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Disquiet among Ndigbo as Ohanaeze elects new leaders today

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  • Factional heads emerge

There is tension among Igbo leaders in the South-East and others parts of Nigeria over the election of a new president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and other executive members of the group scheduled to hold today, January 10, 2021.

Already, opposing interests are said to have elected or are warming up to elect parallel officials of the organisation.

A former Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, Prof. George Obiozor, is favoured to emerge as the next PG of the group in the election holding today in Owerri, Imo State.

Obiozor’s chances became brighter when other top contenders for the office reportedly withdrew on allegation of irregularities in the process.

Before now, the electoral committee set up by the outgoing executive led by Chief Nnia Nwodo had thrown up six aspirants jostling to take over the baton of leadership from Nwodo when his tenure ends on January 21. They include Prof George Obiozor, Dr Joe Nworgu, Dr Chris Asoluka, Prof Chidi Osuagwu, Chief Goddy Uwazurike and Prof Nnaemeka Obiaraeri.

It is said to be the turn of Imo State to produce the next PG of the organisation. So, all the known aspirants for the top position are from the state.

An indication that all is not well came on Saturday when Uche Okwukwu led a faction to elect a parallel executive.

Also on Saturday, a report came that a former commissioner in Imo State, Engr Chidi Ibeh, had emerged the factional President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

According to the report, Ibeh emerged during a parallel election organised by the Prince Richard Ozobu-led election committee.

They also claimed to have elected Dim Uche Okwukwu as the Deputy President General and Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, from Abia State, as the Secretary General.

Okwukwu from Rivers State was the Secretary-General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation who had resisted his alleged suspension.

Many other aspirants have also reportedly disassociated themselves from today’s main election.

A top contender, Prof Chidi Osuagwu, said today’s election would outcome amount to a nullity.

He stated this at a press conference on Saturday in Owerri, the Imo State capital, adding that the Ohanaeze Ndigbo election process did not follow constitutional guidelines.

He said, “There is 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 the ones that are associated with states, as required by the Ohanaeze Constitution.”

According to him, the election will be held outside the constitution, adding that any election held in contravention of the provisions of the constitution is illegal, null and void.

He said, “I’ve bought the forms for the candidacy at N500,000 which is very strange, considering that this is a socio-cultural organisation that service should be voluntary.

“Unfortunately, they have turned the exercise to a political party thing. We have a situation where people no longer distinguish between Ohanaeze Ndigbo as a socio-cultural organisation and political parties.”

A former Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr Joe Nworgu, was quoted as saying, “I am disassociating myself from the election because it is fret with irregularities and capable of putting Ohanaeze Ndigbo into crisis. I wouldn’t want an organisation we have laboured so much over the years to build to go down.”

But Nwodo has maintained that “no amount of innuendos and blackmail will deter Ohanaeze from bequeathing a virile leadership to Ndigbo.”

He once also said through his Media Adviser, Emeka Attama, “Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, under the leadership of Chief Nwodo, is committed to the inviolate tradition of conducting a free, fair and transparent election to usher in its successors in January 2021.”

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Why northern governors opposed Jonathan’s second term bid – Babangida Aliyu

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Former governor of Niger State, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, has said northern governors rose against former President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid in 2015 because of the perceived threat of his victory to the North.

Aliyu said in Minna on Friday that the northern governors felt at the time that their part of the country stood in a disadvantaged position and would be shortchanged should Jonathan win a re-election.

He claimed that Jonathan had earlier reached an agreement with the north to complete what was left of the tenure of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and then run for only one term.

He said the ex-president’s insistence on going for another term in 2015 was against the agreement he had with the northern governors.

“Following the sudden passage of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on May 5, 2010, the leadership of the then governing Peoples Democratic Party along with the state governors under the flagship of the party had series of meetings on the presidency and the future of our great party,” he said.

The ex-governor also said, “All the governors in the North under the PDP supported the then Vice President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to complete the remaining years of Yar’Adua’s tenure and to contest the next presidential election as a sole candidate of our great party.

“However, midway, President Goodluck Jonathan insisted to run for the office in 2015 against the grain of our earlier agreement.

“Since this was against the grain of our earlier agreement in the party, and which we the governors in the north felt the North would have been shortchanged if Jonathan had succeeded, we rose stoutly to insist on the agreement we all had.

“On that premise, we opposed Jonathan. But all along, Goodluck Jonathan had enjoyed every support from the governors in the north and the entire region.”

The former governor said it was wrong for anyone to say that he opposed Goodluck Jonathan.

He added that as the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum then, it was his responsibility to tell the people about the stand of the governors.

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Makinde’s candidate, Arapaja, emerges PDP South-West chairman

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Former Oyo State Deputy Governor, Taofeek Arapaja, has been declared the South-West chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He was pronounced winner of the hotly contested poll by chairman of the region’s congress and Benue Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu.

Arapaja, backed by Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, polled 343 votes to defeat Dr Eddy Olafeso, who scored 330.

Olafeso is of the camp of former Ekiti Governor Ago Fayose.

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743 PDP delegates to vote in today’s South-West congress

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National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party has approved 743 delegates to elect the party’s South-West zonal leaders at region’s conference holding in Oshogbo, Osun State today (Monday).

Already, the NWC has also released the list of members of the Election Committee and the Election Appeal Committee.

A statement containing the delegates’ list signed by the National Organising Secretary of the party, Col Austin Akobundu (retd), showed that Oyo State has a total of 171 delegates, while Ogun State has 114; Osun State, 130; Ekiti State, 115; and Lagos State, 101.

Akobundu named the Benue State governor, Dr Samuel Ortom, as chairman of the election committee, while Senator Sandy Onoh, Ogun Otemabore and Ireruoke Edward will serve as members. Senator Samuel Anyanwu will serve as secretary.

The party also appointed an election appeal committee headed by Chief Okey Ezenwa who will serve as chairman, Mr. Roland Najomoh, secretary, while Clement Okaredir will serve as a member.

Due to the supremacy battle between Oyo State Governor, Mr Seyi Makinde, and a former governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayo Fayose, the venue for the election was changed from Ibadan to Osogbo to ensure fairness and avoid giving any advantage to either of the two leaders of the party in the region.

While Makinde is said to be sponsoring Mr Taofeek Arapaja, a former deputy governor of Oyo State, Fayose is said to be backing Mr Eddy Olafeso, a former governorship aspirant in Ondo State and the immediate past chairman of the party in the zone.

The feud between Makinde and Fayose was responsible for the delay in the conduct of the party’s congress in the South-West zone.

The NWC had intervened severally to ensure a consensus candidate for the chairmanship position to no avail.

Already, Arapaja and Olafeso have been cleared to contest the party’s top post in the region.

Also cleared are Mr Rahman Olokaniron and Mr Jenvo Bunni for the position of zonal secretary.

For the office of zonal treasurer, those cleared are Mr Ogunje Samson and Mr Ojo Michael, while the candidates for the zonal organising secretary are Mr Amuwa Adegbenro and Mr Faisu Adewele.

Those contesting for zonal publicity secretary are Mr Olusanya Adefarari and Mr. Fadaka Ayodele, while Mr Adewoyin Babatunde and Mr Philip Okubode were cleared to contest for the position of zonal financial secretary.

Babatunde Samuel and Muniru Kukouye were cleared to contest for the office of zonal legal adviser, while those cleared for the zonal auditor are Dominic Adegbola, Balogun Ayuba and Adeolu Adewunmi.

For the office of zonal woman leader, Ms Modinat Adedibu and Ms Abimbola Balogun were cleared.

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