The Engr. Chidi Ibeh-led Ohanaeze Ndigbo, on Sunday, announced a shutdown of the national secretariat of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization.
It also declared that the Nigerian President of Igbo extraction in 2023 was not negotiable, even as he commended President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Major. Gen Lucky Irabor as the Chief of Defence Staff.
DAILY POST reports that he made the pronouncement after a tour of the secretariat with some members of the National Executive Council.
It could be recalled that the Ohanaeze election held early January pronounced two factions- one led by Ibeh and another under the leadership of Amb. George Obiozor.
Ibeh, who arrived at the Enugu National secretariat for the first time since his emergence, said the place was not conducive for activities.
Ibeh said a temporary secretariat also in Enugu would soon be unveiled to Ndigbo pending the completion of work on the new secretariat being built by Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
He said, “We have come to Ohanaeze secretariat today to take a full assessment of the extent of the job done here so far; for instance, we have gone round to look at the internal and external parts of the new secretarial being built and donated by one of our prominent sons, Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
“He has painstakingly, out of his generosity built this structure on ground, just for the course of Ndigbo and we are here to look at it.
“We have gone round and seen that this project has been completed but has not been furnished, we have looked at it and we saw that the job so far is about 98 percent completed. At this juncture, we are appealing to Owelle Rochas Okorocha in his usual style of magnanimity to please help us to do the final finishing.
“But while that is being done, we hereby shut down this place against any further activity. This place is going to remain closed and a temporary headquarters is going to be cited within this Enugu metropolis, in a very short while, but for now, we hereby shut down activities as far as this place is concerned. Not until this place is completed and tidied up, we are not going to use this place for now.”
Meanwhile, at a media briefing he later held at another location in Enugu, Ibeh announced Obiozor as the chairman of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Elders’ Council.
“We must discountenance the purported election conducted on January 10 at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, pioneered by the governor of Imo State; that was a heinous act meant to destabilize Ndigbo; that we must not take.
“Having said that, I am calling on my purported elected elder brother, Prof. George Obiozor to begin to see issues and accept the position which we have given him here as the chairman, Elders’ Council of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, that is his due place; they say give honour to whom honour is due. He is my revered elder brother whom I love and respect and he has the capacity to drive that elders’ council,” he stated.
On 2023 Presidency, he said, “President of this country of Igbo extraction must not be contested. Looking at critical components which Igbos are in this country, we must be given that opportunity to produce the next President come 2023.
“We are going to interface with all other of our brothers in other regions and we will be appealing to them to support us.
“One integral part of this country cannot continue to be marginalized; one integral part of this country cannot be seen as those who are not part of the scheme of things; we have done a lot to develop this country; we have done a lot to move this country forward.”
Ibeh equally announced that, “This leadership has come up with a scholarship programme; we have painstakingly put up a programme, which we have also achieved 80 percent of giving 9,500 indigenes of Ndigbo scholarship at tertiary level.
“This translates that out of 95 local government areas we have in Igbo land, every local government area will be entitled to produce 100 students that will be trained free of charge at the tertiary level. The forms will be collected at the state level and there shall be focal persons in every community.
“By next week, we will start distribution of the forms and it is free of charge.”
We have also produced face masks, 1000 each to be distributed to those our parents and elders who cannot afford it,” he added.