The leadership crisis rocking the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo deepened Sunday as members of the Elders Council and other leaders drawn from the South East, Anioma and Rivers State set up a 19- member caretaker committee to run the affairs of the group.
Defiling an alleged court order obtained by the Chief Gary Igariwey- led executive of Ohanaeze Ndigbo prohibiting the meeting and creation of any third party interests in the national executive of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Chief Mbazulike Amechi-led Elders Council and others unanimously resolved that the caretaker committee will become operative from January 7th, next year.
Justice R.O Odugu of the Enugu High Court had on Friday granted an interim order restraining Amaechi, his agents and others from “making further public statements, media publications or announcements and from further parading themselves either as chairman or executive of Ohanaeze Committee pending the determination of the case. He fixed for December 29, further hearing on the matter.
But the Elders’ Council and leaders of thought which met at the Zodiac Hotel, Enugu mandated the 19- member caretaker committee “to conduct election into the executive position of Ohanaeze Ndigbo strictly adopting the constitutional guidelines established for the spread of those positions among the five states of the southeast, Anioma and Rivers State”.
The panel was also mandated to appoint, among others, a professional accounting body to audit the account of the association. Although the meeting could not appoint any headship for the 19 member committee, it resolved that the five states of the southeast, Anioma and River State will contribute to its membership and urged the state chapters to recommend names to it within the next one week.
At the meeting were Chief Ralph Obioha, Presidential Candidate of the United
Peoples Party (UPP), Chief Chekwas Okorie, former Anambra State governor, Dr Chris Ngige, Chief Enechi Onyia (SAN), Prof Ukwu I Ukwu, His Royal Highness Laz Ekwueme, Senator Offia Nwali, Dr. Jumbo Offor, Dr. Zed Chukwujama, Chief Nduka Eya, and Prof. Elo Amuchezi, among others.
Addressing the meeting, Amechi stated that the committee had become inevitable, following the alleged disregard of the Igariwey-led executive to the constitutional provisions of Ohanaeze Ndigbo on the tenure of the elected executive.
He stated that the politics of the country in 2010 leading to the 2011 elections led to the extension of the tenure of the late Chief Ralph Uwaechue-led executive by another two years, stressing that the development did not in any way amount to tenure amendment as wrongly being claimed by the Igariwey-led executive.
“No one in his right mind will construe that development as constitutional amendment. It is purely on this premise that the current Ohanaeze Ndigbo executive is relying that there exists a constitutional amendment permitting the current executive to continue in office till 2017. The President General is mistaken to think so and most regrettably he, more than anyone else, has benefitted most in the confusion arising from the shoddy manner Ohanaeze Ndigbo has run its affairs in recent times”, he said. Agency report