Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
The centre seems not to be holding at the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo, as the leadership has been severed into factions over next month’s presidential election.
Barely 24 hours after the National Publicity Secretary of Ohaneze, Uche Okpaga, announced the suspension of the Secretary-General, Uche Okwukwu, the later has made a counter announcement suspending the President-General, Chief John Nnia Nwodo indefinitely.
In the announcement made by the Publicity Secretary, the Secretary-General was suspended by the body for seven days within which he was expected to retract his publications against the decision of Ohaneze in endorsing the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
But announcing Nwodo’s suspension, Okwukwu said a nine-man panel had been set up headed by Mr. Richard Ozobu, to investigate the president-general’s alleged misconduct and abuse of office.
He said: “The President General said that I have been suspended for seven days because of my stand on the falsehood he made public saying that the body has endorsed Atiku Abubakar which you know that we never endorsed anybody.
“Today rising from the meeting of Ime-obi Ohaneze Ndigbo, we announce the suspension of Chief John Nwodo from the organisation indefinitely.
“To that effect, a nine-man panel has been set up headed by Mr. Richard Ozobu to investigate acts of misconduct and abuse of office as well as bringing Ohaneze to public disgrace.
“The body has one month to submit its report to the organisation and we take it from there. The suspended president claimed to have endorsed Atiku Abubakar which is not true.”
It could be recalled that Anambra State government first threw the dust when it distanced itself from the Ohaneze communiqué that endorsed the Atiku/Obi candidature.
The State Commissioner for Information, Mr. C Don Adinuba, had while explaining the government’s stand said: “We want to make it clear that we are saddened deeply by the fact that the Ohaneze leadership displayed absolute contempt for the person of Great Zik of Africa, the most important person in the last 300 years in Igbo land and indeed Africa.
“It’s extremely difficult to explain why the organisation decided to hold the Ime-obi Ohaneze meeting on Thursday, January 24 the very day the whole nation was in Onitsha Anambra State to celebrate the Great Zik of Africa.
“Nwodo was not there claiming that he was not officially invited, and we wonder how, even when Mr President was to perform an important function in Igboland.
“Nwodo forgot sadly that late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe is the only and first patron of Ohaneze Ndigbo, and he forgot that against all odds, Zik appointed his father a minister in his cabinet and also established the first University in Nigeria in his village, Nsukka, instead of Onitsha.”
Reacting to Okwukwu’s announcement, Nwodo dismissed the purported suspension handed down to him by his faction of the organisation, stating that was of no effect.
Nwodo argued that the secretary-general has no such powers to suspend him, insisting that he remains the president-general of Ohaneze Ndigbo while Okwukwu had been suspended by the body.
Mr. Ozobu who was announced by Okwukwu as the chairman of the panel to question Nwodo told newsmen that Nwodo was actually suspended.
He said: “Nwodo will be quizzed for gross misconduct, abuse of office and the image of the organisation as well as forging the communique of Ime-obi Ohaneze Ndigbo.
“We shall invite him to appear before the panel and explain to us why disciplinary action will not be taken against him for those allegations.”
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