Ndigbo ekenem Unu. It has been a very traumatic 24 hours for me. Yesterday morning, as I was about to forward the latest Communique from the Concerned Imeobi Ohanaeze members to participants in the “Ohanaeze Webinar Series “, I received the sad news that my mentor and our NADECO Leader, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu(Rtd), Ugwumba, has passed on to the great beyond. Shortly after that, I received another call that Senator Onyeabo Obi, Oseoji Nnewi, a respected Igbo Nigerian Elder Statesman whom I had a conversation with at the Imeobi Ohanaeze meeting which held at Nike Lake Resort, Enugu on December 20, 2020 has also died.
As if these deaths were not enough I received another message that Prof Nick Idoko, a lecturer at Christopher University and a friend and brother has also passed on. I was left speechless and very distraught. May their souls rest in perfect peace. Amen !!!
Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu(Rtd), was a Soldier’s Soldier, a very fine Officer and Gentleman, and a man who always stood for truth, equity and justice. If the Guidelines he used as the Chairman of the Ohanaeze Election Committee in 2006, with adjustments for the current pandemic environment was used in conducting the last Ohanaeze Election, I believe that the outcome would have been overwhelmingly accepted by Oha Ndigbo.
For some of us who are his followers, the least we can do to honor his memory with regards to the last Ohanaeze Elections, is to continue to stand on his principle of insisting that the right things are done all the time and not just some of the time.
Please kindly find below the 2nd Communique of Concerned Imeobi Ohanaeze members on Ohanaeze Election 2021 for your information.
January 14, 2021.
COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF A CONCLAVE OF CONCERNED IMEOBI MEMBERS HELD ON JANUARY 10, 2021, ON THE ISSUE OF TRANSITION TO A NEW OHANEZE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE IN JANUARY, 2021
I. As a follow-up to the earlier Zoom conclave which was convened by Concerned Imeobi Members (CIM), on January 06, 2021, the group convened another Zoom conclave on January 10, 2021 to review further developments around the Ohaneze General Elections, which had been scheduled to hold on January 10, 2021 but which had become a subject of crisis threatening Igbo unity and exposing the race to ridicule and insecurity, and to, therefore, hazard the safe way forward for Ndigbo.
II. It would be recalled that following disturbing reports from the states, including uncontrollable social media commentaries, all the aspirants to the offices of the President-General and Secretary-General were invited to the conclave of January 06 and some attended to brief the conclave on their assessment of the forthcoming Ohanaeze General elections.
A number of Igbo Associations, inclusive of those in the Diaspora; Alaigbo Development Foundation(ADF), World Igbo Congress(WIC), Igbo World Assembly(IWA), Nzuko Umunna (NU), Council of Igbo States in America (CISA), European Igbo Communities (EIC), Igbo Board of Deputies (IBD), Association of South East Town Unions(ASETU) participated in the conclave.
Reports received at the meeting pointed to serious irregularities and non-compliance with Ohaneze Constitution guidelines, which needed to be remedied before a credible election of executives befitting the Igbo nation could be held. After receiving reports and reviewing all submissions, the meeting had resolved to summarize the key issues and to present them to the President-General of Ohanaeze as follows:
“1. Every effort must be made to draw the attention of all key stakeholders to the need to step in and ensure that the elections are conducted in a way to unite rather than divide, permanently damage and embarrass the Igbo nation.
2. The fundamentals for open, free, fair, credible and transparent elections have been breached brazenly. The following observations were raised;
As of today, Wednesday January 06, 2021,
• There are no official guidelines.
• There is no information on venues for elections at all levels.
• No official statement on nomination forms, yet some people have paid and names drawn up for LGA elections that did not hold anywhere.
• There are no official lists of National General Assembly statutory members and those associated with the states, as required by the Ohanaeze constitution.
• The so called generated delegates lists will come up at the earliest on Saturday January 09, 2021. One wonders when the contestants will receive the delegates lists?
