The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, on Tuesday, condemned the appointment of a Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, as the Acting Inspector-General of Police.
The group said the injustice of the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari was responsible for the growing agitations and insecurity in the South-East.
Ohanaeze National Publicity Secretary, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, stated this in an interview with The Punch.
Buhari appointed Baba, another northerner, as IGP despite pleas by Ohanaeze that the President considers a South-Easterner as the next police boss.
Baba is taking over from Mohammed Adamu, whose tenure Buhari extended for three months on February 4.
While reacting to his appointment, Ohanaeze said it was most unfortunate that the President has chosen to sideline the people of the South-East in his recent appointment of service chiefs and now in the appointment of an IGP.
Ogbonnia said, “It is unjust and unfair to sideline the South-East in the security architecture of the country. Injustice promotes insecurity; it promotes all forms of crisis and problems. With injustice, there is no peace anywhere.
“What is happening in the South-East today in the form of agitations is as a result of injustice. So, we the elders are put in a great dilemma because the younger generation is attacking us and we have been telling them to hold on, believing that the President would have a change of mind.
“We thought that the President would be concerned about the level of injustice, agitations and crises we have in the South-East and would try to ameliorate these things but unfortunately, he is not thinking towards that direction. It is most unfortunate and Ohanaeze will come up with a stronger statement.”
On Sunday March 28, 2021, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide Elders Council met at the Imo State Government House to discuss pressing issues affecting Ndigbo. Although the gathering attracted big names including the WTO DG Ngozi Okojo-Iweala alongside some governors and the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, several strategic voices were inexplicably absent.
Law professor, politician, and member of the Board of the Nigerian Railway Corporation Nnamdi Obiaraeri joined Ukana Omon ‘TheKanon’ on The Agenda Monday morning on MyRadio 101.1 FM Owerri to bare his mind.
OHANAEZE TOO ELITIST; GATHERING OF OPPRESSORS
TheKanon: Professor good morning and thank you for your time.
Prof. Obiaraeri: thank you very much my brother and thank you listeners.
TheKanon: I wonder if you were present at the meeting yesterday (Sunday March 28, 2021) and what you made of it.
Prof. Obiaraeri: I was not invited and I was not present. I should have been invited, I should have been present. This is part of the Igbo leadership disconnect and deficit. If a professor of law of my standing and exposure is not invited to talk about Igbo cause as well as other well-meaning Igbo leaders, then I’m beginning to question the intellectual plank of this discussion.
TheKanon: Ok, we are filing this away for another debate but let’s go to the crux of the matter; this resolution that oh yes Ndigbo shall produce or perhaps to tame the language, should produce, Nigeria’s next president. You have been an advocate of this, have you changed your position?
OUTCOME OF 2023 ELECTION WILL DETERMINE WHETHER NIGERIA REMAINS ONE
Prof Obiaraeri: There’s nothing that will make me change my position. A Nigerian president of Igbo extraction is a must do in 2023. It is the only natural, equitable, and fashionable thing to do if we are still one Nigeria.
Nigerians from all segments of the Nigerian society should elect the Nigerian president from Igbo race to bolster national peace, progress and development. I say this very strongly because the outcome of the 2023 presidential election will challenge the theory of indivisibility and indissolubility of the Nigerian state especially when it is tested against the immutable natural laws and principles clearly etched in section 14 of the 1999 constitution. And for the avoidance of doubt, let me reiterate that this section 14 of the 1999 constitution as amended provides very clearly that the federal republic of Nigeria shall be based on the principles of democracy and social justice. Accordingly the composition of government shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity and also to command national integration.
So, if Nigeria will continue to be one; if Nigeria is going to continue to be indivisible and indissoluble, the time to do equity, natural justice and associated good conscience issues is now against 2023 for the Igbo race. We are not visitors in this country, we are clear stakeholders.
Other tribes, other geopolitical zones have had very clear shots at the presidency, so irrespective of who is advocating for it, irrespective of the fact that they are not particularly the Professor George Obiozor-led Ohanaeze Ndigbo is beginning to be more of a gathering of oppressors than an all-inclusive Igbo group; I think that call is germane.
