Open grazing, Ohanaeze

By Dennis Agbo

The integrity group in Ebonyi state wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo has protested alleged imposition by the Ebonyi state government of a National Youth leader, Damian Okafor, in the upcoming Ohanaeze youth wing election.

Staging the protest at the National Secretariat of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Enugu, on Tuesday, the group chatted solidarity songs and displayed placards with inscriptions such as ‘Damian should go and defend himself before the disciplinary committee’; ‘Damian has betrayed our value and he cannot he given a third chance’; ‘We are Ebonyi integrity group for food governance,’ among others.

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Leader of the protesting group, Christopher Aniegu, who addressed the Administrative Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mazi Ambrose Obiora, said the group decided to stand up against what would amount to an insult to the entire Ebonyi people. 

He said they were not comfortable with a situation where a position which was zoned to Ebonyi people was hijacked in favour of an individual.

“We don’t want a particular family to impose a candidate. You can’t say that it must be a particular person. That is an insult on the people of Ebonyi. We have people that are capable. We have people that have whatever it takes to deliver for Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

“So our prayer is let there be a level playing ground in the exercise the election of the youth wing which you are about conducting. This is just our singular request,” the protesters demanded.

In a protest letter addressed to the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. George Obiozor and read by the group’s spoksman, Igwe Ebube, urged the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization to follow its constitution and due process in resolving the matter.

They said: “Our attention has been drawn to the purported insinuation that Ndi Ebonyi especially our hardworking Governor His Excellency, Dave Umahi, are insisting that a failure like Engr Damian Okafor is the only youth that is qualified for the position of the National Youth Leader of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide.

“We hereby state categorically that Ebonyi state under His Excellency Dave Umahi, is known for success and never failure. Demian has failed twice and does not deserve a third chance. There are many other capable and disciplined Igbo youths from Ebonyi State, that deserve a chance.

“We hereby declare solidarity to resolutiuons of the youth leadership and also demand that the mandate of the Igbo youths worldwide, zoned to Ebonyi must be recognized and respected.”

In his response, Mazi Ambrose Obiora, who informed the protesters that the National Executive Council (NEC) of Ohanaeze will soon meet to address issues surrounding the election promised to further convey the content of the letter to the leadership of the body.

“What I will do is to communicate your request to he appropriate quarters. But from what I know, the National Executive Council is supposed to meet soon on this issue because there are constitutional processes with which these things are supposed to be addressed. 

“We think that it is necessary for the NEC to meet first and look dispassionately on the issues raised with a view to making sure that it is addressed in the most amicable and appropriate way. I will handover your letter to the appropriate authority to deal with it.”

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