The Ohanaeze Ndigbo general assembly has threatened to arrest Prof. George Obiozor , a frontline presidential contender in the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation.
Others being threatened with arrest are those contesting elections into chapters of the organisation at various levels.
The President-General of the Ohaneze General Assembly, Basil Onyeacholam, disclosed this in Awka, Anambra State, on Thursday.
Saying any attempt to conduct election for the leadership of Ohanaeze was illegal, Onyeacholam pointed out that his organisation was the authentic representative of the Igbo.
He added that law enforcement agencies had been informed to act accordingly. He said,” The law of our land does not prohibit anybody from wasting his money. But any attempt by anybody to hold election in the name of Ohanaeze is going to be an effort in futility.
“We have made our position clear; Ohanaeze is one. We have also reached out to some people that are involved, especially the elderly ones to come and man the elders’ council of our organisation, while the national executive leadership should be left to younger persons, that is the restructuring that is going on in Ohanaeze.
“Anybody that is calling for any election anywhere is trying to organise what that is not proper in the eyes of the law. We have written to the security agencies.
“Prof. Obiozor is 80 years. If Prof. Obiozor is to be anybody’s father or grandfather, would they allow him to be struggling at that age?”
It was reported that the counsel for the Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly, recently registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission, Amobi Nzelu, had in November last year asked the police and the Department of State Services to stop the Ohanaeze Ndigbo election slated for January.
Nzelu also urged security agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, to arrest the outgoing President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, and other principal officers of the Igbo apex socio-cultural organisation, past and present, for allegedly running the organisation illegally.
Reacting, the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Anambra, Chief Okeke Ogene, described the threat as an empty one. He said, “If they feel they have the capacity they should come and arrest us. We are not afraid of any threat. They should remember that a factional Ohanaeze like them had gone to court and court said they had no right to stop our elections.
“The election going on is not the decision of one; it’s the decision of Imeobi (parliament) in the South-East that involves all traditional rulers, town unions and governors of the seven Igbo-speaking states.
“Elections are continuing. Nobody has the powers to discuss the existence of Igbo nation than the Ohanaeze led by Nnia Nwodo is Ohanaeze of the Igbo nation that has history from the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe. We have a lineage; we have a founder; ask them who their founder is? Why are we wasting our energy to merchants and agents of destruction?”
Meanwhile, one of the leading contestants for the office of President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr Joe Nworgu, has said that the position required someone who has had apprenticeship in the organisation.
Nworgu, who spoke to our correspondent on Thursday, said he was in the race to champion Igbo interest since he had served in the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation in various capacities.
Nworgu, who is a former deputy secretary-general and secretary-general of the body, said “I am in the race because Igbo are in a crossroad’s and the race required someone who has had an apprenticeship in Ohanaeze. Someone who knows the older men who have rendered service and the younger people who are coming in; therefore you have to stand on this two varies.
“I have helped formulate policies for Ohanaeze under some president generals. I took part in formulating the present constitution of Ohanaeze that was approved in 2003. I have watched the older men take decisions because I have been a statutory member of Imeobi from 2002. That has exposed me to all the dealings, and who is who among the Igbo top echelon.”