TheKanon: I hear the tone of what you are not saying, that this group which met yesterday perhaps excluding certain principal voices. Let’s hear it professor, what do you think is the way forward in terms of pursuing the unity that Governor Uzodinma is clamouring?
Prof. Obiaraeri: Well, I hate to think that the agitation is being weaved around the person of Governor Hope Uzodinma, a serving governor of a state, a close friend and the governor of my state. This is an agitation of over 10 million or 15 million Igbos including our friends from other parts of the country who believe in equity.
We must begin to remove certain political office holders from this agitation so that it doesn’t become partisan. Because I heard you in the first instance when you said that the call should be made that APC should be embraced, I don’t agree with that completely. I’m of the APC but I do not think that it will be wrong to have all other political parties come to Igbo land and take their candidates so that we can be sure that whether PDP, APC, APGA whatever other political party an Igbo man is having the ticket, that is the way to have it. But if they begin to make the agitation to appear that a section of Igbo elites who I’ve already termed oppressors, who do not recognize the intellectual class, are now beginning to push this agenda, then it is going to lend itself to big sabotage and I don’t pray that that happens.
TheKanon: I suspect that many would say well governor Uzodinma is within his rights to call for a bombardment of the APC by persons of Igbo extraction because the PDP’s committee on reconciliation or strategy r something headed by Governor Bala Mohammed came up with this report insinuating or even inferring that they are throwing open the bid for the 2023 presidency. So it’s not zoned to any particular geopolitical zone however germane their clamour, or ambition or reach for it might be. Some Igbo leaders said ‘well this is an open insult and a slap in the face of Ndigbo considering our steadfastness with the PDP since 1998’. Don’t you think ‘well let’s look towards the APC since they have been more friendly towards Ndigbo’ according to Governor Hope Uzodinma?
MANY ROADS LEAD TO THE BUSH BUT ONLY ONE WILL LEAD TO THE SHRINE
Prof. Obiaraeri: I don’t want to demarcate my party. I’ve told you very clearly, I’m of APC, I have clear sympathy for APC, but I think that is a very narrow way to pursue the legitimate aspiration of Nigerian president of Igbo extraction. There are many roads that lead into the bush but only one will lead into the shrine. So localizing it and making it an exclusive preserve of the APC is not right. I want to think that insinuations of the PDP are mere proposals as far as I know that’s what they are and you know that 24 hours is a lot of time in politics. When they see the agitation that it is coming from a united coercive Igbo race, every political party would begin to look towards the Igboland.
What should concern us and particularly Senator Hope Uzodinma the governor of the state is how to unify the Igbo race. That Ohanaze Ndigbo meeting that they held inside Government House. Is that where it is supposed to hold? Is that not an audio Ohanaeze meeting?
Why would we have an Ohanaeze that is going to government instead of government coming to Ohanaeze. Why is the Professor George Obiozor-led Ohanaeze being run in such a manner as to see it as an appendage of a few political players?
On the same day that this meeting held, there was also, I hope you know, there was also another meeting of factional Ohanaeze led by Chief Chidi Ibe. In Enugu there was also another group that call themselves South east Leaders Forum. So, if you have a meeting of Ohanaeze-Ndigbo and you exclude key players, those who should talk… on that same day there was an election, a bye-election in Abia State. So where was the Governor of Abia, where was the governor of Enugu, where was the governor of Anambra, where are all the senators, where are the key players? Can you really be talking of Ohanaeze Ndigbo when you don’t have the input of Senator Rochas Okorocha? Let’s not pretend about it? If you don’t have the input of Orji Uzor Kalu, if you don’t have the input of Senator Abaribe, and you don’t have the input of professor Obiaraeri into it? So it should be a mass movement as opposed to clique business.
So I think the whole idea of making it appear that some people are in the forefront will lead, I’ve warned again, will lead to sabotage. Because if people feel uncomfortable especially if it is something that should be of aggregate interest and a few others are localizing it. I have a lot of respect for professor Obiozor: he’s a respectable statesman, I share a lot of things in common with him; he’s a colleague professor. I’m of the same Ivy League background with him; we all have a Columbia University exposure, so he knows what goes into that kind of exposure and accomplishment. If he has a meeting and he wants to exclude me, why would I be the one to support him? I hope you understand; it’s reciprocal. He’s an intellectual; he understands the basis of intellectual planking in things like this.
