A former Vice President General (Imo) of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Chris Asoluka, has decried the heat and controversies generated from rumoured endorsement of some persons as candidates for soon-to-be vacant offices in the leadership of Igbo apex socio-cultural organisation -Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
Asoluka, who was President of Aka Ikenga the Igbo Think Tank, co-chairman of South East/South-South Professionals (SESSP) as well as Chairman/member of Ohanaeze Election Committee for the 2012 and 2016 elections consecutively, while speaking on Friday, emphasised that there are no candidates yet until an election committee and the guidelines have been approved by Ime-Obi.
This, he asserted, marks the commencement of the process for holding elections to the leadership positions in the organisation.
When reminded that a group referred to “Imo Stakeholders Forum” has endorsed Prof. George Obiozor, as the consensus candidate of the state for the post of President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in the coming election, Dr. Asoluka, who holds the chieftancy title of Okwuruoha, said any group of individuals is free to endorse anyone, stressing that it is only “their preference, which neither binds the election committee nor determines who is eligible to contest the forthcoming elections.”
He insisted that it is premature for anyone to speak on who and who are candidates for an election whose guidelines are yet to be unveiled, noting that until the close of return of forms whenever it opens and closes, no one can be said to be running as a candidate. It is only after the screening committee of aspirants by elections committee that candidates can emerge.
Furthermore on mode of election for the Office of the President General, Dr. Asoluka cited Article 11(b) of the constitution of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, which stipulates that, “The President General shall be elected by the National General Assembly from all interested candidates from the state whose turn it is to fill the office, provided there are at least three candidates”. (Emphasis provided)
On why despite pressure on him by prominent Igbo groups and personalities to run for the post of President General of Ohanaeze, given his track records at various Ndigbo fora, Asoluka said he is still consulting with the various stakeholders in Imo and other states, adding that his position will be made known very soon.
Speaking on the tenure of the Chief Nnia Nwodo-led administration, the former Co-chairman of South East/South-South Professionals (SESSP) commended the outgoing PG and his team for their achievements.
According to him, “Chief Nnia Nwodo has done a lot to bring Ohanaeze to the place of prominence that it is today.
“We must all commend the team for the numerous sacrifices in the pursuit of the interests of Ndigbo in Nigeria”.
However, Ndigbo and all organs of Ohanaeze, he cautioned, “must ensure that the transition to the next administration should be handled carefully, transparently and constitutionally.”
He disclosed that the incoming administration of Ohanaeze must take the organisation further from the height that Chief Nwodo-led administration has attained.
Dr. Asoluka, a former member of House of Representatives, who was also the foundation consultant on Finance and Appropriations to both the Senate and House of Representatives Committees, emphasised that among others, issues of restructuring the federation, Nigerian president, regional development, gender inclusion, engagement and empowerment of Igbo youths and well-being of Ndigbo across Nigeria and around the world should be the priority of the incoming administration.
“Our great accomplishments all over the world bear eloquent testimony to what we, Ndigbo, can achieve working together as a group. We need a visionary and energetic leadership with the capacity to actively galvanise and mobilise Ndigbo world-wide with their friends for the development of AlaIgbo,” he added.