Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Ambassador Okey Emuchay, has accused two South-East governors and enemies of Ndigbo, of using one Mazi Okechuku Isiguzoro, a former President of Ohanaeze Youth Council, to destroy the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, and make mockery of the Igbo nation.
Mazi Isiguzoro has been laying claims to the Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, a development that has been causing confusion and embarrassment to Ndigbo.
Emuchay who is the Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo under the leadership of the late Ambassador George Obiozor, expressed disappointment over the attitude of Isiguzoro, his co-travellers and their sponsors.
Obiozor who emerged as the President General of Ohanaeze in 2021, died in 2022 following a sickness, and since then, the apex Igbo body has no PG.
The Ohanaeze Chief Scribe said that the leadership of the Igbo body had reported Isiguzoro to both the police and the Department of State Services, DSS, but wondered why he has not been arrested.
He alleged that some unpatriotic elements are using Isiguzoro to embarrass Ohanaeze for selfish interests.
Emuchay expressed shock that Isiguzoro who never contested for any position at the election that produced the Obiozor-led executive of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Owerri, suddenly started parading himself as Secretary General of Ohanaeze.
According to him, Isiguzoro was rather among the Abia delegates at the election.
“It’s unfortunate that somebody will just wake up and attach a title to his name and start issuing statements up and down on behalf of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
“When we had election that produced the Professor George Obiozor-led Ohanaeze in Owerri, January 2021, Isiguzoro was among Abia delegates led by the late Chief Ukpai Agwu Ukpai; and Chief Okey Ahiwe.
“He never contested for any position but only participated as a delegate. Then three weeks later, he came to Ohanaeze national secretariat in Enugu with a former Commissioner in Imo, one Engr. Ibe, and claimed he was the Secretary General, and Ibe, the PG.
“Since then, he has been parading himself as such, and issuing statements inimical to Ohanaeze and the Igbo nation.”
Emuchay a former Nigeria Consul-General to South Africa, said that Ohanaeze leadership had reported Isiguzoro to his Ngwa traditional rulers for reproof against his anti-Igbo and unpatriotic activities.
The Ngwa monarchs, according to him, promptly summoned Isiguzoro and he promised to turn a new leaf but never kept the promise.
Emuchay further said that Ohanaeze leadership filed a petition of impersonation by Isiguzoro to the Inspector General of Police who directed the Commissioners of Police in the South-East to arrest him but expressed surprise that Isiguzoro is yet to be picked up.
As Isiguzoro continued without restraint, Ohanaeze later instituted a legal action against Isiguzoro and obtained an injunction restraining him from parading as the organisation’s Secretary.
The court injunction marked E/878/2022 and dated March 10, 2023, was issued by Honourable Justice U. J Mogboh of Enugu State High Court.
The Respondents – Chidi Ibeh, Okechuku Isiguzoro, Prince Richard Ozobu and Nnabuike Okwu – were restrained from parading themselves physically or by proxy, as officials of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
According to Emuchay who was embittered that few unpatriotic elements are exposing the Igbo race to ridicule, added that Ohanaeze had also reported Isiguzoro to the DSS.
He also wondered why he is not yet in the net of any security agency.
According to Emuchay some powerful forces including two South-East Governors behind Isiguzoro and his co-travellers may be the reason they are evading arrest.
“Some powerful politicians including two serving South-East Governors are bankrolling him, and using him to destroy Ohanaeze and ridicule Igbo land.
“We have reported him to the IGP who directed CPs in the South-East to pick him up but they said they had been tracking him but nobody knows where he is hiding.
“He is from Abia but resides in Ebonyi State, and has been hiding from Obingwa to Enugu and Abakaliki.
“We have also written to the DSS attaching copies of the restraining court order but he has not been arrested. It’s like the Adamawa REC that was to be arrested but has not been arrested.”
Ambassador Emuchay said that former President General of Ohanaeze, Chief Nnia Nwodo, had once confronted Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State who hails from the same Obingwa Local Government Area with Isiguzoro, over his failure to call him to order but that the Governor could not offer any explanation.
“In one of our meetings in Enugu Government House, our former PG, Chief Nwodo, challenged Gov. Ikpeazu about this young man. But the Governor could not utter any word. He knows that if the Governor who is from the same Obingwa tells him to stop this nonsense, he will stop disgracing the Igbo race.”
Emuchay who noted that many people including non-Igbos, “are sick and tired of the disgrace” by Isiguzoro, urged Ndigbo and members of the general public to discountenance him and never relate with him as Ohanaeze chieftain.
He urged media organisations to stop promoting Isiguzoro who he described as “an impostor,” saying that referring to him as Ohanaeze Secretary General amounts to ridiculing the Igbo nation as he never contested for the position.
Emuchay said that any press statement issued by Isiguzoro on behalf of Ohanaeze should be discountenanced as he has no basis to speak for Ohanaeze.
He also expressed displeasure over the refusal of some former officers of Ohanaeze to vacate office at the expiration of their tenure.
“Tenure of Ohanaeze exco is four years. There is also a former President of Ohanaeze Lagos State chapter whose tenure has expired but he refused to vacate office.”
The Ohaneze Secretary General, has hinted that the Ime-Obi would be meeting in Enugu on Sunday to ratify the selection of Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu by the Imo State Council of Elders as a replacement for the late PG, Professor Obiozor, to complete the turn of Imo State.
However, when contacted, Isiguzoro claimed he emerged as Ohanaeze Secretary through a due process.
He denied being an impostor but a factional Secretary of his own faction of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
According to Isiguzoro, Ohanaeze has three factions, even as he said that none of the factions has right over the other until the court action instituted by his faction is determined.
“There are three factions of Ohanaeze Ndigbo: one led by Late Obiozor; one by High Chief Chidi Ibe; and Barr. O Onyeacholam, the people who registered Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly in CAC.”
He also denied participating as a delegate in the election that produced the Obiozor-led executive, challenging anyone with documentary evidence to show proof.
Isiguzoro claimed that he emerged on January 9, 2021, before “one Governor went to a stadium and organised a parallel election against COVID-19 protocols and in violation of Ohanaeze Constitution of secret ballot.”
“After the parallel election in Owerri, we filed a court case in Umuahia and Abuja against the illegal misrepresentation of those who participated in Owerri election.”
He further said: “Ndigbo know who the Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo is, and Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro will not be distracted.”
Isiguzoro accused the Obiozor-led Ohanaeze of not honoring the recommendations of Igbo clerics that had waded into the leadership crisis in the apex Igbo body.