Chairman, Council of Elders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Emmanuel C. Iwuanyanwu, has been nominated to fill the vacancy created by the demise of the erstwhile President General of the apex pan Igbo organisation, Professor George Obiozor.
Prof. Obiozor died last year and as the position is zoned to Imo State, the state was requested to nominate a replacement for the departed leader of the organisation.
Chief Iwuanyanwu’s name, according to a statement by Dr. Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, National Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, was submitted to Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, by the Imo Council of Elders led by Eze Cletus Ilomuanya.
Ogbonnia, in his statement, quoted a press release by Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku, the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to the Governor of Imo State which said that the Imo Council of Elders, in presenting Chief Iwuanyanwu’s name to Governor Uzodimma, said that the highly decorated political and business leader is “the consensus candidate of the Council for the post of the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide.”
A report by Global Patriot quoted Ogbonnia to have noting that there has been widespread acceptance of the nomination of Chief Iwuanyanwu among members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of Ohanaeze and from all the organs of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Ogbonnia, and to have further urged “the members of Imeobi Ohanaeze Ndigbo to endorse the decision of the Imo State Council of Elders in good faith,” stressing that “from all perspectives, with Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, it is a Eureka, an Igbo refound and a new beginning for Ndigbo.
Full text of statement reads:
A NEW OHANAEZE NDIGBO IS BORN
The various reactions from the members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of Ohanaeze and from all the organs of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide indicate wild jubilations with the news that Chief Dr. Engr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, CFR, OFR, MFR, GCSI, FNSE, FNIST, FNICE, KSC (Ahaejiagamba Ndigbo), the Chairman, Council of Elders, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has been selected as a replacement to Ambassador George Obiozor who died in 2022.
In line with a doctrine of necessity, the NEC had at the demise of Ambassador Professor George Obiozor directed the people of Imo State to find a credible replacement of Obiozor for the post of President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide.
A press release dated April 19, 2023, signed by Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku, the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to the Governor of Imo State, stated that the Imo State Council of Elders, led by Eze Ilomuanya presented Chief Iwuanyanwu to the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma, as “the consensus candidate of the Council for the post of the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide.” Eze Ilomuanya described Iwuanyanwu as a “dynamic, versatile, purpose driven and broad-minded personality of impeccable pedigree”.
Before now, Iwuanyanwu is one of the finest amongst the Igbo; a philanthropist par excellence, massive employer of labour, robust creative thinker, brave soldier, accomplished engineer, astute business mogul, industrialist and sagacious politician.
Beyond the above attributes is the general outcry for the prerequisites or the required persona for the Office of the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide. Most expect the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to be economically stable and viable. He should have a presidential stature and clout. He should have robust intellect and a mind of his own. The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo must detach himself from any governor and should have the courage and moral authority to reproach or condemn a governor or any high office holder who goes against the Igbo interest or public norms. The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo must show capacity in many respects. He should have the courage and convictions to channel Igbo interests to the President of Nigeria without compromises. He should place Igbo interest above self interest. He should be large enough or should have the tentacles that will incorporate the Igbo elements in the South South of Nigeria and other sundry places. The person must have contributed his quota in diverse forms in promoting the Igbo heritage. The President General of Ohanaeze must not only understand the intricate and labyrinthine political dynamics of Nigeria but must have sufficient political and business contacts across Nigeria and beyond; in other words, he should understand the nuances of governments at all levels. It is important to add that reverence to age is part of our culture and to that extent, the person must have an elderly disposition up enough to command the allegiance of most. More importantly, the President General must have been an active participant in the Ohanaeze activities. And more. Chief Iwuanyanwu fits in squarely into the above prerequisites.
Some illustrations, in line with the above desideratum: there was a time in history, Iwuanyanwu was the highest employer of labour, at least in the entire East of the Niger. The Iwuanyanwu Foundation has offered scholarships to over ten thousand indigent students across the country. He has donated to universities to create conducive environments for learning; built Churches and other community facilities. Over forty years ago, Chief Sam Mbakwe, the former governor of Old Imo State conceived the idea of an International Cargo Airport at Owerri, it was Iwuanyanwu who made the highest donation of Two million Dollars (2M US Dollars), among others. In politics, he has produced several Chairmen of Local Governments, Commissioners, Senators, Ministers and Governors most of whom are alive. In 1992, he contested for the presidency of Nigeria with an impressive support from all parts of Nigeria.
By sheer hard work and ingenuity, he founded over twenty limited liability Companies that employed thousands of Nigerians. Some of the companies include: Chairman, Hardel & Enic Construction Ltd; Champion Newspapers; Oriental Airlines; Oriental Shipping Lines Ltd; Iwuanyanwu Nationale Football Club of Owerri, which won several national and international championships (now Heartland F.C of Owerri); Enic Advertising and Marketing; Sunrise Insurance Brokers; Benhol Farms Limited; Magil Agricultural & Animal Health Products Limited, among many others.
Iwuanyanwu has held many public offices: they include: Board Chairman, Federal Road Maintenance Agency; Board Chairman, Nigerian Investment Promotion; Founding Chairman, Raw Materials Research and Development Council of Nigeria; Chairman, National Productivity Merit Award; Chairman, Nigerian Sports Development Council; Founding Chairman, Nigerian National Lottery; Chairman, National Orthopedic Hospital Igbobi, Lagos; Pro-Chancellor, the University of Calabar, Cross River State.
As an unassailable trail blazer, he was honoured with Chief Executive of the Year, Business Education Executive Council in 1985 and the Business Person of the Year Award in 1990; Member Federal Republic (MFR), Officer Federal Republic (OFR) and Commander Federal Republic (CFR); and a Knight of the Order of St. Christopher. Some universities have also decorated Iwuanyanwu with doctorate degrees, honoris causa. They include: D.Sc. Morgan State University Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Doctor of Laws, LLD, Shaw University Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Doctor of Business Administration, DBA, University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Doctor of Science, D.Sc, University of Jos; Doctor of Science, D.Sc, University of Calabar; Doctor of Technology, D.Tech, Federal University of Technology Owerri; Doctor of Business Administration, DBA, Edo State University and a Doctor of Science, D.Sc., Imo State University, Owerri. He is a Fellow of several institutions. Iwuanyanwu is cited in Who is Who in Nigeria; Who is Who in Africa; Who is Who in Commonwealth and Who is Who in the World.
The Iwuanyanwu trajectory is a veritable and inspiring tribute to virtues of hard work, sincerity, heroism, sacrifice, ingenuity, philanthropy and mentorship to the people. For instance, when his people needed his services most, he volunteered to serve as a Biafran soldier, rising to the rank of a Captain at a very young age. Apart from his gallantry and exploits in the theatre of war, he was among the engineers that invented the multi-purpose Biafran bomb, called the Ogbunigwe.
At the Ohaneze Ndigbo, Iwuanyanwu has served as Chairman in the following Ohanaeze Committees: State Creation Committee, Planning and Strategy Committee, Political Committee, Constitution Drafting Committee and currently, the Chairman, Ohanaeze Elders Council.
We want to use this opportunity to thank the Imo State Council of Elders led by Eze Ilomuanya for the painstaking rigorous procedure in reaching such a landmark decision. We also urge the members of Imeobi Ohanaeze Ndigbo to endorse the decision of the Imo State Council of Elders in good faith.
From all perspectives, with Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, it is a Eureka, an Igbo refound and a new beginning for Ndigbo.
▪Dr. Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia; National Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide.