Last Sunday, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization conducted an election to elect a new president general during which Prof George Obiozor emerged as the leader of the group. The election which took place in Owerri, the Imo State capital is now mired in some controversies following the emergence of another factional group.
Prior to the election there were already cries of some irregularities in the processes adopted because the Imo State government in alliance with some critical stakeholders went ahead to pronounce the returned president as a consensus candidate. This did not go down well with other candidates who cried blue murder because they were never consulted.
The South East governors to the chagrin of many equally went ahead to endorse the action of the Imo State government, a decision many considered reprehensible and an unnecessary interference in the activities of the group. It must be noted that following the governance structure of the group it became the turn of Imo to produce the next leader.
Aside the South East governors who threw their weight behind the Imo governor, most of the other dignitaries in the South East especially legislators and ministers were conspicuously absent
The weekend elections produced a factional group which in the opinion of political observers have been described as the hijack of Ohaneze by the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership. The leaders who emerged as presidents – general in the two groups had the support and sponsorship of a past state governor and the sitting governor.
This action between the two combating governors flexing muscle infiltrated the Ohanaeze camp and polarized it. A house divided unto itself can never stand as they say. Another cliché states that united we stand and divided we fall. This appears to be the position of affairs in the group as at moment.
The situation is further not helped by some aggrieved members who have threatened to approach the courts to seek redress over the irregularities experienced in the conduct of the elections. As is typical of what we know of ourselves in the enforcement of our rights through the courts, there are speculations that the cultural organization may suffer some injunctions and that may put paid to its actions and the series of consequent litigations may worsen its situation.
The boycott of the election by the major gladiators-candidates with pedigree hours to the poll signified the level of rejection of the processes which they claimed was already grossly compromised. It is doubtful if they and their team would whole heartedly support the new helmsman who has been used to kill their ambitions.
We recall that in an earlier editorial comment we had warned that the government should steer clear and desist from politicizing the Ohanaeze which is the mouth piece of Ndigbo and not those of politicians. The situation is precarious and sign posts dangers and ominous times ahead for the group. Some pessimists hold the extreme view that that is the end of Ohanaeze.
What further irks the mind of some is the role of some actors in positioning Ambassador Obiozor. Some well respected members of the society have been fingered as arrow heads and executioners in the efforts that threw up the new president. Many now suck over the lack of confidence on supposed trusted leaders who for pecuniary gains now sacrifice public interest at the altar of selfish gains.
Politicians have been identified to be the major obstacles to development given their score cards in governance which has left the people worse than they met them. They are always seeking to grab at every opportunity just to satisfy their selfish ends. A socio-cultural organization like Ohaneze which is a rallying force of the Igbo should not be one to be pocketed by any one person.
The Igbo have contributed significantly to the development of the Nigerian nation in virtually every sphere of life. In spite of this it is not any close to attracting what is due to it in terms of development. The Igbo land is crying for infrastructural development, there is discrimination in political appointment, and there are oppressive economic policies that hunt its business men
It is on account of the situation it has found itself that the agitation for a separatist nation through the youthfully populated Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) have since reenacted the agitation for a Biafran state which culminated into the civil war in the sixties. The circumstances that led to the war seem more pronounced as at today.
News Echo laments that with a crises ridden Ohanaeze Ndigbo the chances of projecting the Igbo agenda will likely suffer reverses and the ethnic group will further be pushed down the scale of marginalization and ignominy. We call on the gladiators and stakeholders to sheath their swords, shift grounds and make the necessary sacrifice at weaving a fluid, people oriented and Igbocentric and development conscious leadership that will champion the cause of a happy prosperous Igbo man to actualize his dreams in the larger Nigerian project.