By Vera Wisdom-Bassey
Ifo, a sleepy community in Ogun State, came alive as the national body of Eze Ndigbo in Diaspora held its election recently to choose officials that would pilot the body for the next three years.
Different activities marked the event, which included breaking of the kolanut by Eze Ndigbo 1 of Ogun State, caucus meeting and fund-raising to assist members in one way or the other.
At the end of the process, eight people from Abuja, three from the Diaspora and 10 from the South were elected to occupy various positions, with room for a second term for any of the candidates that might want another tenure.
Among those elected were Prof. Okunna Miri, financial secretary; Eze CYC Umueakulere, president-general; Eze Ambassador Ihenatu Chukwudi of Ndigbo in Ghana, assistant national publicity secretary II Diaspora; Eze Phidelies Akunuba Okeafor, coordinator, international; Eze Enwemadu Livinus Chimezie, assistance publicity secretary; and Eze Willy Okonkwo Ejimnkeonye, the Eze Ndigbo 1 of Ogun State, treasurer, among others.
Charging the new executive, the provost, Igwe Donatus Okeke, Eze Igbo of Ifo, warned that the people were watching out for their performance while their tenure lasts.
President-general of Ndigbo, Eze Nwabueze Ohazulike, chairman, board of trustees of the Association of Eze Ndigbo in the Diaspora, advised the new leaders of Ndigbo to emulate those who were before them, while discharging their duties without fear or favour.
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to deliver his campaign promises, particularly in the area of securing the life and property of all Nigerians, irrespective of political, religious or ethnic affiliations. He appealed to the President to intervene in the case of Igbo people in Ghana whose shops have been closed for a while.
He said that the Ghanaian government should realise that the two countries were like brother and sister and should not be treated as a stranger.
Umueakulere thanked God for the peaceful election. He said he never expected to take up the position, as there were more qualified people than him.
He pledged to lead the people with the fear of God and in accordance with the constitution of Ndigbo. He disclosed that amending the constitution would be one of his early priorities in office.
“I will follow the constitution of Ndigbo, and be transparent. I will always seek the advice of the elders before taking a final decision on matters,” he promised.
Also at the event, the Eze (Okosisi) Ndigbo of Ibeju-Lekki and chairman, Council of Ndi-Eze, Lagos State, Chris Offai, commended the electoral process, describing it as transparent.
He urged the new officers to revolutionize the cultural and social aspects of Ndigbo. He also tasked them to work in unity in bringing peace, sanity within the Igbo community wherever they are.
“Ndigbo in Ghana, South Africa and various countries are suffering because of the injustices, hatred meted out to them. This is happening because they had nobody to speak for them,” he said. Ejimnkeonye assured Ndigbo that they would come together and work as one body to carry the association forward and bring the needed change.