So Ohanaeze should be made to be one that is talking about contemporary issues in Igboland, so that we can win the support of our people. Why are the bombings, the killings going on in Orlu, in Imo, in Abia, in Ebonyi, why are our people being killed in our home front? Is Ohanaeze speaking about it? Is Ohanaeze talking about the carnage, the loss of lives in our system? I think Ohanaeze should move away from this elitist tendency and come down and challenge the issues of now.
What has Ohanaeze led by Prof Obiozor done to bring Nnamdi Kalu into the picture or you think he is not important?
OHANAEZE NDIGBO SHOULD REACH OUT TO NNAMDI KANU, RALPH UWAZURUIKE AND OTHER AGITATORS
TheKanon: Can calls for secession and calls for the production of a president of Igbo extraction ever meet?
Prof. Obiaraeri: They can meet. That’s what I’m saying, there’s no need pretending about it. Governor Uzodinma, Governor Umahi, these are big time players, these are respectable Nigerian leaders, but they do not, with respect, trump the relevance of Nnamdi Kalu and Ralph Uwazuruike in the scheme of things now. You live in an Igbo area; you understand what I’m talking about. If they doubt it let them go on a popularity walk with Nnamdi kalu on the streets of Owerri and see who will get more respect and more followership. So the truth is, to tone down the level of agitation from these people. And how do you do it? You must carry them in and their sentiments because Ohanaeze means ‘Oha’ and ‘Eze’, Ohanaeze. It is not a matter of those who have protection, those who have access to government house meeting. It is not a government House meeting.
Ohanaeze should be found in primary schools, in secondary schools, in tertiary institutions. Go to Imo state university, go to Federal University of Technology Owerri, go to Abia, ask them do they know who the president of Ohanaeze is, they will tell you that there are two leaders of Ohanaeze. So, the issue of secession, is still part of the right to self-determination. It can be discussed; it can be discussed and agreed upon. What everybody is not agreeable, is that it should be by use of violence. So those who dismiss Nnamdi Kalu, Ralph Uwazuruike and those of us who have very clear opinion on this matter are themselves. Nigeria is on a brink of collapse. Anything that can be done to bring it together, beginning from the Igbo spread should be encouraged.
So this is no longer time to bring in Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the rest of them: these are respectable people but they have no bigger regard, they have no bigger respect than any other person on this matter. If Nnamdi Kalu declares Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala today a persona non-grata in Igboland, she will find it very difficult to operate. You know that much. Not because he may be right but because he has followership. And one man’s thug is another man’s supporter. One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. So we must balance this narrative and that’s why government must be careful the way they are running and pushing the people so that those of us who are intellectuals, who have open mind about this issue, should not be forced, by reason of non-inclusive politics, to join the other tendencies.
OBIOZOR SHOULD BUILD STREET CREDIBILITY, OHANAEZE SHOULD FORM CLUBS IN SCHOOLS, UNIVERSITIES, CHURCHES
TheKanon: Is it possible that we can invite people from every shade of opinion into a room?
Prof Obiaraeri: It is very possible. We are talking about autochthonous nature of leadership. The Igboman is predominantly democratic in nature. You don’t force or hoist leadership on an Igboman. It’s never done anywhere, so if the Ohanaeze that we are thinking about, the first thing is let professor Obiozor as respectable as he is reach out to the other faction, let them withdraw all the cases in court. Sort these things out in house, then come out with a blue print that will take the intelligentsia. You go to universities you form these group, you go to the polytechnic you form this group, you go to secondary school, you have this group, primary schools, churches, and the rest of them.
If you are having Ohanaeze and the big time church leaders or religious leaders of Igbo spread are not part of it, what Ohanaeze are you talking about? What Ohanaeze? What is professor Obiozor’s constituency in the first instance? If he goes into Ariaria Market can they recognize him? If they recognize him, will they listen to him? So these are the issues. At the end of the day, we use this mechanism to begin to speak as one voice forgetting about who will take the office. But the problem we have now is that people are placing the cart before the horse.
