The new President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu , has been advised to align with President–elect Bola Tinubu to bring peace to the Southeast.
An All Progress Congress chieftain in the Southeast, Modestus Umenzekwe, and a Civil War veteran, Jacob Iheoma, who gave the advice yesterday, also set the agenda for Iwuanyanwu.
Iwuanyanwu was last week named the successor of the late President-General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Prof. George Obiozor.
However, the process that led his emergence was flayed by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma; a former Anambra State lawmaker, Tony-Uche Ezekwelu and General-Secretary of Aligbo Development Foundation, Abia Onyike.
They all spoke amidst reports that Im-eobi (caucus) of Ohanaeze will meet in Enugu on Sunday to deliberate on the choice of the elder statesman and other challenges facing the group.
Umenzekwe and Iheoma, who welcomed the leadership of Ohanaeze by Iwuanyanwu, told The Nation that he (Iwuanyanwu) should build bridges across other ethnic nationalities.
For Umenzekwe, the new Ohanaeze leader should work closely with Tinubu to bring peace and unity to the Southeast. He added that Iwuanyanwu should make sure that Ndigbo were not left out in sharing of political offices by the incoming government.
Iheoma, who described the violence in the Southeast, reminded Iwuanyanwu that so much was expected by the Igbo of his leadership.
He said: “He should seek or open up more communication with the agitating groups and know how he can interface with the incoming administration to nip insecurity in the Southeast.
“Nnamdi Kanu is still in the custody of the DSS(Department of State Services). The Igbo are losing out in national leadership and we need an Ohanaeze that would sell the Igbo agenda to the entire Nigerians.
“Igbos were excluded from the outgoing administration. We want the new leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to ensure that it doesn’t happen in the coming government.”
Spokesperson for the youth wing of Ohanaeze, Chika Adiele, described Iwuanyanwu as a good replacement for the late Obiozor.
Adiele advised him to incorporate the youth into his administration
However, Chukwuma, Ezekwelu, and Onyike said the emergence of Iwuanyanwu did not follow due process.
Although Chukwuma stated that Iwuanyanwu’s leadership would mark a turning point in the life of Ohanaeze, he pointed out that the process that led to his emergence was not in tandem with the group’s constitution.
He said: ”All I know is that Iwuanyanwu has been the chairman of the Elders Council of Ohanaeze.
“For me, his leadership of Ohanaeze is not a problem because it is still the turn of the people of Imo State to produce the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
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“But the process through which he emerged contradicts the constitution of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. People are grumbling because he should have been presented as the president-elect to get that consensus by the Ohanaeze.
“Ime-Obi was not involved and the council was not involved.”.
Like the cleric, Onyike, a former Ebonyi State Information commissioner, noted that an Imeobi meeting of Ohanaeze was not called before the announcement of Iwuanyanwu as the group’s new leader.
He said: “I don’t support his emergence as Ohanaeze President for a number of reasons.
“Iwuanyanwu was one of those who propped up the late Obiozor. His election into office was very controversial and led to the factionalization of the organisation.
“Until his death, Obiozor could not exercise a stronghold on Ohanaeze and never summoned an Imeobi meeting. The factions continued without a resolution of the conflict.
“Now, we are told that Chief Iwuanyanwu was handpicked by the Elders of Imo State. Is that the procedure for electing an Ohanaeze President?
“ Why was a meeting of Imeobi not called to midwife the process of selection or election of an Imo candidate to complete Obiozor’s tenure?”
Ezekwelu described Iwuanyanwu’s emergence as a destructive adventure and an abuse of the Ohanaeze’s constitution.
“This is an act of impunity and abuse of Ohanaeze constitution and a serious slap on the sensitivity of the Igbo, ” he said.
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