This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Ohaneze Defies S/East Govs, Holds Meeting in Enugu

The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Monday positioned itself for a possible showdown with the South-east Governors' Forum as it held its Imeobi (elders council) meeting contrary to the directive of the governors to stand down all of its activities pending the resolution of its lingering leadership crisis.

The organisation held its Imeobi meeting the first since the contentious election of January 12, 2013 that brought the new executive of the organisation into office.

The meeting, held at the secretariat of Ohaneze Ndigbo in Enugu, however, supported the declaration of state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, even as it seeks immediate compensation for the families of Ndigbo, who were victims of the senseless killings in the North.

It insisted that there can be no question of amnesty to Boko Haram while cognizance was not given to the victims of their atrocities.

THISDAY check revealed that since the election of the organisation was held, it had faced several challenges from court actions to its outright rejection by the governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Martin Elechi, on the grounds that he was not aware of the election programme, among others.

In a bid to resolve the conflicts, the governors had in February set up an 11-man committee headed by Senator Ben Obi to look into the post election crisis and report back to it in two weeks.

The forum also asked those with suits in courts to withdraw same, while asking the new executive to stand down all activities of the organisation and await its decision. Although the report of the committee was finally submitted after three months to the governors, the governors had not been able to come with a position of the new executive, which perhaps prompted their meeting over the weekend.

The President General of Ohanaeze, Chief Gary Enwo Igariwey, who addressed the Imeobi meeting said the governors had failed to communicate to them the outcome of their meetings over the peace committee they set up to resolve the contending issues in Ohanaeze.

At the meeting were former Governor, Dr Okwy Nwodo, Admiral Allison Madueke (rtd), former Minister, Chief Mbazulike Amechi, Chairman of South-east Council of Traditional Rulers, Chief Cletus Ilomuanya, Chief Uzu-Awka, Chief Gibson Nwosu, Prof. Anya O. Anya, Dr. Offia Nwali, Mrs Uche Azikiwe, Mr. Nweke Aniagor, Chief Maxi Ukuta, as well as Ohanaeze chapters in Abuja, Kano, Jos, Ghana and captains of industry, among others.

In a statement made available newsmen after the meeting, Ohanaeze said there was no justifiable reason to charge members of Movement for Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) to court for treason when they have done no harm to any Nigerian while those that kill and maim fellow Nigerians walk around unmolested.

It therefore urged the federal government to drop its court case against the MASSOB leader, Uwazuruike, whom the Supreme Court recently ruled could face treasonable felony.

The statement signed by Igariwey, Dr Joe Nwaorgu, Secretary General, Prof Paul Modum and Dr Felicia Eneh, chairman and members, respectively of the resolution drafting committee, noted with grave concern the continued manace by Fulani herdsmen in the South-east zone and mandated its executive committee to take appropriate action and work with security organs and governments of the zone to safeguard Igboland.

Ohanaeze also reaffirms the desire of Ndigbo for the creation of additional state in the South-east as a special case according to the 2005 political reform committee as a matter of justice, equity and fairness.

The Imeobi mandated its executive to galvanise various opinion and political leaders at the national and regional levels to take all necessary steps to ensure the realisation of the additional state.

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