There Is No Leadership Crisis In Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Says Nworgu
Apex Igbo socio–cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo is enmeshed in leadership crisis. Last week, a group of Igbo leaders on the aegis of Ohanaeze Elders Council led by former Minister of Aviation in the First Republic, Chief Mbazulike Amechi inaugurated a caretaker committee for Ohanaeze on the claim that the elected executive of Chief Enwo Igariwey has served out its two year tenure. However, in this interview with LAWRENCE NJOKU, Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr Joe Nworgu said their tenure is four years and will run till 2017, among others.
OHANAEZE Council of Elders led by Chief Mbazulike Amechi last week set up a caretaker committee to run the affairs of Ohanaeze Ndigbo on the ground that the tenure of the elected executive which you serve as secretary general has elapsed. Why have you refused to abide by this?
My immediate reaction is that of surprise that people who have good pedigree are involved in what someone will call adult delinquency. It is very mischievous to hide under age to start acting in an unconventional way. I am surprised that some of the characters whose pedigree are well known are shamelessly discussing true facts as non-existent because of set objectives which are clear to us and which we all know that they are playing out
political games. In the immediate past, these are people who have been pressurising for an audience with President Jonathan. What for? They want to be those who will negotiate on behalf of Ndigbo failing which they become opposition group in Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
One is not lost to the rumour last week that this same group of people was telling some people that they were waiting to receive Buhari when he visited Enugu state; that he will pay them a courtesy call at Chief Ralph Obioha’s house. But unfortunately for them Buhari came from Anambra state straight to Okpara square because he was pressed for time.
The fact that Buhari did not attend pay them courtesy call as planned does not mean that they did not have the intention. They are people on political adventurism, but it is not in Igbo interest. They did not only set up an illegal committee, they also branded the incumbent elected executive as anti-Igbo and corrupt. No Igbo man who knows me will ascribe anti-Igbo interest to me; it means these people are not part of mainstream Igbo because I have been consistent in Ohanaeze in the past fifteen years and nobody who has known me well will ascribe anti- Igbo to me or to Gary Igariwey.
If they are trying to score a point by labeling us anti-Igbo, they have lost out. Our performance at the National Conference is a clear indication. We
were visibly pro-Igbo and we defended Igbo interest to the best of our ability.
Since we are already dancing naked in the market, I will spill the beans. Amechi has a political interest in the whole thing which is commercial. Buhari wrote to me as the secretary general of Ohanaeze
Recently and I showed Amechi the letter. His immediate reaction was this is political, that I should make the venue of the meeting his house. I
said it cannot be in his house; but he said he is the oldest political leader in Igbo land, that he was Minister in the First Republic and in his peer group; he is the only person standing. I refused and insisted that it must be at the Secretariat.
I believe this is part of his anger, though we have neither seen Buhari nor heard from him. The other part of his anger is that as the chairman of Ohanaeze reparation committee, he claimed they have spent over N400,000 without any financial
input from the Ohanaeze. He had always made that request. We were able to discuss it and the chairman of our Contact and Outreach Committee, Hope Uzodinma decided to bail us out with the money, yet they were not appeased because the political terrain had already matured for marketing and haggling. That is what you are seeing on the
ground. Nothing can assuage them until they reap what their project is.
Amechi is not Chairman, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Elders Council. By the constitution of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, President General is the chairman of Ohanaeze Elders Council. The Committee has not been inaugurated by the executive. This means that Amechi cannot summon any meeting of Ohanaeze Elders’ council. It is only the secretary general that can do so. So whatever he is doing is very unconventional, unconstitutional and nothing but adult rascality.
Is it true that the tenure of office of your executive has elapsed?
The problem in Ohanaeze is not tenure. They want to use it to deceive people without knowing that we have video coverage of the amendment of the Ohanaeze Constitution on tenure which extended tenure from two to four years.
If your claim is true how come your executive went to court to stop what Amechi group is doing?
Because they were claiming that they are Ohanaeze Council of Elders. We went to court to stop them from claiming such because they are not. They are not Ohanaeze Council of Elders. They do not belong to Ohanaeze Council of Elders and the constitution is clear on its membership.