Igbo Leaders Wade Into Ohaneze Crisis, Sets Up 11-Man Committee
Disturbed by the post-election crisis rocking the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo, leaders of the South-east geo-political zone yesterday in Enugu set up an 11-man committee to resolve the lingering imbroglio and fashion out the way forward for the people of the region.
Rising from a closed door meeting held at the Enugu Government House, the leaders expressed dismay over the crisis rocking the organisation and urged the committee chaired by Senator Ben Obi to find solution to the problem.
The meeting which was attended by notable leaders of the zone including Governors Peter Obi (Anambra), Martin Elechi (Ebonyi), Theordore Orji (Abia), Rochas Okorocha (Imo) and Acting Governor of Enugu, Sunday Onyebuchi, noted that time had come for Ohaneze Ndigbo to become more stronger instead of being faced with myriads of challenges culminating in the emergence of different factions.
Other Igbo leaders who attended the meeting include former Presidents-General of the organisation, Prof Joe Irukwu and Dr Dozie Ikedife, Minister designate, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, chairman of the South-east chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop Emmanuel Chukwuma, Senator Ayogu Eze, Senator Ben Obi, Uche Chukwumerije and Enugu Speaker, Eugene Odoh.
Briefing newsmen at the end of the meeting, the chairman of the South-east Governors' Forum, Governor Obi who also chaired the meeting, said the committee had two weeks within which to look at the remote causes of the crisis and report back to the leaders of the zone, expressing hope that before long, the problem would be resolved.
He further disclosed that the meeting agreed that all issues pending in Ohaneze including the cases at different courts be withdrawn before the next meeting of the leaders.
He therefore appealed to all the people involved in the crisis to desist from making further comments on the issue till an amicable solution is found.
According to him, the crisis facing the organisation was painting a negative picture for the people of the zone, noting that efforts must be made to unite the people instead of fanning embers of disunity.
THISDAY checks revealed that a major crisis had broken out in the organisation shortly after its national election held on January 12 this year as another faction led by the former Secretary of the electoral committee that organised the election, Chief Richard Ozobu, faulted the exercise.
He insisted that the election which produced Chief Gary Igariwey as President-General and Dr Joe Nworgu as Secretary General did not follow due process, insisting that the whole exercise was hijacked by some unnamed forces who were bent on stagnating the organisation and by extension, the Igbo nation.
The crisis later assumed frightening dimension when the new officers went to court and obtained an injunction restraining the other faction from organising a parallel election on January 19 in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.
Since then, the two groups have continued to trade blame in the media prompting the intervention of the leaders of the zone.
Senator Obi has however assured them that his committee would however work hard to find lasting solutions to the crisis which he said has assumed a frightening dimension.
-------Christopher Isiguzo, This Day, Monday, January 28, 2013