The confusion trailing proposed January 2021 election of Pan-Igbo sociocultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo is now assuming a crisis dimension as the suspended secretary general of the body, Barr. Uche Okwukwu has summoned another Imeobi (inner caucus) meeting in Owerri, Imo state for today. This is coming after a similar one held in Enugu, chaired by the Ohanaeze President-General, Chief John Nnia Nwodo a fortnight ago. Okwukwu, who had earlier described as null and void the Enugu meeting, insisted that Ohanaeze constitution empowered him to call for Imeobi.
He, however, brushed aside claims that he was on suspension. National executive council of Ohanaeze had on 1st February, 2019 announced the suspension of Okwukwu and promoted the assistant secretary general, Uche Achi-Okpaga to act in his stead. But Okwukwu had then dismissed the suspension, saying NEC had no power to suspend him and accused Nwodo of going on rampage. In a statement made available to journalists in Enugu yesterday, Okwukwu declared that “On 31st December, 2020, the Imeobi of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide will hold in Imo State in the house of a very prominent and eminent Igbo.
“We chose this private residence in line with the true cultural meaning of Imeobi. ‘Ime’ means inside and ‘Obi’ means the private hut for hosting meetings. Imeobi is not supposed to be a public meeting.
“Its whole essence is for leaders recognized by the Ohanaeze constitution to gather privately and discuss the way forward for Ndigbo. “You might wonder why Ohanaeze is hosting this Imeobi in a private place rather than in a hotel. My answer is that what transpired on Sunday, 20th December 2020, in Enugu, when before the full glare of the public, both Igbo and non-Igbo, Professor George Obiozor collapsed and was talking incoherently, was both unfortunate and avoidable.
“If he had collapsed in the private house of an Igbo, the incident would have been properly managed without the press reporting it. “Whether we like it or not, it was a huge embarrassment. The question being whispered now is, can a man who collapsed in public and talked incoherently lead Ndigbo for the next four years? “The answer, of course, is no. To avoid that kind of embarrassment, we favour hosting our Imeobi in a private place.
“Agenda for the 31st December, 2020 Imeobi is to nominate members of the Electoral Committee, EC, of the 2021 Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Election. “The EC will have the power to determine the date and guidelines for the election. It will also cover other matters pertinent to our people, particularly poverty in Igboland occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and general insecurity. “Ndigbo are prepared to have a credible election that will produce competent officers to man our affairs. By the divine grace of God, we will achieve that. “Oha” is bigger than “Eze” in Igbo culture.
But what we are seeing under Chief Nnia Nwodo is a situation where ‘Eze” owns ‘Oha.’ We must be bold stopping the Nwodo excesses. “Ndigbo must come out and support the process that will lead to a credible, free, fair and impartial election capable of ushering in a new Executive in January 2021.”