They are trying to say who will take the office as opposed to let us get this thing into the Igbo spread and let the Igbo man that has national appeal, that will be accepted and loved and supported by other Nigerians take this office and that is part of what is going on in Igbo land where people are taking a lot of rough measures to bring others down even though as I’ve always said power belongs to God. (TheKanon)
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has once more enjoined Ndigbo to embrace the governement of President Muhammadu Buhari as it is a sure bet for their national integration as a people.
He made this call when a high powered delegation of chieftains of Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly Worldwide paid him a visit at the State House Abuja yesterday.
In a Statement by Adesina, the SA to the President said “they came to laud President Muhammadu Buhari for the good work he’s doing in the South East.”
“It was my pleasure to receive Barrister Basil Onuoha, Amb Obizoba Chiemelu, and Barrister Chimzobam Nnalue, who were unanimous that the South East never had it so good as under the Muhammadu Buhari administration, pointing to roads, bridges, and many other infrastructure works.”
The leader of the delegation, Barr. Basil Onuoha said that the president should continue to consider Igbos in his developmental initiatives.
“We identify with this government, as it is very fair to Igbos,” he submitted.
The President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Professor George Obiozor, yesterday called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to restructure, renegotiate and decentralize power to solve Nigeria’s insecurity challenges.
Obiozor, spoke at the palace of the traditional ruler of Amaifeke in Orlu local government area of Imo state, Eze Emmanuel Okeke, as he came to ascertain the security situation in the area after the military/Eastern Security Network clashed. The Ohanaeze PG, used the opportunity to declare the stand of the association that “We are glad there is peace in Orlu zone and that people are carrying out their normal duties. We appeal to the leaders of Orlu to maintain peace in Orlu, a zone traditionally known for being the most peaceful in Imo state.
■ Says president omitted zone in First Term, repeated same in second term …Lauds appointment of Gen. Irabo, others
By Olaotan Falade
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo has lauded President Muhammadu Buhari over the recent sack and appointment of new service chiefs.
The apex South East organisation in a letter by its president, Amb. Prof. George Obiozor on Wednesday said the change in the security architecture will go a long way to address the nation’s lingering security challenges.
While appreciating the president for the appointment, especially, that of Major General Lucky Irabor who hails from Delta State, the group however berated the president for excluding the South East zone in the appointments.
Prof. George Obiozor, the new President General Ohanaeze Ndigbo has cautioned Nnamdi Kanu to understand that Igbo nation isn’t at war with anyone. The Igbo leader made this known during a World Press Conference at Ohaneze Ndigbo Secretariat in Enugu on Wednesday, 20th January, 2021.
He warned that Biafra Nation is beyond Nnamdi Kanu to decide alone and advised that all utterances and actions that put the Igbos in harms way must be avoided as Diplomacy is the best way to go.
In his words: “The Igbo Nation in Nigeria isn’t at war with Nigeria and has nothing pending before any institutional authority in Nigeria or diaspora that demands a separate existence from Nigeria.
” Nnamdi Kanu is one of us and he must listen to some of us for several reasons. The fact and realities are that the issues of Biafra are above and beyond his capacity to decide. He must listen because he’s one of us and we’re all in this dilemma together. And our mutual and collective responsibilities are sacred and must be respected.
“Consequently, all actions or utterances that put Ndigbo in present and imminent danger or harm’s way must be avoided.
The All Progressives Congress congratulated Nigeria’s former ambassador to the United States of America, Prof. George Obiozor, on his election as President-General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation.
The party’s congratulatory message was contained in a statement titled, ‘APC congratulates Obiozor on emergence as Ohanaeze Ndígbo President-General, by the National Secretary of the party, Senator John Akpan Udoedehe, in Abuja, on Sunday.
While congratulating the incoming President-General, the party also congratulated the outgoing leader of the group, Chief John Nwodo, and the executive committee he headed for its “mature and patriotic leadership.”
The statement read in part, “The APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee under the leadership of Governor Mai Mala Buni is determined to consolidate the ongoing efforts to further mainstream the South-East geo-political zone in the workings of the governing APC and place the zone in its deserved political standing in the country.”
However, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly, which claims to be the only recognised Igbo socio-cultural organisation, has warned the newly elected Ohanaeze Ndigbo President General, Prof. George Obiozor, to confine himself to Imo State or risk arrest and prosecution.
The President-General of the group, Basil Onyeacholam, stated this in his reaction to Obiozor’s election in Owerri, Imo State on Sunday.
Describing Obiozor as president-general of Ohanaeze Ndi Imo, Onyeacholam said, “Whatever happened in Imo State today (Sunday) remained null and void.”
He said he (Onyeacholam) remained the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo recognised by law, the Federal Government and the international community.
Onyeacholam said, “Obiozor cannot function. Obiozor has been elected under an illegitimate platform and they were duly served of court processes before they embarked on the said kangaroo election.
“He should make sure he confines himself to Imo State and should not mention anywhere that he is the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. I still remain the President-General. I’m in charge. There is no vacancy in Ohanaeze Ndigbo leadership.”
The President, Muhammadu Buhari has congratulates the new President-General of Ohanaeze, Professor George Obiozor.
Obiozor, a former Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, Israel and Cyprus, became leader of the Igbo socio-cultural group after an election which held at Dan Anyim Stadium in Owerri, the Imo state capital, on Sunday.
Reacting to the news, Buhari urged the eminent diplomat and scholar to deploy his immense experience within and outside government to forge greater unity of the country.
This is contained in a statement issued by the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
Buhari said, “Given Prof. Obiozor’s rich background, especially, in international affairs and pan-Nigerian commitment, I have little doubt that his election is well-deserved and will serve not only the interest of Ndigbo, but also that of his fatherland.”
“We need all hands to be on deck for this country to move forward in peace and unity,” he added.
Wishing Obiozor a successful tenure, Buhari enjoined him to be a “unifying force beyond his immediate constituency.”
The former Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, Israel and Cyprus, Prof. George Obiozor has been today elected the new President General of Ohanaeze.
He is a man many would describe as a colossus and a man who has done marvellously well as an academia and an eminent diplomat. Obiozor hails from Awo-Omamma in Oru East Local Government Area of Imo state
Ohanaeze is the apex socio-cultural organisation of the Igbo and seen as the most formidable force that binds the Igbo of South East and South South together.
Though some have recently challenged the relevance of Ohanaeze to the Igbo people in the face of attacks on the people from Fulani herdsmen. The organisation still remains the only umbrella that holds the Igbo and a very potent force when they choose a direction and a line of action on any issue.
The election which took place today at Dan Anyiam stadium in Owerri was not without controversy because some opponents have accused the Imo state governor and South East governors of hijacking the electoral process and shifting the election venue from the usual place in Enugu to Owerri.
There have also been rumours of breakaway faction, which earlier yesterday touted one Chief Ibeh as the new President General of Ohanaeze, when the main election has not even taken place.
Professor George Achilike Obiozor from Awo-Omamma in Oru East LGA in Imo state has been today elected as the new President General of Ohanaeze
Three main candidates that participated in the election got the following number of votes while others stepped down for Prof. Obiozor. Dr.S Uju Okoro….3 votes Dr Val Oparaocha…15 votes Amb Prof G.A. Obiozor …304 votes
Amb Prof George Achilike Obiozor was therefore declared the elected President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo gburugburu for the next 4 years.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council, OYC, Worldwide, has described the abduction and release of the 344 students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Kastina State as an award winning drama of the year, 2020.
The Okechukwu Isiguzoro-led Ohanaeze group wondered the rationale and idea behind the drama.
According to the OYC, the display may have been carried out to make the service chiefs appear capable or “resist the idea of sacking them from office.”
OYC, in a statement signed by Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, its President General and Mazi okwu Nnabuike, Secretary General, also said the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau provided the new blankets displayed by the 344 abducted pupils.
“The evidence of (provisions of) new blankets for over 344 pupils of Kankara boys by Boko haram insurgents makes the abduction fake or jankara and organizers of the drama as amateurs.
“Northern leaders have refused to accept their leadership failures in governance, most of their political leaders are behind the insecurity situations in the north and are benefiting immensely from the huge budgetary allocations mapped out for insecurity challenges, the Kankara boys abduction is business as usual for Northern leaders.”