3 heavyweights in tight race for Ohanaeze presidency
Posted by News Express | 8 January 2017 | 2,696 times
The stakes for the new President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo peaked at the weekend, with three heavyweights running neck-to-neck in the race for the top post zoned to Enugu State, following the conclusion of Ebonyi’s tenure occupied by Chief Enwo Gari-Igariwey. The election for a new leadership of the apex Igbo socio-political body is scheduled to hold on Tuesday at the Ohanaeze National Secretariat in Enugu but one of the candidates and his supporters are said to be lobbying for a postponement.
At the moment, the three heavyweights are former Governor of the old Anambra State, Allison Madueke; Deputy National Chairman of Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT), Prof. Chiweyite Ejike, and one-time Minister of Information, Barr. John Nnia Nwodo.
While Nwodo was named choice candidate by a select elders of Enugu State late last year, other stakeholders and Igbo leaders have kicked against the attempt by Ndi Enugu to present him as the sole candidate, pointing out that doing so negates the Ohanaeze constitution, which prescribes that any state to which its presidency is zoned should present three nominees to stand at election.
Prof. Ejike and retired Rear Admiral Madueke picked nomination forms following pressure from Igbo leaders who insisted that Nwodo should not stand alone.
These elders equally clamour for the isolation of Ohanaeze from politicians, insisting that Ohanaeze lost steam due to infiltration by politicians.
Igbo personalities who hold such views have argued that “Ohanaeze lost its verve, teeth and relevance because politicians hijacked its organs. We shall retrieve this August body from the stranglehold of politicians and that is why we don’t want anybody who is known to have played any active part in the nation’s politics to henceforth be the President-General of Ohanaeze.”
While Nwodo basks on the endorsement he got after a meeting hosted by the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Prof. Ejike is relying on the support of former Ohanaeze Presidents, Leaders of Thought and some Lagos-based Igbo leaders led by Prof. Ben Nwabueze. Madueke, on his part, is sure to secure the support of the remaining Ndigbo Lagos and businessmen led by Paschal Dozie.
Aside from the recourse to lobby with money by one of the trio, our correspondents gathered there was another lobby group putting pressure on Chief Joe Nworgu, the Secretary-General of Ohaneze, to further postpone the general election.
Their intention, it was gathered, is to get two of the candidates to abandon the struggle due to lack of financial muscle to sustain a prolonged campaign, should the election be shifted once again.