• Demand two year extension for current exco over litigation

By:Ranti, The Tochlight Africa News


The President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos has again restated his position as the recognized President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos while warning the media, the national body in Enugu, Igbos in Lagos, and other good people of Lagos to disregard those who claim to be leaders of faction of the socio-cultural organization. He affirmed this position at the press conference which held in the Surulere Secretariat of the body yesterday. The press conference which had Thetochlightafrica News coordinating the affairs also established that the Ohanaeze Ndigbo national headquarters domiciled in Enugu has no right to conduct elections for any chapter that is in the Diaspora. The Diaspora associations are those which are outside the seven Igbo-speaking states of Nigeria.

Recalling how he got into office in 2018, the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos, Chief Solomon Ogbonna Aguene said: ‘I was elected on 16th June 2018 and there were serious problems before the election and the national headquarters in Enugu came to nullify the election and conducted another one that brought me into power. But since then, it is been different factions of Ohanaeze – registered and unregistered – infact they call my own a faction and took me to court. We have been in court till date and we are about rounding up our tenure.’
‘Again, the national headquarters in Enugu wants to intrude to conduct the elections and we said no because that is what has brought us to the problem they cannot solve, we have been in court. Enugu is so interested in what they will make in Lagos by selling forms, bringing another president to impose upon us despite all that I have done in Ohanaeze in Lagos. For 20 years, you cannot locate Ohanaeze in any address.

You can’t see your members except at a meeting venue that will be announced. We are here today because of what we have done. We have moved Ohanaeze from analog to digital’.
‘Ohanaeze is sociocultural organization and is not run like a franchise. Enugu cannot tell us who is who in Lagos. They cannot interfere. They tried it in Bayelsa and Abuja and it didn’t hold so why try it in Lagos? We cannot allow a former PDP National member to come and conduct elections in Lagos. My only offense is that they claimed that I went to carry Igbos in Lagos to APC because I am telling my people that they know where the shoe is paining so they should not allow someone in Enugu decide for them. My offense is that I am impressing the government of Lagos but we can see the result for Ndigbo. The relationship we have built in Lagos must stand. They cannot remove me’, he made known the role of the Ohanaeze national body in elections.

Chief Solomon Ogbonna Aguene added: ‘Our constitution says 4 year tenure but there is a clause that gives the elders a say. I have been in court all through so the elders have asked for 2 more years that will ensure that we put Ohanaeze in order and then find another person who will carry it to greater heights. This is what the ‘who is who’ in Ohanaeze is asking for. We had over 200 members here yesterday at an emergency meeting and they had the one voice that I should be gven more time because there is a difference in what used to happen in Ohanaeze for the past 20 years and now.’

‘Today, you see people talking about Ohanaeze. This is the first time that Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos is so close to the government of the day in Lagos. This is the first time that the major markets of the Igbos – Ladipo, Alaba, Balogun, Mandilas – are not being shut down because of the relationship that I have built with government. We do not want someone that will come and destroy that relationshp’, he told Thetochlightafrica News.

Voiding the press conference organized by the opposition comprising Eze Christan Nwachukwu among others, Ogbonna said: ‘The opposition had a press conference wanting to return us to Egypt – the days when they will tear their clothes in fight because of N50000, when they will shout on themselves at Bourdillon claiming who brought who to Lagos. I don’t go to politicians, they come to me because they have seen the discipline that we have introduced. John Uche can’t go to Enugu to talk because he has been suspended indefinitely. Eze Nwosu is not a member of Ohanaeze and not a member of Ezes in council. Eze Christan Nwachukwu is only an Igbo-speaking Eze not an Ohanaeze Eze.

Kanu Ogu who was also part of the meeting is suspended because of his dubious nature about 2 months after we entered office and because someone who is 55years and above and is not married cannot be our member. Our law exists because anyone who has no family can destroy and cannot keep secret. That is why we suspended him.’

