By Gilbert Ekezie and Favour Onwuka
The Lagos State Chapter of Ohanaeze Ndigbo has said that the election of its new executive officers followed due process and called on the public to disregard reports in some national dailies that the national body has nullified the election and has taken over the administration of the chapter.
The leadership of then Apex Igbo socio-cultural organization was reported to have nullified the election based on certain anomalies with the operation of the Lagos chapter and has taken over the administration with the aim of conducting what it called an all- inclusive election after consulting with all the stakeholders in the chapter. .
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos recently, the immediate past president of the chapter, Chief Fabian Onwughalu described the information as false and a blatant fallacy aimed at circumventing the constitution of Ohanaeze Ndigbo national and the by-laws of the Lagos State chapter.
He explained that there is no where the Ohanaeze by-law and constitution said that the national body can nullify a well conducted election of a chapter or take over its affairs. “So, what they have just stated is dancing towards the gallery. It is just a mere ruse. The people who are doing all these things are the known enemies of Ndigbo in Lagos State, who are agitating for rotational presidency in Ohanaeze. So, there is no atom of truth in what they have said.
Our problem with them is that we refused to do anything that is unconstitutional.”
Onwughalu stated, adding that, the leadership of Ohanaeze Lagos State did not receive any notice to call off the election or the nullification of the election and inauguration. “We were not officially briefed or served. And, the National President did not sign the so called information going round.”
He noted that the election was conducted according to the by-laws of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos State 2006 and that the provisions of the by-laws, which states that the election must be conducted, taking care of all the Igbo speaking states in Nigeria were complied with. “We zoned all the positions among the states. Unlike my predecessors who could not fill all the positions, I came in and conducted bye election to fill them. This time around, all positions are filled. We have a process where all the local governments areas in Lagos State, brought ten delegates each. So, I believe we carried everyone along in the whole exercise.”
The new Chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos State, Chief Leonard Okafor appealed on Ndigbo not to get disturbed by any provocative language, but should remain calm as he is working towards reconciling all aggrieved members of the body to come under one umbrella. “Presently, we are meeting with those who are supposed to be met, and very soon, we will set up a reconciliation committee to handle all the grievances to ensure that Ohanaeze remains more united.”
He frowned at the way issues are settled on the pages of the newspaper instead of amicable resolution. “I do not want the system of dancing in the market place. We should meet to settle our disagreement amicably the way others do Our silence does not mean ignorance or cowardice, rather our actions should speak louder than our voices.”