June 11, 2024

The Claver Magazine

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Ohanaeze PG, Chief Iwuanyanwu Has Affirmed My Presidency In Lagos State, Chief Sunday Ossai

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Peterclaver Egbochue

President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos State chapter, Chief Sunday Ossai and some members of Chiefs in Council have dismissed a video in the social media by the immediate past president of Ohanaeze, Solomon Ogbonna purporting that the President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, during his last visit to Lagos endorsed him to continue because of his capacity and competence as false, baseless, misleading and aimed at misinforming the general public and should be disregarded.

Recall that Mr Ogbonna Aguene had addressed a press conference a forthnight ago after the departure of the PG, Chief Iwuanyanwu, where he falsified the facts as a face-saving measure just to hang on. He also alleged that the PG, had in his last visit endorsed him to continue and even asked him for some financial support.

But at a joint press conference on Tuesday, at Ketu, President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Sunday Ossai, and some Chiefs in Council who actually met with Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu during his last visit to Lagos, confirmed that Chief Iwuanyanwu used the occasion to affirm Chief Ossai’s presidency of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos state chapter.

Addressing newsmen during the press conference, Chief Ossai said, “Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, the President General of Ohanaeze has made two visits to Lagos. The first one, he declared categorically that I’m the President of Ohanaeze in Lagos state. This second one, he still made it clear that he is standing on his earlier position.

“He made us to know that he came to Ohanaeze by emergency following the death of Prof. George Obiozor. When he came to Lagos, he was told that I’m the president of Ohanaeze which the Ime-Obi confirmed and the electoral committee confirmed too, and he stood on that. He made it clear that I’m a product of a peaceful, credible and transparent election and that he has no capacity to change me and that I remain the president of Ohanaeze , Lagos state and admonished everybody to join me and support me, whether I’m too good or too bad so long as they had chosen me to the end of my tenure. This was what he said.”

Buttressing Chief Ossai’s position, Eze (Ambassador) Remy Anyamele, Eze Ndigbo of Ikosi-Isheri LCDA and the Secretary General of Council of Ndieze, Lagos state. Said, “On the issue we are trying to address, President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos state in the person of Chief Sunday Ossai is the authentic and the chosen President of Ohanaeze, Lagos state.In deed he is, there is no contestation there.

“Before he became, like he said, he was the product of a free, fair and credible election. Solomon thought he would have used the power of incunbency to stay put but unfortunately for him, this gentleman floored him. In other words, Now, like typical of African leaders, maybe because of money, he has chosen to stay put and that is why he is facing very serious crisis of legitimacy. Solomon is an elsewhile president of Ohanaeze, the one that is presently the leader is Chief Sunday Ossai and that is where we stand and we will continue to follow him untill his tenure ends.”

On his part, another member of the Council of Ndieze, Eze (Ambassador) Nicholas Njoku, Eze Eziokwu bu ndu, Eze Ndigbo of Ejigbo, said, “On Ossai we stand, this is my position because truth remains truth. My title is eziokwu bu ndu which means truth is life. Ossai is the president we know that is elected, whether he is the best or the worse, we must follow him untill his tenure elapses.”

Mike Orji, the Ohanaze Ndigbo Lagos state chairman of Chairmen, on his part also said, “What I have to say is that it is laughable for anybody anywhere to think that there are two factions of Ohanaeze in Lagos state. Solomon Ogbonna was the former president of Ohanaeze between 2018 and 2022.

“If you go to Ohanaeze constitution, section 8A and B claerly states that there are no tenure elongation and no second tenure. Why would someone like Solomon claim to be president of Ohanaeze when his name did not even appear on the ballot papers for the election that brought Chief Sunday Ossai, we should tell ourselves the truth. He is just flexing unnecessary muzzle but as Ndigbo we must stand on the truth which is that Chief Sunday Ossai is the elected president of Ohanaeze and on him we stand.”

Responding to the question of whether Solomon was interested in the election that brought him into power, he said, “Solomon was the one who constituted the electoral committee and he did not show any interest of contesting the election, of course he is not supposed to show interest because in our constitution, it is only one term of four years. So his name was not on the ballot paper. The president-General then was the late Prof. George Obiozor, he was aware of the election. In fact, he sent representatives.”

On the issue of taking possession of Ohanaeze’s secretariat, Eze Ossai further said, “I’m already performing my duty as the president, so asking when am I taking over the secretariat is unnecessary. Solomon still has upper hand because of his relationship with some notable Igbo leaders. Solomon as a leader could not constitute a sustainable economic project for Ohanaeze, he only depend on getting tips from Igbo leaders. Solomon has continued to proclaim himself as the president of Ohanaeze.

“He still has upper hand in that regard. I was watching social media last time and I saw him bragging as peace ambassador, saying that it is only him and Chisco out of many that was given the award, that it was because of the role he has played in Ohanaeze, the peace he has brought to Ohanaeze which everybody know that is not true.”

