Political leaders in the southeast had in the build up to the election of new leaders of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, a pan-Igbo cultural association, infiltrated and hijack the leadership transition of the group. The political leaders include governors and lawmakers in the southeast who organized to impose the leaders of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo in the new dispensation.
In the preparation for the election, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, Senate Chief Whip, had taken up the campaign for Professor George Obiozor, Nigeria’s former Ambassador to the United States of America (USA), to be elected President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. Kalu mobilized the governors in the southeast to support his anointed candidate for the Ohanaeze leadership.
Some ministers, however, opposed the political influence of the Igbo political leaders in the election of Ohanaeze Ndigbo leadership.
The election held last Sunday and resulted in the split of the group producing two presidents general.
One election of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo held at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, Imo State, and was won by Professor George Obiozor who was elected the President-General of the Ohanaze Ndigbo. He was said to have got 304 votes to defeat two other candidates.
The former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Chuks Ibegbu, had protested irregularities and undemocratic processes perpetuated in the election to ensure the victory of Obiozor and others.
Ibegbu expressed regret for purchasing nomination form at N300,000 to contest for the Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
The Imo State governor was said to be desperate to ensure victory for Obiozor as Ohanaeze Ndigbo President General.
The Owerri election committee was led by Chief Garri Igariwey.
Another Ohanaeze Ndigbo election was conducted in Enugu, Enugu State, at which a former commissioner in Imo State, Engr Chidi Ibeh, was elected President General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, denoting the emergence of two faction in the pan-Igbo group.
Ibeh had won in the Enugu parallel election superintended by Prince Richard Ozobu election committee.
Other leaders elected at the Enugu parallel election include: Dimm Uche Okwukwu from Rivers State, the immediate past Secretary-General, emerged as the Deputy President General; Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro from Abia State emerged as Secretary General.
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo has represented the Igbo interest in the Nigeria nation state with minimum interference of the political leaders in the southeast.
The emergent leaders would, however, face new task of reconciliation to stabilize the association. Ohanaeze Ndigbo has become divided as Igbo political leaders are divided over the association’s leadership. The opposing political leaders in the southeast kick against interference of politicians, essentially, southeast governors and some senators, in the leadership and affairs of the pan Igbo cultural association.