Ohanaeze Ndigbo Election: Time to forge ahead as united body

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THE emergence of former Nigerian ambassador to the United States, Israel and Cyprus, Prof. George Obiozor, as the new President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, is not surprising to many Igbo elites because of his wealth of experience in public service, diplomacy and pedigree, especially now that the Igbos are legitimately asking for their rightful political position in Nigerian politics and leadership of the country.

Unfortunately, the divisions and rancor that characterized the election were not unexpected since there were disagreements earlier on the selection of the election committee and how the candidates should be nominated and selected during the build up to the election.

But before the election conducted by the Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Owerri, another group held an election in Enugu that produced some officers, while some notable contestants were said to have either withdrawn from the election, while others stepped down for Prof. Obiozor. And for Gerry Igariwe, who conducted the election and declared Prof. Obiozor the winner, the process and conduct of the election were smooth and transparent, while the aggrieved candidates said that the process was fraudulent.

According to the result of the election held at the Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri, and observed by the South East governors, ministers, politicians and the clergy from the zone, Okey Emuchay from Abia State and former ambassador to South Africa, was elected the new Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, while Kingsley Dozie Lawrence from Abia, who is a medical doctor and former student union leader, was elected unopposed as the vice president general of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

Since Prof. Obiozor has emerged as the elected President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, it behooves on the other candidates to unite and ensure the success of Prof. Obiozor, who is their compatriot and the choice of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

With Obiozor’s experience and pedigree, he is expected to rally all the candidates, who had aspired to that position and in cooperate most of their programmes for the growth and wellbeing of the Igbos in Nigeria and in Diaspora. This can be done by setting up an advisory Think-Tank, which they will all be members and ensure the smooth execution of the mandate of Obiozor and his agenda for Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

Prof. Obiozor, who was a director general, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, NIIA, Secretariat Coordinator, 2014 National Conference, South East Delegates, Member, Presidential Advisory Committee-2014 National Conference, Adviser to President Ibrahim Babangida on International Affairs; among others, said during the build up to the election that “the time requires a very careful and delicate skilled manager in the relationships between Ndigbo and other Nigerian nationalities, especially the national power elites. This requires a mature and experienced person with a capacity to build enough consensuses to define and defend the interest of Ndigbo.”

“By my age and career history, I have long outgrown all that. Instead, my most compelling necessity was service, a timely and crucial service at one of the most critical times in Nigerian history with dire consequences, particularly for Ndigbo as a national entity. Indeed not only has governance become both difficult and complex in Nigeria, but down right an existential threat to Ndigbo in particular.

On the Igbo dilemma in Nigeria, Prof. Obiozor affirmed that his interest to throw his heart and cap into the ring to contest for the next President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide was “borne out of his concern for the Igbo dilemma in Nigeria and not based on self-aggrandizement, personal ambition or self-promotion.”

According to him, Ndigbo have been objects of stereotype and profiling, which ended in being misunderstood and misrepresented before other Nigerians. That has been the Igbo albatross everywhere in national politics or business, academia or artisans. Negative profiling has been an Igbo cross to carry since Nnamdi Azikwe’s emergence in Nigerian politics in the 1940s.

With his political experience, the Professor said that he would assemble Igbo talents and experts to cater and defend the destiny of Ndigbo with appreciable success and diplomatic dexterity, decency and decorum.

He promised to change the political narrative whereby “Ndigbo will join other ethnic groups to play the politics of self-help, rather than the politics of general national interests, which had been the hallmark of Igbo politics since the days of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. With our new narratives of courage without rancor, wisdom without arrogance and intelligence with humility, we will meet our detractors and adversaries or rivals with offers they cannot resist, and situations that compellingly encourage taking right actions for the right reasons.”

“Our position should therefore begin with efforts to effectively re-integrate Ndigbo into Nigerian political process effectively, significantly, and relevantly. This will require serious diplomacy and not confrontations or conflicts,” he said.

Accordingly, with his skill and experience, Ohaneze Ndigbo will “negotiate effectively by having to bargain in the interest of Ndigbo”.

With Prof. Obiozor’s credentials and pedigree and unalloyed support from Igbos in Nigeria and Diaspora, Ohanaeze Ndigbo will take its rightful position in Nigeria’s socio-political space once again.

– Jan. 11, 2021 @ 18:09 GMT |

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