Ohanaeze Ndigbo: Controversy as Iwuanyanwu emerges President-General

Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu

The emergence of Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu as the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has stirred up lots of mixed feelings within various camps of the Igbo apex socio-cultural organization in the country and beyond.

While some described the emergence of Iwuanyanwu as a welcome development, others are of view that the elder statesman’s emergence did not follow due process as stipulated in the constitution of Igbo apex body.

No wonder a faction of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Thursday, described Iwuanyanwu’s emergence as the body’s President-General as unconstitutional and illegal.

‘No due process’
The Ohanaeze Elders Council, led by Prince Richard Ozobu, said the laid down process by the organization’s constitution was not followed in Iwuanyawu’s emergence.

Recall that a delegation of the Imo Elders Council led by its Chairman, Cletus Ilomuanya, presented Iwuanyanwu to Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, on Wednesday, following the death of the former Ohanaeze’s Secretary-General, George Obiozor.

However, the ‘Ozobu-led elders’ council wondered why the elder statesman would subject himself to such illegality when he was part of those that amended Ohanaeze’s Constitution in 2004.

The position of the elders was disclosed to Vanguard on Thursday morning by the Secretary-General of Ohanaeze, Okechukwu Isiguzoro.

According to the elders: “Iwuanyawu’s appointment as Ohanaeze president is unconstitutional.

“The processes of assumption of any office in Ohanaeze as enshrined in our constitution as amended in 2004 says ‘in the sudden death of any officer, there must be a bar election approved by the Imeobi and ratified by the general assembly’.

“Iwuanyawu was the chairman of strategy and planning of Ohanaeze in 2004; hence we are wondering why a man who was part of amending the constitution would fall victim.”

Succession line…
Meanwhile, the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, has stated that Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu emerged as the new President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo in replacement for Amb. George Obiozor who died last December after a brief illness.

He made the disclosure in a statement issued in Enugu on Thursday.

According to him, in line with the doctrine of necessity, the NEC had at the demise of Amb. Obiozor directed the people of Imo State to find a credible replacement for Obiozor for the post of President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide.

Ogbonnia added that the Imo State Council of Elders, led by Eze Ilomuanya presented Chief Iwuanyanwu to Governor Hope Uzodimma, as “the consensus candidate” of the Council to lead Ohaneze.

Iwuanyanwu, who hailed from Ikeduru in Imo, had been presented to Governor Hope Uzodimma for approval to finish the tenure of the late Prof. George Obiozor who died in 2022.

He said, “The various reactions from the members of the National Executive Committee, NEC, of Ohanaeze and from all the organs of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide indicate wild jubilations with the news that Iwuanyanwu, the Chairman, Council of Elders, Ohanaeze, has been selected as a replacement for Obiozor who died in 2022.”

He described Iwuanyanwu as a “dynamic, versatile, purpose-driven and broad-minded personality of impeccable pedigree.

“Before now, Iwuanyanwu is one of the finest amongst the Igbo; a philanthropist par excellence, massive employer of labour, robust creative thinker, brave soldier, accomplished engineer, astute business mogul, industrialist and sagacious politician.

“Beyond the above attributes is the general outcry for the prerequisites or the required persona for the Office of the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide.”

Ogbonnia, however, pointed out that a President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, must also detach himself from any governor and should have the courage and moral authority to reproach or condemn a governor or any high office holder, who went against the Igbo interest or public norms.

Meanwhile, a source close to the apex body stated that Chief Iwuanyanwu was only nominated to stand in the gap of the late President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo as he has not been elected.

“The truth is that, the newly nominated Ohanaeze President-General is not yet elected, but only standing in the gap of the late leader, because even nature abhors vacuum.

“Again, the people that nominated him are the people of Imo state, because it’s their turn to produce an Ohanaeze leader.

“Therefore, those against his nomination and subsequent emergence as the leader are not completely wrong, or totally correct.

“They would have been in line if the people of Imo state didn’t produce him unanimously; therefore, they should wait until he is presented to the General Assembly.

“He is yet to be elected and pronounced the leader, and we believe before then all this dusts being raised might have settled; and everyone will know if he is qualified or not,” the source clarified.

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