Raphael Ede, Enugu
Another crisis is brewing in Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Igbo apex social cultural organisation, as allegation of fraud and breach of election guidelines continue to trail the recent election of National Executive Committee of its youth wing.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo has announced today for the inauguration of the newly-elected executives of the youth wing. A petition to the National Executive Committee of Ohanaeze against Mr Arthur Obiora, who emerged the new National President, Ohanaeze Youth, called for the cancellation of the election.
They alleged that the election was flawed with irregularities and in breach of the election guidelines the parent body of Ohanaeze had set out.
The petition dated May 5, 2018, was signed by Mr Tony Ezekwelu, contestant for the position of leader, Henry Ugo Opara, contestant for the post of Publicity Secretary, Christ Afunike, contestant for the post of Deputy National Leader and McDonald Ubani contestant for the Post of Ex-Officio (Abia).
According to the group, the declared winner of the election, Arthur Obiora was not qualified to contest the election on age grounds, since the electoral guidelines stipulated an age limit of 50 years.
“Based on evidence deduced from his current international passport No A 07320404, he was born on January 23, 1967 and as such was over 51 years of age as at April 20, 2018 when the said election was held.
“Moreover, during the Ohanaeze Youth wing election of 2014, he had declared his age as 39 years. However, his First School Leaving Certificate and evidence from his primary school mates in Oba show his actual age is over 56 years. Information available shows that the planned inauguration of the Ohanaeze Youth wing under his leadership scheduled for tomorrow in Enugu may not hold as bailiffs are set to storm the inauguration venue with a court order,” they said.
They however, condemned the alleged plan by the National Executive Council (NEC) of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to hurriedly inaugurate the new executive members today in Enugu.
‘‘This is despite protests, both written and verbal, and the overwhelming evidences of underhand practices by some members of Ohanaeze Ndigbo NEC as an insult to the sensibility of the Igbo youths.
“It is important to note that while we and a pool of the Igbo youth intelligentsia that are sympathetic to our course have decided to allow peace reign in the affairs of our apex body, some persons should not mistake that for cowardice as we are ready to rattle the boat whenever our rights are infringed on. We are being forced to showcase our potential and that we shall do”, they threatened.
Meanwhile, the former National chairman of Ohanaeze Youth Wing, Mazi Ikechukwu Bismarck Oji, in a statement yesterday in Enugu warned: “This attempt to buy over the leadership of Ohanaeze Youth Wing because of 2019 politics must not be allowed to stand to avoid reversing the successes already recorded by the Chief Nnia Nwodo led Ohanaeze leadership.
“If this fraud stands, it will be a negation of what Ohaneze stands for which is equity, truth and justice.
“It will also make nonsense of the efforts of committed Igbo youth leaders for the past 18 years to build the Ohaneze Youth Wing”, he noted.
Mazi Oji pointed out that the annual Igbo Day now being celebrated by Ohanaeze is an achievement of the youth wing, stressing that the then former President Obasanjo “sneezed and our elders caught cold but we persevered not minding various threats against us”.