Home News Iwuanyanwu confirmed Ohanaeze president, vows to secure Nnamdi Kanu’s release

Iwuanyanwu confirmed Ohanaeze president, vows to secure Nnamdi Kanu’s release

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Nigerian politician and entrepreneur, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu has been confirmed as the President-General of the Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

In his inaugural speech, Iwuanyanwu pledged to secure the release of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafrra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who is being prosecuted for treason by the Federal Government.

Iwuanyanwu was unanimously endorsed as the group’s President-General during a meeting of Ohanaeze Imeobi at Enugu’s Banquet Hall on Sunday.

Imeobi is the highest decision-making organ of the Ohanaeze, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation in Nigeria.

Earlier this month, the 80-year-old politician was presented to Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma by a delegation of the Imo Elders Council as the consensus candidate to replace the immediate past President-General of the Igbo group, Prof. George Obiozor, whose death was announced in December.

But given that his emergence was not through an election, Ohanaeze Imeobi needed to ratify the position.

After the Ohanaeze Imeobi meeting, a member of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chinedu Ugwa briefed the media that Iwuanyanwu was confirmed Ohanaeze Ndigbo President-General because there was no dissenting voice against his emergence at the meeting.

Ugwa, who participated in the meeting, said Iwuanyanwu was confirmed as the President-General through voice voting.

“A new president of Ohanaeze Ndigbo has been elected through the procedure of engaging the governors of the seven states that make up Ohanaeze. The endorsement was done after a recommendation by elders of Imo State because nobody was coming to ask or query his emergence. So, it is in the form of an election”, he said.

In his inaugural speech, Iwuanyanwu expressed delight over his endorsement as the President-General of the Igbo group, saying that “providence and the love of Igbos propelled” him to the position.

“I thank you all for giving me the opportunity to lead Ndigbo at this time. With our collective efforts and support, Ndigbo will rise again.

“I, therefore have a duty to valiantly defend the Igbo course and I promise Imeobi and all Igbo people that by the grace of God, I will not fail them”, Iwuanyanwu said.

The new President-General said he had done “his best to serve the Igbo both in time of war and time peace” and that, as a young boy, he learnt determination to serve Igbos from his father.

He said he never “nurtured” the idea of becoming President-General of Ohanaeze and that he had unsuccessfully sought to become Nigerian president three times.

While reeling out the priorities of his administration, Iwuanyanwu said he would make “a special appeal” to President Muhammadu Buhari to release Kanu before he (Buhari)  exits office on 29th May.

“Nnamdi Kanu is very crucial for any discussion (on security) and it is not possible to negotiate any peace while  Nnamdi Kanu is in prison”, he said, noting that the Court of Appeal, Abuja had struck out the terrorism charges filed against Mr Kanu.

“There is also a report that his health is deteriorating. I feel it is important that he is released to have access to his medical doctors so that he does not die in prison”.

The new Ohanaeze leader also vowed to ensure that the South-east gets an additional state, explaining that the South-east is the only region with five states in Nigeria.

“Several political conferences have recommended the creation of additional state in the South-east to bring the number of states to six. So far, this has not been actualised.

“I will make sure that during my tenure (as Ohanaeze President-General), an additional state is created for the Southeast”, Iwuanyanwu assured.

The Ohanaeze President-General listed other priorities of his administration including reviving agriculture, and industries and revitalisation of the educational system in the Southeast with a focus on information and communication technology.

Others are: Repositioning the region’s health sector, evaluating the possibility of generating electricity with coal deposits in Enugu, and creating the Ohanaeze investment company as well as a cultural centre.

In attendance were the five governors from the Southeast: Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) Charles Soludo (Anambra), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi, represented by his Deputy, Kelechi Igwe), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia, represented by his Deputy, Ude Chukwu) and Uzodimma (Imo, represented by his Deputy, Placid Njoku).

Others are Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi; Enugu State Governor-elect, Mr Peter Mbah; former Governor of Imo State, Sir Ikedi Ohakim; and a former President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Senator Adolphus Wabara, among others.

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