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Atiku’s Endorsement: VON DG Says Nwodo Rigged Ohaneze’s Constitution

From Ignatius Okpara, Enugu

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – As the recent Ohaneze Ndigbo’s endorsement of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate for the forthcoming election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, continues to generate criticism, the Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu, has accused President General of the apex Igbo body, Chief John Nnia Nwodo of rigging the constitution of the organization.

The VON boss, who is a Chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), and ardent supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari, told newsmen Sunday in Enugu, that “Nwodo, deliberately sidelined the General Assembly of Ohaneze which is the Supreme Organ of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, going by Article 10, subsection VI of Ohaneze’s constitution.

Recalled that Ohaneze, had in a controversial communique issued last Thursday at the end of her (imeobi), meaning caucus meeting held in Enugu, which was personally signed by the President- General, Nwodo, endorsed the candidacy of Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Mr. Peter Obi

However, some notable Igbo leaders such as Governor Wily Obiano of Anambra state, ex-senate president, Chief Ken Nnamani, Minister of Labour ,Dr. Chris Ngige, his counterpart in foreign Affairs,  Geoffrey Onyeama, former Enugu state governor, Sullivan Chime, among others, had swiftly condemned the Ohaneze’s action in its entirety.

Okechukwu said “the outrage of Igbo leaders over the endorsement, was justified, as the collective interest of Ndigbo nationwide was atrophied.

He maintained that Nwodo acted arbitrarily in “Rambo” style and utterly circumvented Ohanaeze constitution in endorsing Atiku/Obi PDP ticket.

According to the VON DG, “Imeobi could have first drawn a checklist of Igbo Charter of demands and hand over to the two leading contenders -Buhari and Atiku. Secondly convene General Assembly meeting to decide, but this was not done.

“The tremendous respect one has for our elder brother, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo worldwide perished when reports crept in on Thursday 24 January 2019, on how he regrettably rigged the Constitution of Ohaneze and by extension Ndigbo worldwide by recklessly endorsing Atiku/Obi ticket.

“Going through his communiqué the first question is where is the collective search, the critical and dispassionate appraisal in Nwodo’s endorsement, when in Rambo style he deliberately sidelined the General Assembly, which going by Article 10, subsection vi of the Ohaneze Constitution is the Supreme Organ of Ohaneze Ndigbo?”

Asked whether there is anything wrong in endorsing Atiku/Obi especially when Ohaneze particularly noted in its communiqué that Ndigbo must seize the opportunity that a major political party (PDP) nominated their son Peter Obi as Vice Presidential candidate, which has given Ndigbo an opportunity for inclusivity, Okechukwu said,

“Yes it was wrong and near idiotic as Governor Obiano alluded to hurriedly endorse Atiku/Obi when main variables and indicators are not critically and dispassionately considered?”

Reminded that Imeobi shall be responsible for rapid response in Ohaneze matters, Okechukwu quipped, “is there emergency in 2019 presidential election which was fixed by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, especially when Nwodo mischievously fixed the Imeobi in a very important date when our foremost elder statesman, the great Zik was being immortalized by Mr President?”

“On the excuse that Nwodo was not privy to APC’s program and therefore should be excused, Okechukwu said it was the idiotic angle Governor Wily Obiano alluded to, as the governors and other eminent Igbos  like Chris Ngige pleaded with him to shift the date of Imeobi but he refused.

“Methinks it is sheer mischief for Nwodo not only to refuse to shift the date, but when he agreed to shift time from 4pm to 7pm, only for his Kangaroo Imeobi to hurriedly finish the meeting before 7pm. This is what angered many who arrived for the meeting shortly before 7pm.”

“Confronted with the second point Ohaneze raised why Atiku/Obi ticket was endorsed, which is, “that the presidential candidate of PDP Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has made an avowed commitment to restructuring of the federation and reconfirmed same during his recent visit to the United States in his meetings with high level US officials”,

Okechukwu retorted, “Atiku’s position on restructuring is at best opaque and candidly is not as robust as Nwodo’s Ohaneze is propagating. No person or group of persons can amend or alter the 1999 Constitution of the Republic of Nigeria without 2/3 of the members of the National Assembly and 2/3 of the State Houses of Assembly. What we have is a rigid constitution.”

“In sum my position is that it is more politically correct to endorse Buhari if a non-partisan Ohaneze is to endorse any candidate.

“I therefore, commend Southeast Governors for their collective resolve to support President Buhari, for his re-election is the surest and quickest route to Nigeria president of Igbo extraction in 2023. Ndigbo’s vote in 2019 for Buhari will simulate a concrete alliance with Buhari’s 10-12 million Vote Bank in the North.” he stated.



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