Speaking about his role as the leader of Ohanaeze, Eze Ossai explained, “My job as a leader of Ohanaeze is to protect the overall interest of Ndigbo here in Lagos.”

On Solomon’s Consent judgment, President Ossai posited that the former president of Ohanaeze is using the document to destabilize his government even though that is not the decision of the court but “it’s left for the court to say I adopt this document, go and manage yourselves the way you have agreed.”

Eze (Ambassador) Anyamele, in his contribution said, “I want to make it very clear, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo is a social cultural organization, it is based the people’s culture, Ndigbo culture in this case. When Solomon was put on that seat as the president, it was not the court that brought him, he was there for the four years and now he is claiming it is the consent judgment. Judgment for what? Are you going to redefine our culture or what? We are saying that we have chosen this man and we have chosen him. Why take yourself to the pit? What we are saying is that we have made our choice and on that we stand.”                    

Asked further whether they have made a strong submission to the court to say that the consent judgment Solomon is parading is not in their constitution, he said, “I want to tell the people here today that some things are better acted out. Before Prof. Obiozor passed on, when he was holding all his meetings in Enugu,the headquarter of Ohanaeze, this is the president he was inviting with the council of Ndiezes and the BoT chairman.

“Then came his demise, the mantle fell on Chief Engr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu. In other words, Chief Ossai was handed over to Iwuanyanwu as the winner and President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Lagos. Iwuanyanwu has continued to work with him. Iwuanyanwu has called for several meetings and he invited him. At the last meeting in Enugu, he invited him, he invited Eze Christopher Offia and Eze Okpotemba and we sponsored their movement there, they went and came back.

“Chief Iwuanyanwu has made two visits here, when we finished our meeting, Solomon was no where to be found. He had a meeting with Ossai where he reaffirmed his presidency and from there we went to other places. We went to V/Island to visit Shingo Nwigwe, Solomon was no where to be found and when we finished, we had dinner somewhere, in V/I, Solomon sat where other people sat and was just eating food.

“The same Solomon had a press conference where he said that Chief Iwuanyanwu came to Lagos to beg him, Chief Iwuanyanwu whose company built Enugu airport, Chief Iwuanyanwu, Chairman of Champion newspaper, Chief Iwuanyanwu had airline, who is Solomon before Iwuanyanwu?”

On leadership and competence, Ossai said, “Solomon said that Chief Iwuanyanwu said that I do not have the capacity and competence to lead and that he has the capacity to lead Lagos, so I was wondering which capacity, is it the capacity to manipulate, suppress and oppress people. He could not define the context of that capacity. If he had defined the context, I would have known the area he is talking about.

“But I know for sure that Solomon did not leave anything for me to inherit. Is it the capacity to run a sustainable economic base, he did not leave, is it the capacity to carry the people along in unison? This same Solomon, during his tenure, Igbos had the worse economic crisis and till now most of them are not living in harmony with their host community. Towards the end of his tenure, he was working alone, he was not working with the chairmen of the local governments, he was not working with Ndieze. He destroyed the traditional process of installing an Eze and installed eleven Ezes in one day so as to have majority in the house. Is this what is called capacity or what?”

On what the Council of Ndieze is doing to dislodge Solomon and introduce Chief Ossai to the state government, Eze Anyamele explained, “To think that the governor does not know what is happening is not true because he knows most of us person to person, he knows our BoT person to person. We have given him title some time in the past, so he knows us. So when these people come with confusion, what he does is to watch and see, maybe to allow you go back with your problems and when you solve it, you can come back because he is not the one that will solve it for you. This problem that has existed, we have resolved it, that’s what he wants to hear.”

On stay put Syndrom among Igbo leaders, the Eze Ndigbo of Ikosi Isheri further explained, “Stay putism is a very serious African problem, it is not just an Igboman’s problem. Have you forgotten that even former President Olusegun Obasanjo attempted to secure third term through the back door when the constitution of Nigeria clearly stipulated two terms. So, Onwuyalu tried it and failed. So, his tenure is running and he is solving problems in his own way.

On the International Peace Award which Solomon received recently, Chief Ossai

said those who gave him the award do not know him well and know that he does not deserve it because he has divided Ndigbo, noting ,“so where is the peace they should retrieve it from him.”

On his final observation, the chairman of chairmen appreciated the President-General, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu for standing on the truth by saying that Chief Sunday Ossai is the truly elected president of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Lagos state.

He described Solomon as just a distraction thriving on propaganda, and that people should not listen to him.

“Igbos in Lagos must continue to move forward. We stand for justice, we stand for truth and that is what we know in Igboland. Solomon cannot stop him from doing his job to the best of his knowledge and we will continue to support him,” he stated.