By Chijindu Emeruwa
The emergence of Prof. George Obiozor as the Imo state nominee for the position of President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo has drawn the ire of a few of the aspirants to the leadership of the apex Igbo group.
While some of the aspirants to the coveted leadership position including Prof. Goddy Uwazuruike have criticized the process describing it as a ‘jamboree’, Pat Anyanwu, a chieftain of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and a founding member of Ohanaeze Youth Council maintains that the process that produced Prof. Obiozor was flawless.
He regretted that it will be unfair to ridicule the decision of Imo people just because of personal ambition. He noted that the decision to nominate Prof. George Obiozor was taken in concert with leaders and principal stakeholders from the three senatorial district of the state.
Anyanwu said: “This has been the tradition over the years; leaders of every state to which the Ohaneze Ndigbo leadership is zoned to, will meet, consult and produce a candidate for the region. It was the same for the outgoing President-General, Chief John Nnia Nwodo and those before him. This makes the transition seamless and less rancorous.”
According to Anyanwu, before Prof. George Obiozor was nominated, a meeting of Imo leaders and stakeholders was convened at the instance of Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu who is the Chairman of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Elders’ Council. From the stakeholders’ meeting, a 20-man committee was formed to screen the aspirants and select the state’s nominee for the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. All the aspirants to the position were part of the process – they were invited to all the meetings and participated in all the processes.
Anyanwu added: “The committee members were drawn from the three senatorial zones of the state. For Okigwe zone; Prof. Maurice Iwu, Chief Ebere Udeagu and former Speaker Maxwell Duru were in the committee. For Owerri zone; Chief Ambrose Ejiogu, Chief Sam Obaji, Justice Njemanze (Rtd). For Orlu zone; Dr. Douglas Acholonu, Eze Duruiheoma, SAN and Chief Peter Mgbenwelu. Eze Cletus Ilomuanya and Eze Agunwa Ohiri represented traditional rulers while Imo state chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) represented the clergy.”
Anyanwu continued: “The process was open and participatory, and the leaders involved are respected and responsible personalities in Imo state. So it smacks of crass insensitivity and a disservice to good conscience to attempt to lampoon the selfless service rendered by illustrious Imo sons just because of their ambitions. It needs no saying that all the aspirants are eminently qualified but only one President-General is needed for Ohanaeze Ndigbo. So it will be utterly unfair to talk down on the process that produced Prof. George Obiozor as the Ohanaeze Ndigbo President-General nominee from Imo state.”