By Ugochukwu Alaribe, UMUAHIA
Chairman of the parallel electoral committee on the Ohanaeze Ndigbo elections, Prince Richard Ozobu, has warned that any election conducted after January 9, 2021, is illegal, null and void.
Ozobu, in an interview with Vanguard, stated that the electoral committee led by him had conducted elections into the various offices in the local, state and national executive committees of Ohanaeze on January 9, in Enugu, and urged Igbo people to support the new executives.
The Ohanaeze chieftain explained that the tenure of the Chief Nnia Nwodo led national executive committee expired on the midnight of January 9, 2021, as it was elected on January 10, 2020. He insisted that the Chief Gary Enwo Igariwey led electoral committee set up by Nwodo has no right to conduct any election on January 10, as the tenure of the executive committee who inaugurated it had expired.
In his words; “The life of an ad-hoc committee can’t go beyond the tenure of the executive committee that set it up. The tenure of the Chief Nnia Nwodo led executive committee expired on the midnight of January 9th. They were elected on January 10, 2017. Therefore, it follows that the Gary Enwo Igariwey electoral committee he set up no longer has the right to conduct a lawful election.
“Electoral committee is an ad-hoc committee. Any ad-hoc committee set up by Nwodo has expired with his tenure. Those purporting to organize another election can’t legally do so because it is out of time. No valid election can be held in Ohanaeze Ndigbo after the midnight of January 9th. Anybody purporting to organize any election after January 9th is acting illegally according to the law. I had said it at several fora that Nwodo had no respect for the Ohanaeze constitution. If my committee had not acted on time, Nwodo would have set Ohanaeze on a constitutional crisis. The public should disregard that charade in Owerri under the guise of Ohanaeze election.
“Everything about the Igariwey committee is illegal and contrary to the Ohanaeze constitution; right from the manner, Nwodo convened the Imeobi meeting and unilateral appointment of his political party associates under the guise of Ohanaeze electoral committee.
“My committee concluded all the elections into the various positions by the midnight of January 8th. The results have been compiled and endorsed by the agents of the various candidates. The right thing has been done, we met all the requirements stipulated in the Constitution of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.”
Asked about the venue of the election, eminent personalities who attended and whether his committee secured the support of the Governors of the 7 Igbo states, Ozobu said nothing in the constitution of Ohanaeze that states that the electoral committee must have the support of the governors; stressing that all the stakeholders including the governors made inputs in the issue of delegates to the election and votes cast in line with the law.
“The election was conducted in Enugu and those residing outside the city and in Diaspora participated through zoom. You know we have covid-19 restrictions and you must not run against the law on covid-19 on the issue of the gathering of about 1,000 people, including Ohanaeze delegates from different states, journalists from far and wide as well as observers at a location. We also observed the zoning of the offices among the component states of Ohanaeze Ndigbo which operates a rotational system. The position of president general went to Imo state; the Secretary-General to Abia State, etc.
On the reports making the rounds that Nwodo will hand over to the South East Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN; the Ohanaeze chieftain warned that there is no provision for an interim government in the Ohanaeze constitution.
“After their inauguration, the President General can consult the Secretary-General to summon meetings such as the Imeobi, Council of Elders, national executive committee and general assembly. There must be respect for the Ohanaeze constitution. People must be kept abreast of the activities of Ohanaeze at any time, it can no longer be a one-man show as Nwodo made it. What we have is ‘Oha’ and ‘Eze’, which means the king and the people. This is how things are done in Igbo land. Ndigbo is republican in nature and abhor and resist supreme rulers.”
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