The Ohanaeze Ndigbo election scheduled to hold on January 11, 2021 in Imo State may produce two Presidents-General.
This is even as a factional electoral committee for the election has emerged, claiming to have the legal right to conduct the poll.
The outgoing Nnia Nwodo-led executive had constituted a 40-man electoral committee led by Chief Enwo Igariwey which was said to have been endorsed by the ‘Ime-Obi’, the decision-making organ of the body.
But another electoral committee headed by Dr. Richard Ozobu was inaugurated on December 31, 2020 at a meeting convened by the purported suspended Secretary-General of the organisation, Uche Okwukwu.
Ozobu is insisting that his committee is entitled to organise the election, maintaining that its set-up was in line with the constitution of the organisation.
He submitted that the constitution provides that the President-General should convene a meeting through the Secretary-General, adding that the meeting was called by the Secretary-General.
“Any meeting that is not summoned directly by the Secretary-General is inconsequential. On 31st December, I received a circular to the meeting in Owerri. It was summoned by the Secretary-General and there a committee was raised for this election and I was made the chairman. Other issues were also handled at that meeting.
“We are talking about a major election and there are provisions in the constitution on how these things should be done”, he stated.
Ozobu said the circular for the meeting that constituted the Igarewey-led committee was issued by the Ohanaeze Administrative Secretary, who he said had no right to issue such.
He added that his committee will soon roll out guidelines for the election, dismissing the issue of any consensus candidate.
Uche Okwukwu has however, insisted that he remains the Secretary-General and had the powers to convene the meeting.
He stated that Article 21 of the Ohanaeze Constitution stipulates that only the General Assembly can remove the Secretary-General and not the Ime Obi, and that he must be replaced with somebody from his state.
Okwukwu submitted that his purported suspension failed to meet the provisions of the Article 21.
“Ask those saying I have been suspended to read out Article 21. Ask them who suspended me and where and when I was suspended. If they say I have been removed, did they replace me with someone from Rivers State? Was I removed by the General Assembly?” he queried.
The other aspirants contesting for the position of the President-General have however maintained a stiff rejection of the purported adoption of the former Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, Prof. George Obiozor as a consensus candidate.
The Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu-led Imo Elders had announced Obiozor as the consensus candidate of Imo State for the post of President-General zoned to the state.
The state governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma had equally endorsed Obiozor’s candidature.
But one of the aspirants and former Secretary-General of Ohanaeze, Dr. Joe Nwaorgu has maintained that Article 11 (b) of the constitution stipulates that three persons at least must contest for the election of the President-General, describing the said adoption as unconstitutional.
Another aspirant, Dr. Chris Asoluka, also relied on the provisions of Article 11 on the election of the President-General.
He stated that the Imo elders can choose whoever they want, but added that their choice does not in any way determine who is eligible to contest or not.
By Emma Iheaka