Prof. Ben Nwabueze’s letter, in response to a similar situation in 2006, is attached for ease of reference.
3. Based on the foregoing and the compelling need to achieve fairness, transparency and integrity of the process, it is recommended that all the elections be postponed by two months.
4. We live in the technology age. We have smart Hitech Igbo professionals, who have developed voting apps that could be deployed within a few days to enable our respected elder statesmen to vote from the comfort of their homes, with secure protection of their votes. Thus, we recommend electronic voting for the elections.
5. For elected delegates, should they choose to vote in person, their voting shouldbe in Owerri, by secret ballot and dropped in random ballot boxes of choice as opposed to State by State. The exercise should be covered live and recorded.
6. Ndigbo are one family and should manage their affairs as the needs arise. In this case, we must save ourselves from the negative consequences about to be inflicted on Ohanaeze and Igbo nation. We therefore, suggest that we invoke the doctrine of necessity and mandate an interim body to manage the affairs of Ohanaeze within a two months period.
We are predominantly Christians and should entrust the leadership of Ohanaeze to CAN for two months.
7. An Imeobi meeting should be convened via Zoom to review these submissions and take necessary decisions in the best interest of the Igbo nation.
8. The current events constitute the biggest threat to the Igbo nation and should not be treated lightly.”
B. REPORTS RECEIVED AT THE JANUARY 10, 2021 MEETING
I. The conclave received a report that, in line with the decisions and its directives at the last meeting, the letter to the Immediate Past President General (IPPG), conveying the messages specified above, was prepared and delivered to him on January 07, 2021.
The conclave was also informed that the letter was also copied to both the former Chairman and Secretary of the Electoral Committee, after which it was brought to the public domain through various Igbo social media platforms.
II. It was further reported that:
The IPPG had not reacted to the letter.
The IPPG did not act on the advice to convene a Zoom meeting of Imeobi to deliberate on the recommendations with a view to chart the way forward for Igbo interests, deciding instead to conduct a divisive election scheduled for January 10, 2021.
Also, there was no feedback from the then Electoral Committee.
Various Igbo organizations have reacted to, and supported the initiative of, the Concerned Imeobi Members and subscribed to the remedial recommendations they conveyed in the letter to Chief Nnia Nwodo , which was copied to the then Electoral Committee.
III. Reports were given by a number of contestants to the posts of President General and Secretary General in the proposed election, to the effect that the General Elections scheduled for Owerri were held contrary to the advice of the Concerned Imeobi Members. Other highlights of the reports on the election are as follows:
Prof. Chidi Osuagwu, Dr. Asoluka, and Mr Nwadinobi informed the conclave that in deference to the recommendations of the CIM that the election be postponed for 2 months, they withdrew their participation, in spite of the huge amount they had spent to procure the nomination forms.
Theywere distressed that the IPPG did not heed the advice to postpone the election, which proceeded with irregularities, including the non-participation of properly constituted Local Governments/State General Assemblies, delegates from professional associations and members of town unions.
A representative of the Association of SE town Unions,also confirmed ASETU’s observation of discrepancies and irregularities in the foundational elections so far (the local government and state elections) which ultimately will affect the national elections. He indicated that ASETU was waiting to hear from its representatives in the electoral committee on the conduct of the national elections which were holding on the same day of the zoom meeting in order to be properly briefed. He indicated ASETU’s willingness to work with other stakeholders towards strengthening the electoral process of Ohanaeze.
It was also reported that a parallel Ohaneze General Election to elect a President General and other executives was purportedly held in Enugu on January 09.
I. In view of the foregoing, the conclave of Concerned Imeobi Members wishes to state as follows:
1. We disassociate ourselves from the purported Ohaneze General Elections held by any group whatsoever because as we had observed in our earlier letter to the immediate past President General, the procedures and guidelines for Ohaneze General Elections as enshrined in the Organization’s Constitution, were massively breached.
