By Emmanuel Una
PASSIONS are high, voices are rising and fists clenched in the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo in Cross River State, following a pronouncement by a former acting chairman, Mr. Ugorji Nwabueze, that he had withdrawn the certificate of title of the ruling Eze Ndi Igbo, Cross River, Chief Emmanuel Ezenwenyi, on the orders of South-East Traditional Rulers Council.
Though Mr. Nwabueze neither attached the said authorizing letter to his statement nor mentioned the signatories, members of the federating units of the organization have rebuffed the directive, insisting that Nwabueze was on a frolic of his own.
Ezenwenyi is our leader– Onyeka, C’River Igbo president-general
Speaking to newsmen, the President-General of Igbo community in Calabar and Managing-Director of Bez Pharmacy, Obi Onyeka, said that all the Igbo bodies in Cross River were still working as a united group with Chief Emmanuel Ezenwenyi as their leader.
He said the claim by former acting chairman, who had been suspended from the organisation that the certificate of title of reigning Eze Ndi Igbo in Cross River had been withdrawn only exists in his imagination.
“Mr. Nwabueze was vice-chairman who became acting chairman when the erstwhile chairman died. However, having served out his four-year tenure which lapsed in May 2020, he refused to convene a meeting for another executive to be constituted after a series of letters were sent to him to so do.
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“Subsequently, with the backing of all chairmen of federating bodies, the state executive was dissolved in a meeting held in Ikom, December 12, 2020 and an interim executive constituted to take charge of the affairs of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo in Cross River,” he said.
Why we suspended Nwabueze
He stated that Nwabueze, owing to some constitutional infringements was suspended from the organisation, that is the reason behind his claim of having withdrawn the Eze Ndi Igbo title in Cross River, which he has no powers to do.
“A meeting of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo which held on the 20th of March, 2021 suspended him from the organisation so he has no powers to withdraw the certificate of title of Eze Igbo whose installation far precedes his tenure and by the way in what capacity does he withdraw Eze Igbo title, is he a chief or kingmaker?”
Onyeka said the genesis of the crisis in the organisation was the misappropriation of N20 million given to the organisation by the governor of the state, Senator Ben Ayade in 2019.
Interim executive can’t suspend me – Nwabueze
Reacting to claims that he has been suspended from the organisation, Nwabueze said the interim executive that made the pronouncement had no such powers as there exists no provision for an interim executive in the Ohaneze Ndi Igbo constitution.
“The South-East Traditional Rulers Council has now mandated me to officially withdraw the said certificate of title I had issued in error. It is obvious I do not have the capacity to install anyone as such since my root did not draw strength from royalty,” he asserted.
Nwabueze, who did not mention the issue of N20 million given to the association by Senator Ben Ayade, said he regrets “the error of issuing of certificate of title to the Eze Ndi Igbo.”
C’River Traditional Council neutral – HH Edet
Chairman of Cross River State Traditional Rulers Council, His Highness, Etim Okon Edet, said the state council was not involved as it was a misunderstanding among the Igbo, which would be resolved by them.