by Obinna Akukwe
Igbo leaders in the nineteen northern states of Nigeria have continued to condemn the manner the National Executive of Ohanaeze Ndigbo scammed President Goodluck Jonathan of N5 billion naira in return for second term endorsement. They have threatened to expose the successive culture of corruption and betrayal of Ndigbo for pecuniary gains that has made the national body a disgrace to the South East.
Speaking with the Director General of Igbo Mandate Congress (IMC) Rev Obinna Akukwe in Abuja yesterday, the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Kaduna State Chapter who is also the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in the 19 Northern States, Barrister A.C. Amechi described what Ohanaeze Ndigbo National Body did to President Jonathan as scam. According to him “ it is wickedness to scam an innocent man( Jonathan) of billions of naira , share it among yourselves and not remit a single kobo to any Ohanaeze Chapter in the North, yet you tell the man that all is in control among Igbos in the north” The obviously infuriated Igbo leader in the north stated further that “ for Jonathan to get sizeable votes in the north, he needs the mobilization of Ohanaeze Ndigbo who are the grassroots leaders and not these people sitting comfortably in the East and Abuja” Barrister Amechi asked those who scammed the President to return back his money.
In his contribution, the President Ohanaeze Ndigbo Taraba State Chapter Chief Hon Timothy Nwadike said that “we are still waiting to receive what they said that Jonathan brought for us to use to campaign for him. The national body has not given us anything’. The Chairman Imeobi Ohanaeze Taraba State Chapter, Engr Emeka Chukwuegbo in his contribution told Rev Akukwe that “we hope they remit what Jonathan gave us. We in Taraba State have not received any money from anywhere and our people and other ethnic nationalities are already exiting the state”
The Chairman Imeobi Ohanaeze Niger State Chapter, Chief J.C Onuigbo told Rev Akukwe that “ Igbos in Niger State want to vote for Jonathan but it is disheartening to hear that the money brought for that purpose was shared among themselves and we in the north are not mobilized yet” Chief Onuigbo added that “ as at now Igbos in Niger State are contributing N200 naira each for security and mobilization for the election yet the parent body have shared billions of naira”
The President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Niger State Chapter, Chief Emmanuel Ezeudo condemned the heinous scamming of President Jonathan. He decried the attitude of the National body of Ohanaeze Ndigbo who are in the habits of taking decisions and sharing money among themselves without consulting state chapter presidents.
Igbo leaders across the globe have already condemned the scamming of Jonathan and situations whereby some single individuals took between N300 to N100 millon naira of Jonathan’s largesse while the entire north was not given a single kobo.
Chief Chekwas Okorie, founding member of Ohaneze Ndigbo and founder of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) while speaking to journalists in Enugu said that “They are now exposing themselves to public ridicule. They are now accusing them of collection N5 billion for an endorsement and they are denying they didn’t collect.
“But, definitely, they are dishing out some money to chapters of Ohanaeze. Where did that money come from?
“You now have an Ohanaeze that is drawing money outside Igboland to fight each other. So, I feel disappointed as a person, but I feel sorry for Igbo people because these people have betrayed them,”
Dr Dozie Ikedife, former President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in his reaction over the weekend told journalists that “Endorsement is done by these groups because of what they are given and these endorsements are purchasable
“In the politics of Nigeria, Igbo should always think of their group interest and then national interest. Many people have been wondering what will be the Igbo interest after the elections. For instance, if there is trouble in the north, the Niger Delta or any part of the country after the elections, how will it affect the Igbo”
The Chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Elders Council, Chief Mbazulike Amechi and Chairman Ohanaeze Caretaker Committee, Chief Ralph Obioha had already condemned the notorious nature of Ohaneze leaders collecting billions of naira from Jonathan without doing anything every election year.
Following the protest by State Chapter Presidents of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in the 19 Northern States, the National body in order to cover the monumental embezzlement of Jonathan’s goodwill to the group, hurriedly assembled some Ezeigbos in the North at Abuja last Saturday where each of the Ezeigbo State Council present were given N50, 000 naira each to keep silent and dissociate from Ohanaeze Chapter Presidents.
The Igbo Chiefs who felt insulted by the N50, 000 gifts told Rev Akukwe and the leadership of Igbo Mandate Congress on conditions of anonymity that N50, 000 to twenty chiefs translating to N1 million naira cannot account for the missing N5 billion naira. They expressed sadness that what happened in 2011 under Ambassador Uwechue that is already under probe has repeated again under Igariwey. They promised to expose the scammers at the appropriate time if they fail to comport themselves honorably. They are of the view that those who collected money from the President and failed to remit accordingly are working for the opposition party.