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Crisis hit Ohanaeze as group split, drag themselves to court

The youth wing of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo, on Thursday in Enugu elected new executive members amid power tussle by ousted leaders.

The election came barely seven months after George Obiozor emerged as the president-general of the group.

The election, which had delegates from Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo in the South-East and Delta and Rivers in the South-South, produced Damian Okafor from Ebonyi as the national youth leader.

Jones Onwuasoanya (deputy national youth leader), Ezechukwu Okpala (national secretary), Arthur Ugwu (financial secretary), and Chika Adiele (publicity secretary) were among those elected.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Okafor, who spoke on behalf of other executive members, said, “We are happy to have been elected to lead, and we call on everyone to join hands with us to move the association forward.”

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Meanwhile, the immediate past national youth leader of the association, Arthur Obiora, faulted the conduct of the election, claiming his tenure has not ended.

Mr Obiora, who stormed the election venue with his supporters, argued that he was elected in May 2018 and sworn in for a four-year tenure in January 2019.

He explained that he was shocked that the parent body went ahead with the election despite a subsisting court injunction to stop the exercise.

“As far as I am concerned, there is no vacancy for the position of the national youth leader. The constitution says we should stay for four years. By virtue of this, we are not up to four years,” Mr Obiora asserted. “I got an injunction restraining them from going ahead with this election, but they went ahead.”

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He further noted that he had yet to be told the reason his tenure was cut short.

“I believe in the rule of law, and at the right time, the court will decide one way or the other,” said Mr Obiora.

When contacted, the spokesman for the group Alex Ogbonnia claimed he was unaware of a court injunction to stop the election.

Mr Ogbonnia added that the youth and women wings of the organisation were appendages of the parent body which would cease to exist at the expiration of the tenure of the parent body.

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He further revealed that Mr Obiora was elected during Nnia Nwodo’s tenure as president-general, adding that the constitutional provision made it immaterial whether he served out his tenure or not.

“As far as I am concerned, there is no court injunction stopping this election. With the exit of Nwodo, the wings of his tenure also ended. The wings of Nwodo will not stay with Obiozor,” Mr Ogbonnia said.

(NAN)

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