Barely 24 hours after a former information minister, Chief Nnia Nwodo, emerged as the new President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, a court has been asked to nullify the election that brought him to office.
The Igbo Leaders of Thought, a group led by elder statesman, Prof Ben Nwabueze, on Wednesday asked an Enugu High Court to nullify the election, and sack the newly elected Nwodo-led national executive committee.
Nwabueze, a prominent constitutional lawyer, was a former Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex socio-political body of the Igbo.
The elder statesman, who warned against what he described as ‘imposition’ of candidates before the elections, supported Nwodo’s opponent, Prof Chinweite Ejike, during the poll.
Interestingly, Ejike was Nwabueze’s secretary in the Igbo Leaders of Thought.
Nwodo, who was backed by Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, garnered 242 votes to defeat Ejike, who got just 13 votes.
The position of President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo was zoned to Enugu State, and two other candidates who were to stand for the election, Prof Simon Otuanya and Chief Joel Ezeugwu, stepped down for Nwodo at the last minute.
Our correspondent learnt that the influence wielded by governors in the states that make up Ohanaeze Ndigbo – Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers – played a major role in the outcome of the election.
Having been declared winner of the election for the position of President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nwodo and the other elected officers succeeded the Chief Gary Igariwey-led national executive committee.
But crisis trailed the election on Wednesday after the Igbo Leaders of Thought approached an Enugu High Court, seeking nullification of the poll on the grounds that Igariwey and his committee were not the ones that should have organised the election.
In the suit, the plaintiffs argued that the Igariwey-led executive was not the actual body entrusted to conduct the election, based on an agreement reached at Owerri, the Imo state capital, when Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, intervened in a leadership crisis that rocked Ohaneze Ndigbo before the polls.
According to the Igbo Leaders of Thought, going by the ‘Owerri peace agreement’, it was the Ohanaeze Caretaker Committee, led by Chief Mbazuluike Amaechi and Chief Ralph Obioha, that was entrusted with the task of conducting the election.
Igariwey and members of his now defunct executive committee are the defendants in the suit.