2. Our position and message to all Ndigbo is, therefore, that there is still the need to organize and conduct a credible election along the guidelines and procedures specified in the Constitution of Ohaneze, to usher in mutual trust, peace and unity of our people. We had foreseen and forewarned that a credible, creditable and unifying election would not result from an obviously compromised election process.
3. Indeed, such a grossly flawed process was bound to even damage the image and integrity of otherwise capable and respected contestants; and, it is not in the interest of Ndigbo to accommodate the devaluation of the stature of her great sons and daughters by those who involve them in the unwholesome process.
4. Concerned Imeobi Members will take all necessary steps to reconcile all warring factions and interests so as to return unity and dignity to Ndigbo; this restoration will form the basis for a disciplined, due-process based, peaceful and generally acceptable election of Ohaneze Executives. Ndigbo greatly need a respectable and trusted Executive at this critical stage of our history in the Nigerian federation where we are facing unambiguous existential threats.
5. Accordingly, the committee of Concerned Imeobi Members, is reaching out to the College of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops to encourage their involvement in managing this challenging transition. Our people must not be rendered shepherd-less because of a poorly designed and factional-interest driven election.
ISSUED ON JANUARY 12, 2021
SCHEDULE OF CONCERNED MEMBERS OF IMEOBI THAT MET IN A ZOOM CONCLAVE ON THE 10TH JANUARY, 2021
1. SIR ONYESOH NWACHUKWU 08033342887
2. ELDER UMAH ELEAZU
3. ELDER K.U KALU 08034552888
4. DR. K I K KALU
5. DR. OKEY ENELAMAH 6. HRM AGUOCHA EZE BOBBY. 08061536870
7. DR. EME OKORO
8. PROF. IHECHUKWU MADUBUIKE 08033116020
1. CHIEF MBAZULIKE AMAECHI
2. DR. CHUKWUEMEKA EZEIFE
3. DR. TIM MENAKAYA
4. CHIEF OSITA CHIDOKA
5. IYOM JOSEPHINE ANENIH
6. ENGR. CHRIS OKOYE 08033314448
7. PROF. ELO AMUCHAEZI
8. JUSTICE GODWIN ONONIBA 08065958875
9. PROF PETER UMEADI
10. AVM CANICE UMENWALIRI
11. PRINCE EMEKA ONYESOH
12. ARCHBISHOP MAXWELL ANIEKWENWA
13. BISHOP OBI ONUBOGU
14. CHIEF CHRIS EZE 08056117469
1. ADMIRAL DELE EZEOBA
2. MOST REV. DR. EMMANUEL CHUKWUMA
3. PROF. PAT UTOMI
1. CHIEF LAWRENCE NWURUKU 08037867306
2. ENGR. ELIAS MBAM 08033153385
3. AMB. OGBONNA AJA-NWACHUKWU 08033142791
4. AMBASSADOR MATHIAS OKAFOR 08033306062
5. DR. CHRIS OKEKE 08054334134
6. ARCHBISHOP EDE
7. ENGR. FIDELIS NWANKWO
1. PROF. (VEN) CHINEDU NEBO
2. PROF. BARTH NNAJI
3. CHIEF NDUKA EYA
4. CHIEF ENECHI ONYIA 07034682546
5. MRS MARIA OKWOR
6. BARR. OYIBO CHUKWU
1. DR. KEMA CHIKWE
2. ENGR. CHARLES UGWUH 08067432555
3. MOST REV. DR. ANTHONY OBINNA 08033389449
4. DR. ABRAHAM NWANKWO
5. MAJ. GEN. ROLAND OGBONNA 08035910557
6. JUSTICE B.A NJEMNAZE 08033274152
7. DR. FRANK JACOBS 08036723337
8. PROF. UZODINMA NWALA 08033497985
9. AMBASSADOR G. ONYEGBULA 08081463745
1. RT. HON. CHIBUDUM NWUCHE
2. CHIEF ISAAC NWONWU 08033170790