‘In essence, 99% of those who called the media for their conference are not members of Ohanaeze. So whatever conference they hold about elections is null and void and of no effect. Their case is like members of National Assembly going to Ghana to go and remove their Speaker. That is madness. We cannot talk for Afenifere. We cannot talk for Arewa because we are not their members.’

Also present at the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Secretariat press conference, Chief Thompson Ohia, ex-officio of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos and two-time secretary of the group affirmed that they want a 2-year extension for Solomon Ogbonna Aguene and that Enugu should steer clear of Lagos issues. He said: ‘Yesterday, we had an extraordinary general meeting. In that meeting, it was agreed that – Enugu cannot come here to conduct elections for Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos. They have never done it before rather they come as observers. The one they conducted last time has been problems up till now. We don’t want that again. Our stand is that they should come as observers. We have not even written to Enugu that our tenure has expired. It should end on 16th June 2022, so what is the noise about? We cannot allow them to destroy the structure laid down by Solomon Ogbonna Aguene who has bridged the gap between Ndigbo and the landlord, who has brought the government closer to the Igbos. We are enjoying this administration through his efforts.’

‘We are emphatically demanding for a 2-year extension of this livewire administration because of the court problems, the pandemic, and the Endsars issues. Also, we are saying that there is no problem in Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Lagos. Even though we have dissidents, we have our structure intact’, he revealed toThetochlightAfrica News.

‘The press conference which held yesterday is nothing. Check their antecedent, these are people looking for stomach infrastructure and Solomon did not grant them that. He told them that whatever comes in is for the people are not for you, that is their anger.

They are only junketing around in politics. We are saying that Solomon would hand over to somenone who could continue this good structure, who will continue with contact with the government not someone who will be celebrating parties around town but someone who will leave legacies’, concluded Chief Thompson Ohia.

The PRO of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos, Mazi Okereke Kelvin, who was also present at the media briefing said: ‘We have bye-laws that guide our activities in Lagos. We are not saying that we don’t have a national body.

We are not bastards. We have parent body but they are limited in their intervention of the Diaspora. We know their powers in the 7 Igbo-speaking states but ours is Diaspora, they have limited intervention in how Diaspora organizations are being run. We want to know if they sent someone to conduct elections for Ohanaeze in the UK? We want to know if they send an electoral committee to conduct the elections in Canada?’

‘We agreed that they conducted the election that brought this current administration but there is no legal document guiding that because you cannot build something on nothing. We already have a 2006 byelaw that we are using to operate in Lagos so if you are setting aside that document, ther must be another that will stand as a guide but there is nothing like that. So you can’t just make a pronouncement that will set aside a byelaw duly ratified by the National Executive Council. So if Enugu is coming to Lagos, it must be in observatory capacity, that the byelaw of 2006 is sacrosanct, and that the President will be given two more years to consolidate this administration as occasioned by the pandemic, Endsars, and of course, the prolonged court case’, said Okereke.

Another leader of the socio-cultural organization, Pastor Dr. Femi Fagason noted ‘We are well acquainted with our Igbo leaders in Enugu. We are privileged to have Prof. John Obiozor as our President-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide. But we are aware of plans to impose someone who is not qualified on us in Lagos. Solomon Ogbonna Aguene is not asking for 2nd term or life president, therefore all the noise by dissidents holds no water.’

‘Igbos in Lagos are 6 million in number which is not a small number. Therefore we need a man that will navigate and put things in order. If we get Igbos in Lagos in order, we will get Igbos in the 7 Igbo-speaking states in order.’

He advised pressmen, ‘The press should exercise restraints when it comes to reporting Ohanaeze. Investigate before reporting. Don’t bring sensationalism. Lagos State Government is in good relationship with Igbos because of this organization piloted by Solomon Ogbonna Aguene whom we call ‘wise man’. He has street wisdom and village wisdom. We have got it right this time around. Help us to build a relationship between the Igbos and Lagos by your reportage.’

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