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ENUGU (THE NATION) -- Apex Igbo sociocultural organization Ohanaeze Ndigbo has disowned the Okechukwu Isiguzoro led Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council.
In a statement issued by the President general’s Special Adviser media and publicity, Chief Emeka Attamah, Ohanaeze described the group as non-existent but mere expletives of disgruntled power seekers who were shamed out of the leadership of the authentic youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
The statement says:
“Ordinarily, one would have regarded the recent rantings of one Okechukwu Isiguzoro and his cohorts parading themselves as leaders of a non-existent group called Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide as mere expletives of disgruntled power seekers who were shamed out of the leadership of the authentic Youth Wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide years ago for their nefarious activities.
“While the ideal thing would have been to consign their outbursts and vituperations against the highly respected leader of Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, into the trashcan where it belongs, as dwelling on it would inexorably accord them recognition they do not deserve, it is imperative to make certain clarifications for the less infomed who may swallow their bile-coated belligerence hook, line and sinker.
“In the first instance, it is pertinent to unmask Okechukwu Isiguzoro. He was elected the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Leader in 2014, but due to his greed for money and inordinate quest for power, he was removed with his executive in 2016, during the tenure of Chief Igariwey,Chief Nwodo’s predecessor. So, Chief Nwodo was not even responsible for his ordeal. All attempts he made to perpetuate himself in power were quashed by courts. Not the one to stay without what he had come to regard as his only source of livelihood, he resorted to his stock in trade of parading himself as leader of a non-existent group called Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide which is neither affiliated to nor recognized by Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, nor is it recognized by Ndigbo. With this, he goes round with his ilk extorting money from gullible and un-suspecting governments, groups and individuals.
“Not being a recognized body by Ndigbo, one wonders, therefore, where they derive their powers from to decide who and who will be put forward by Ndigbo for the presidential race in 2023 in the country.
Moreover, the President General, Chief Nwodo, as of personal choice, does not belong to any political party, and even if he did, the constitution of Ohanaeze Ndigbo debars him from partisan politics.
“It will be a tale for another day to chronicle the covert and overt exhortations, persuasions and campaigns carried out by prominent sons and daughters of Igbo land, traditional rulers, the clergy and some governors of the South East to get him to accept to be the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. In fact, it will be right to say that he was drafted into the role much against his wish. Having bowed to the wishes of the people, Chief Nwodo went to all the seven Igbo-speaking states to satisfy himself that his candidacy received the support of the totality of Ndigbo. In each state, the unanimity of the people in the choice of him was unequivocal. The situation was such that on 11th January, 2017 when elections took place, Chief Nwodo had unprecedented votes of 208 against his rival’s 14.
“Since assuming office, Chief Nwodo has brought his indisputable intellectual endowment, political sagacity, panache, oratory, courage, candour and transparency to bear in his leadership of Ndigbo, so much that Ndigbo can, once again, stand tall both in Nigeria and the diaspora. Hardly does any week pass without his being invited either to inaugurate a new branch abroad or to deliver a thought-provoking lecture within and outside the country.
About whether Ndigbo will present Chief Nwodo for the presidency of the country or not, there is a saying that you do not know the mind of the man on the ground, whether he will stand up and walk away or fight on.
Without presaging Chief Nwodo’s likely reaction to the issue, suffice it to say that as a bona fide Nigerian, he is eminently qualified by the Constitution to vote and be voted for. Nobody has the right, not even Okechukwu Isiguzoro and his co-travellers, to stop Chief Nwodo from aspiring to any office, if he so wishes.
Also, by dint of hard work, personal achievements and service to his fatherland,and judging by any parameters,Chief Nwodo stands as one of the tallest in Igbo land and the country at large.
He is academically sound; he is morally incorruptible as his service as a two-time minister of the Federal Republic without any corruption charges against him attests to; he is courageous and follows the dictates of his mind; he is ac bridge-builder made manifest in his being able to bring the South West, South South, South East, Middle Belt and some parts of the North into a common understanding of the ills of the country and how to get out of them; he is focused and knows the political economy of the world enough to give the country a positive direction; he is detribalised (even though he leads Ndigbo) as seen in his being elected the only Igbo President of the Students Union, University of Ibadan, where nearly 70% of the student population was Yoruba, and in people from other ethnic nationalities in his security apparatus and his employ; he has the oratory and power of conviction; above all, he is Godly and believes in equity and fairness in all he says and does. And so, what are the parameters for determining the suitability or otherwise of a presidential aspirant ? Isiguzoro should tell the world.
Can it just be a case of that any Igbo man who seeks prominence or popularity sees Chief Nwodo as the ladder ? Has Chief Nwodo grown so much in stature that the only way up is to attempt to bring him down? Has Chief Nwodo become the issue or factor ? Or, is there more than meets the eye ? Is it more clandestine or sinister than that?
What is Chief Nwodo’scrime that he is already being besmired, harassed and hounded with calumny, if not that, as is usual with Okechukwu Isiguzoro, he has been paid to do a hatchet job by those who are afraid of the stature of Chief John Nnia Nwodo and which the hatchet man is doing without scruples ? Unfortunately, Isiguzoro has allowed his unquenchable greed and pettiness to get the better of him and exposed his underbelly.
This piece would not have been necessary if it was for Isiguzoro alone. Evidently, the masquerade dancing in the middle of the road has a drummer in the bush beating the drum. There is or are men behind the mask.
Pray, what “antics” was Isiguzoro referring to ? Who is really playing antics between Isiguzoro (his faceless employers) and Chief Nwodo ? Ndigbo should decide.
“Chief Nwodo has less than seventeen months more to hand over the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to his successor. The least anybody can do is to leave him to concentrate on discharging his obligations to Ndigbo without distractions. Isiguzoro and his co-transducers are mere distractions and should be seen as such.
“Chie Nwodo has neither said nor done anything suggestive of further ambition in politics for anybody to begin to see him as a possible rival. He is contented with serving Ndigbo as honestly, purposefully and transparently as his conscience will allow him, and so it is. Unfortunately, the respect for elders very much enshrined in Igbo culture has been eroded. If not, Isiguzoro and his type would have been berated and called to order by prominent traditional rulers, governors and prominent Igbo sons and daughters who all urged Chief Nwodo to come out to do a job that has exposed him to this kindu of opprobrium.
Or was Isiguzoro just flying a kite?
It will neither fly nor perch !”