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George Obiozor emerges Ohanaeze president-general amid controversy

A former Nigerian ambassador to the United States, Israel and Cyprus, Prof. George Obiozor, has emerged the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

Obiozor emerged in an election held at Dan Anyim Stadium in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

This was even as other candidates for the position boycotted the election.

Chief Jackson Omenazu, who spoke with newsmen at the venue of the election, declared the process that brought Obiozor to power as fraudulent.

Omenazu, who is the Board of Trustees Member representing Rivers State at Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said the outgoing president general was misleading the Igbo nation.

Chief Gerry Igariwe, who declared Obiozor the winner, said he (Obiozor) got 304 votes to beat other candidates.

Though our correspondents observed that other candidates boycotted the election, Igariwe said the process was smooth and transparent.

Speaking to our correspondent, one of the candidates for Ohanaeze Ndigbo President-General position who boycotted the election, Prof Chidi Osuagwu, described the electoral process as fraudulent.

The former professor of Biochemistry from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, said the outgoing president general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nnia Nwodo, destroyed the socio-cultural organisation.

Osuagwu explained that he pulled out of the electoral contest because the stakeholders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo said the election should be suspended.

Meanwhile, one of the aspirants for the position of the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mazi Ikechukwu Oji, withdrew from the race.

Oji, a former youth leader of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, announced his withdrawal from the election on Sunday in a statement titled, ‘Withdrawal from the Owerri show of shame called Ohanaeze election’.

He said his withdrawal was in compliance with the position of concerned Imeobi, (highest decision making organ of Ohanaeze Ndigbo) members and other critical stakeholders.

According to him, the concerned Imeobi members had insisted that the election be postponed and a caretaker committee under the Christian Association of Nigeria, South-East, be set up to make way for the conduct of a more credible and transparent election to save Ndigbo from shame and chaos.

He further told The PUNCH, “The purported election of Prof. George Obiozor was a show of shame” since it was held in utter disregard for electoral guidelines known to Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

“The election was not transparent, being fashioned to produce Prof. Obiozor, as a predetermined outcome. The state congresses were either not held or held to the exclusion of candidates not in Obiozor’s line-up.

“Secondly, it lost its legitimacy when all the other aspirants withdrew from the race, citing electoral irregularities.”

Also, one of the leading contestants for the post of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Secretary-General, Chief Chuks Ibegbu, announced his withdrawal from the election, describing the process as undemocratic.

Ibegbu, who is the outgoing Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the body, said, “Following obvious distortion of the proper democratic rules of engagement and feeling the pulse of the Igbo Nation, I hereby exclude myself from the Nwodo-led Ohanaeze election.”

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