From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Imo State chapter, has dismissed the speculations in the media insinuating that President Muhammadu Buhari and Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma are behind the endorsement of Prof George Obiozor as the consensus candidate in the upcoming Ohanaeze leadership election.
Addressing newsmen on Wednesday, Ezechi Chukwu, State President of Ohanaeze, who said the rumours should be disregarded, stated that all the meetings prior to the endorsement were at the instance of Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu.
He explained that Iwuanyanwu, who is the Chairman, Elders Council of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, opted to lead the screening of the candidates to avoid fielding the wrong candidate.
Chukwu added that the number of aspirants who indicated interest for the position became too many, saying that ‘they were over 20 and every one of them was busy lobbying the elders and leaders of Imo State, spending their scarce resources as if the position in question was the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.’
This development, he stressed, compelled the leadership of Ohanaeze in the State, along with elders and stakeholders, to resolve to come up with a committee for the adoption of a sole candidate.
‘Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu by his position as the Chairman, Council of Elders, chaired this committee; after a thorough examination, Professor Obiozor was unanimously accepted as the best candidate for the position,’ he said.
‘It is, therefore, disheartening to observe unnecessary attacks being unleashed on Professor Obiozor, the Governor, our highly respected leader, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, and even the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, who does not even know what we are doing,’ Chukwu explained.
He urged members of the public to disregard a purported letter written by the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association allegedly thanking the State chapter of the Igbo organisation for endorsing Obiozor.
According to Chukwu, the letter is false and malicious and is intended to destabilise the endorsement of Obiozor.
‘In fact, what we did in Imo State on the selection of President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo is a replica of what happened in Enugu when Chief Nnia Nwodo was chosen in Enugu; but to our greatest surprise here in Imo State some people have gone to the extent of presenting a letter purported to be from Miyetti Allah in respect of this wise and peaceful understanding by Imo people.
‘It is necessary to state clearly that there was no external influence from any quarter on this issue. The decision was done in good faith for the well being of our people. Rumour mongering and fake news have done lots of damage to society,’ Chukwu stated.