By Chinedu Adonu
As the tenure of the current Ohanaeze Ndigbo exco ends January 10th, 2021, the Prince Richard Ozobu-led Ohanaeze Ndigbo Election Committee has released modalities for the exercise.
Recall that there has been controversies over the election that will lead to emergence of a new leadership, leading to the formation of parallel election committees.
Addressing journalists in Enugu on Sunday, Ozobu said the local government election must hold before the National exercise.
“Every attention has been on the seat of the President-General, which of course falls under the National Election.
“But we must follow the Ohanaeze constitution to the letters. What it means is that the local government election will come first between the 8th and 9th of January.
“This will be followed by the State election during which three delegates that will take part in the national election shall emerge; that is the process and modality for this election and we are not going to alter it,” he stated.
He said his committee was interested in giving Ndigbo a credible election that would stand the test of time.
The committee chairman also accused the Ohanaeze President-General, Chief Nnia Nwodo of perpetuating illegality.
He said it was regrettable that despite being a lawyer, Nwodo was flouting the Ohanaeze Constitution with impunity.
He added that the main essence of Ohanaeze had been defeated under Nwodo.
“Ohanaeze was founded to protest socio-political interest, Igbo interest, economic interest, it is not purely for politics, every Igbo man is supposed to be a member of Ohanaeze, you don’t have to be a card carrying member of a political party.
“Now, to conduct an election, we have a constitution and the present executive was sworn-in with that constitution, but they are not abiding by it, since day one, and we can’t find a reason why,” he said.
When asked how Nwodo violated the constitution, Ozobu said, “in several ways; only the Secretary-General has the right to summon Imeobi, but that has not been complied with; even the day they talked about suspension of the Secretary-General and the youth president, they said the motion was moved by the Chairman of Ohanaeze in Anambra State, but by the constitution of Ohanaeze the said person is not even a member of Imeobi, so what was he doing there to move a motion. Besides, the Constitution also expressly provides that the said persons can only be removed by the General Assembly, so you cannot even raise the issue of suspension at Imeobi. It is there in black and white at Arlicel 21.”
While faulting the electoral process earlier set in motion by Nwodo, he said, “the meeting he called Imeobi was not properly summoned and constituted and that is why a constitutionally constituted Imeobi has now met and did the needful.
“We were at Owerri, Imo State, where Imeobi was properly summoned by the Secretary-General and forum formed, and an election committee was set up, I didn’t expect to be part of it but they prevailed upon me, and I had to accept it for the service of Ndigbo.
“Now, I want to announce to Ndigbo that we have set in motion a machinery for a credible election, it is not just for the position of the President-General, it is for the entire structure, starting from local government, State to National level.
“We are going to make sure that delegates that will appear at the National Election are actually those elected at the State level.”
On the timing, Ozobu declared: “I must say that this process ought to have started three months ago. So, why was it delayed? As it stands now, we can’t have a hurried process that would not stand the test of time. What is the essence of a constitution?
“From our plan, the exercise would be completed before the end of this month of January. If we get the cooperation required from all the stakeholders, it will be completed within one month.
“We are calling on the council of elders, the traditional rulers and the governors to give us the maximum support and cooperation.
“I assure Ndigbo that at the end of this exercise, we will have a very strong Ohanaeze, better than what we have had in recent years, better structure.”