Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation Ohanaeze Ndigbo has said that it fixed its “imeobi” meeting at Enugu today, oblivious of the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari, would visit the south east geopolitical zone for his re-election campaign.
Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Emeka Attamah, made this known in a statement in Enugu, yesterday.
Attamah said that the Ohanaeze Ndigbo President General, Chief Nnia Nwodo, caused the time of the meeting to be shifted, when his attention was drawn to Buhari’s visit by both the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige.
He spoke against the backdrop of allegations by some members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, that the meeting was deliberately fixed to scuttle Buhari’s campaign visit today. Buhari would visit Enugu from Anambra State, where he commissioned the massolleum of the first President of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe at Onitsha, among other activities.
The statement read in part: “The truth of the matter was that the National Executive Council, NEC, of Ohanaeze Ndigbo had chosen the date for the meeting oblivious of the campaign timetable of the ruling APC party.
“It explained that in deference to the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, and the chairman of the South East Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Dave Umahi, who both called his attention to the clash, Ohanaeze Ndigbo shifted the time for the meeting from 10 am to 4pm same day.
“Ohanaeze stated that they were aware of the extra cost implications due to those that would have gone back to their base but would now be accommodated in hotels but said it was to give all Igbo sons and daughters scheduled for the meeting opportunity to be there.
Meantime, a substantive national youth leader of the youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Mr Arthur Obiora, has been sworn into office by the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo.
Nwodo explained that the swearing in of the youth leader was put on hold until yesterday because of a petition by a contestant in the April 2018 election, Mr Tony Uche, in which he alleged that Mr Obiora was overaged to contest in the election.
Nwodo however said that with the withdrawal of the petition by the petitioner, Mr Uche, the coast was clear to swear in Mr Obiora.
He commended Obiora for his patience throughout the nine months it took to resolve the impasse, adding that it was a mark of a good leader.
Chief Nwodo told the youth leader to unite the factions that might exist within the youth wing and be accommodating as a true leader.