Suspended General Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Uche Okwukwu, came under fire on Thursday for filing a suit against outgoing President-General Chief John Nwodo.
Among others, Okwukwu is asking an Umuahia high court in Abia State to nullify all steps taking by the Ime-Obi (Ohanaeze’s decision-making body) ahead of Sunday’s election.
Stakeholders said he should have sought other means to settle his grouse.
Despite the suit, the electoral committee set up by Nwodo is preparing for the poll.
The Chairman, Chief Gary Igariwey, said those who are eligible to vote on Sunday are aware of it.
“I will not be answering a question on the election guideline and on those eligible to vote on that day because the people concerned are already aware of it,” he said.
He said the election will hold at the Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
A legal luminary, Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN), believes the legal option taken by Okwukwu cannot stop the election.
He said: “I don’t see any implication. That he was suspended as the General Secretary of the Ohanaeze cannot stop the election because what he was occupying an office.
“Though he has the right to go to court, the court will look at it to see whether he is in a position to do that.
“It depends on what the constitution says and the allegations against him. But the election cannot be stooped for one office.”
He described the unfolding events as very sad, adding that it was also surprising for a group of people to challenge the consensus arrangement after consenting to the process.
“I was there and all other candidates agreed on Prof. George Obiozor be the consensus candidate. I am surprised that they are all now challenging the process.
“Let them be advised that the mere fact that there was a consensus candidate selected by Imo does not mean that other people from outside Imo cannot bring other candidates for the state.
“But that should exclude those who participated in the emergence of Imo consensus. That’s not why we should mess up ourselves.”
National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Wing Worldwide, Osmond Nkeoma, described Okwukwu suit as disappointing.
“He is no longer the General Secretary. He has been relieved of it a long time ago by the National Executive Committee of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Ime-Obi.
“We have an acting secretary-general,” he said, adding that he was not sure whether Ohanaeze has been served with the suit.
He urged Ndigbo to ignore the lawsuit.
The South-South Coordinator, Ohaneze Youths Council (OYC), Chief Chinedu Arthur Ugwa, called for a free, credible and peaceful Ohaneze Ndigbo election.
He warned persons scheming to truncate the election through the court to desist from the plot, insisting that nothing would stop the poll.
He said the move by Okwukwu to obtain a court order against the election would fail, explaining that the court had earlier ordered Okwukwu and his group to stop their antics.
Ugwa noted that the next leader of the socio-cultural organisation must work to unite all Igbo people and harmonise their agitation.
He said the first task of the next leader must be to organise a general meeting of Igbo people and bring everybody on a roundtable.
Ugwa said the leader should also shop for an acceptable Igbo presidential candidate for the 2023 election and build bridges with other geopolitical zones.
He said: “Igbos will have a new leader and anybody that is fomenting trouble in any way should desist from doing that and allow Igbos to have peace and unite against the 2023 election.
“It should not be a do or die affair. If it is not your turn today, it may be your turn tomorrow.
“We need a formidable Igbo nation. We expect the new leader to call for a general meeting and call for peace across the Igbo nation.
“He must find a way to present an acceptable presidential candidate for the 2023 election and also work to collaborate with other geopolitical zones.
“If we have 80 per cent speaking in one voice, it will be a good development. We should address the issues of security and float a common security outfit for our region.
“The President must represent all even those that fail to vote for him. We have to harmonise all the agitation.
“The court process initiated by Uche Okwukwu will not affect the election. There is a court order against them but they ran to another state to secure a counter court order. This is not politics. It is for the Igbo nation. Not for PDP or APC.
“Running to another state to secure order is dead on arrival. It will not stand. Whoever that is fomenting trouble cannot come to Ohanaeze secretariat in Enugu State.
“So, where do they want to operate from? We believe that the election will settle the issues affecting the Igbo race.”
President-General Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, expressed fears over the outcome of the election.
He is worried about a possible parallel election, which he said could make or mar the 2023 Presidential quest of the people of Southeast.
The OYC President-General urged governors of the Southeast to call the warring factions for a round-table meeting before Sunday.
Isiguzoro said: “It is very unfortunate, the unfolding drama and development in Ohanaeze Ndigbo in recent times.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo has been hijacked by a set of Igbo politicians and if care is not taken, and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s Constitution is not followed the way it should be, there might be a parallel election in Ohanaeze come Sunday.
“If that happens, it will bring factions and that will not be good for the campaign for an Igbo President come 2023.
“We want to warn politicians to desist from imposing anybody on Igbos. Such imposition will destroy Ohanaeze Ndigbo; it will sink Ohanaeze into the abyss of history.
“It is only Ohanaeze that the Igbos have and we will do everything to protect it will all zeal to ensure that the constitution of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo is fully applied.
“We want to also use this opportunity to call on Southeast governors to invite Okwukwu and Nnia Nwodo and other interested parties to resolve all the issues that attracted lawsuits ongoing in various courts.
“The issues before courts in Owerri and Umuahia are ridiculing the image and identity of Ndigbo, which is Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
“Any attempt to ignore any party will bring Igbo Apex respected organisation into ruins and crisis that will linger for long.
“A lot of politicians outside Igboland are interested in Ohanaeze election because of 2023 election and some politicians who are their allies have already started lobbying to impose some group of candidates and Igbo youths must resist it.”
Spokesman of Ohanézè Ndígbo, Uche Achi-Okpaga, urged the incoming administration to continue the push for Igbo emancipation and the fight for a restructuring of the country from where the outgoing leadership stopped.
He spoke in Abakaliki on his expectations of the incoming administration.
According to him, the next leadership should be made up of persons ready to serve Ndígbo and Nigeria selflessly at all times.
Okpagha also debunked reports that Ohanaézè leadership was plotting to impose some anointed candidates for the President-General and other positions.
According to him, the constitution of the organisation structured the election in such a way that no single member of the National Executive could influence the election.
He said: The outgoing leadership alongside other ethnic nationalities groups championed restructuring campaigns which have gained ground. So the next leadership should continue until it is achieved.”
A public affairs analyst, comrade Vincent Ezekwueme, called on Igbo leaders to ensure a rancour-free, fair, credible and generally acceptable Ohanaeze election.