo State, they even set up a selection committee which came up and said they have nominated Obiozor, they have even warned everyone to run, except Obiozor, else the person will be ostracized. This is unacceptable.”
He also faulted the timing of the election, noting that, “our tenure will end on 10th of January, 2021, technically speaking, we have about 20 days to the end of our tenure, this electoral committee would have been set up some three months ago, to go ahead draw guidelines, screen some candidates, because these days you have to screen everything because of the issues of certificates in the country.
“The one that is quite frightening is that the candidates are going to campaign but who are the delegates; even INEC publishes the list of voters; Nwodo campaign in the States, you meet delegates, but in this case, there is no list; who are you going to talk to now? There is fear, plans to manipulate the election.
“My fear is that there may be parallel Ohanaeze; if something goes wrong, those who are aggrieved may announce a parallel Ohanaeze, and I have warned, those who are desirous to do wrong should know that they cannot dominate the space. God forbid that there is parallel Ohanaze, how would the Igbo be perceived, are we not going to be seen as people who are scattered?
“If there is a parallel Ohanaze it will survive very well, but it will send a wrong signal that we are not united and Igbo presidency will suffer a setback, because we need the entire Igbo race to come together and speak with one voice. A crack that will lead to factionalization will not be in the interest of Ohanaeze, it will undermine us.
“We are likely going to lose the 2023 presidency, because even as we are talking now, our house is not yet in order.”
While calling on Igbo elders to rise up and save the body, he announced that another Imeobi would hold on December 31, 2020, during which another electoral committee, as well as a caretaker committee would be set-up to pilot the affairs of Ohanaeze for the next 6 months.