The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has denied claims that it had planned to participate in the inauguration of Nigeria’s president-elect, Bola Tinubu, on 29 May.
A factional Secretary-General of the Ohanaeze, Okechukwu Isiguzoro, had last week claimed that “Ohanaeze will participate fully in the inauguration of the President-elect, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu.”
Mr Isiguzoro also claimed that “the Ime-Obi Ohanaeze Ndigbo has mandated that every agitation for the 2023 election should come to an end,” adding that “Peter Obi is the candidate of the future and that nobody should pick up a fight they can’t finish, against Bola Tinubu.”
Mr Obi, the Labour Party (LP) candidate in the 2023 presidential election, lost to Mr Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress. He came third with a total of 6,101,533 votes.
Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party came second with 6,984,520 votes.
Both Atiku and Mr Obi are challenging Mr Tinubu’s victory.
Reacting in a statement on Tuesday by its spokesperson, Alex Ogbonnia, Ohanaeze said the report claiming that the group had planned to participate in the inauguration of the president-elect did not emanate from them.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide led by Chief Dr Engr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, CFR, did not issue any statement with respect to the inauguration of President-elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu,” Ohanaeze said.
The group stressed that it does not “wax eloquent on partisan politics, except when it becomes exceedingly necessary, and also does not begrudge or antagonise any Igbo” for his choice of political party and association.
“But to implicate Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide in personal pecuniary interest is not only unethical, despicable and unscrupulous but, in all ramifications, connotes a criminal intent,” it said of the claims attributed to Ohanaeze.
“Those behind such acts are highly ignorant of the damages they cause to themselves and the Igbo nation on a daily basis. They are reminded that every misconduct against the Igbo pantheon or the Imeobi Ohanaeze has its corresponding inevitable consequences.”
The group said it had at various times informed Nigerians that its Secretary-General is Okey Emuchay and that Mr Isiguzoro “is a meddlesome interloper who uses the hallowed name of Ohanaeze Ndigbo for narrow interests.”
▪ Not the first time
Citing some examples, Ohanaeze accused Mr Isiguzoro of making repeated claims in the group’s name, despite not being its secretary-general.
“The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide led by Iwuanyanwu regrets the embarrassments that are often caused to the general public by the maladjusted attention seekers that deploy the name of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in most detestable and deplorable proportions,” it said.
Ohanaeze also said it had made several unsuccessful efforts to prevent Mr Isiguzoro and others who allegedly emerged from a parallel Ohanaeze Ndigbo election in January 2021 from presenting themselves as Ohanaeze leaders.
The group said it, on 10 March, obtained a court order restraining a factional president of the group, Chidi Ibeh, a “disowned” chieftain of the Ohanaeze, Richard Ozobu, Mr Isiguzoro and others from parading themselves as its representatives.
It said the judge, Uchenna Mogbo of the Enugu State High Court, declared that the ‘purported parallel election of the officers of the National Executive Council of Ohanaeze conducted in Enugu State at the instance of the defendants is illegal and unconstitutional.’
“Since the March 10 court injunction, the Isiguzoros have been in hiding, and Ohanaeze pleads information for their whereabouts,” it said.
“We have deployed several means available, including reaching out to the traditional ruler of Isiguzoro’s community for him to desist from the damages he causes to the image of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, to no avail,” Ohanaeze added. (Premium Times)