Fresh crisis in Ohanaeze as issue of tenure resurfaces

Nnia Nwodo

As the controversial and unresolved issue of tenure rears its ugly head again the Nnia Nwodo leadership has publicly declared that it’s tenure will end in January 2021 not 2020.

It warned mischief makers against stampeding the executive.

The organisation faulted those it said were “going about claiming that the national election of Ohanaeze Ndigbo would hold in January 2020.”

It warned them to desist from such propaganda.

The proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader Nnamdi Kanu, in a radio broadcast on Saturday evening, said the tenure of Ohanaeze President-General Nnia Nwodo would end on December 31.

Nwodo assumed office in January 2017.

Kanu said in the broadcast that some people from the marginalised parts of the country, who are supposed to be supporting the Biafran cause, are rather fighting against it.

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Such people, he said, include some leaders of Igbo groups and some governors from the South.

He said the agitation for Biafra will continue as Biafra and Nigeria are not meant to be together.

Kanu ended his address by stating that Nwodo will no longer be the leader of Ohanaeze after December 31.

But Ohanaeze deputy spokesman Chuks Ibegbu noted in a statement that the Nwodo-led executive won’t complete their term until January 2021.

He accused “desperadoes” and those who wish to use the office for personal gain as propagating the rumour.

According to him, when the tenure of the present Ohanaeze executive is due to end, the world would be told.

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Ibegbu noted that for now, the Nwodo-led executive was trying to reposition Ndigbo within the Nigerian polity.

Many prominent Igbo citizens from Imo State are said to have started jostling to succeed him.

Those jostling are saying, contrary to the Ohanaeze executive’s claim, that Ohanaeze constitution prescribe three-year tenure which is rotated alphabetically among the five Southeast states and the Igbo speaking parts of Delta and River states.

With Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi and Enugu having produced Ohanaeze presidents, it is Imo’s turn.

Those said to be interested in the position from Imo are former Nigerian Ambassador to the United States Prof. George Obiozor; former Imo State Governor Ikedi Ohakim; policy consultant Dr Chris Asoluka; former Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Dr Joe Nwaogu, among others.

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Nwodo served as Minister of Civil Aviation during the second republic under Shehu Shagari.

He served as Minister of Information and Culture under the Abdulsalami Abubakar military administration.

In 2017, Nwodo won an election that declared him the ninth President-General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, a socio-cultural organisation that represents Igbo speaking community, and protects the rights and interests of the Igbo around the world.

He won with 242 votes. His opponent, former Anambra State University of Technology Vice-Chancellor  Prof. Chiweyete Ejike, had 13 votes.

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