By Obinna Akukwe
· Northern Chapter Presidents Rejects Endorsement
· Igbo Leaders Accused of embezzling fund from the top
· Rtd IGP Mike Okiro saves Ohanaeze leaders from shame , pays hotel bills
The crisis generated by Jonathan’s N5 billion naira endorsement gift is increasing by the day as more groups within the body accuses Igariwey led faction of scamming them. Ohanaeze Ndigbo had earlier endorsed Jonathan for a second term in Enugu two weeks ago after which pandemonium, fracas, tearing of dresses and biting off of fingers broke out at the secretariat over the sharing of the excess money. Among the groups that have rejected the earlier endorsement of Jonathan as a result of the sharing formula of the N5 billion naira gift is Igbo Delegates Assembly (IDA) in the 19 Northern States. This group was given N20 million naira to share among the 19 states of the north and FCT and each State got N1 million naira. IDA is alleging that the N20 million naira was the money Senator Hope Uzodimma promised them a year ago which Ohanaeze seized all these while.
President-General of the IDA, Chief S.N. Iyamah; and Public Relations Officer, Mr. Auston Ifedinezi, in a communiqué at the end of its meeting in Abuja called on all Igbo in the North to remain wherever they are and to collect their Permanent Voter Cards.
They claimed that they were not given a dime from the N5 Billion naira from Jonathan despite being at the Ohanaeze Secretariat Enugu when the money was conveyed in vans. IDA have asked Igbos in the north to vote either Buhari or Jonathan, according to their conscience in line with the directives of Ohanaeze Elders Council and Ohanaeze Caretaker Committee. The Igariwey led leadership is plotting to dissolve the IDA in the north for exposing the N5 billion naira gift. Leaders of the group told Rev Akukwe in Abuja that they have information that few single persons (names withheld) smiled home with between N100 to N200 million naira and one very big shot was given N300 million naira while the entire IDA in the north were given N20 million naira to go and share.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo Chapter Presidents in the 19 Northern States also met at Abuja, from Tuesday to Thursday last week to discuss the issue of votes and security of Ndigbo n the North. At the end of the 3 day meeting, they also resolved to tell their members to vote any candidate of their choice since the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo have collected money and failed to give them anything to mobilize Igbos in the north to stay back and cast their vote.
The Chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Zamfara State Chapter, Evangelist Nnamdi Okereke told the Director General of Igbo Mandate Congress (IMC) Rev Obinna Akukwe who led a team of the group on fact finding tour to determine the state of preparedness and security of Igbos in the North that “ it is unfortunate that our Ohanaeze leaders collected billions and did not give us even a kobo as Ohanaeze leaders in any of the northern states and yet they want us to mobilize and vote for Jonathan”. Going further Evangelist Okereke said that “ it is even Gen Aliyu Gusau that came around to ask about the welfare of Igbos in Zamfara while our leaders collected money and abandoned us to our fate “
The Chairman of Ohanaeze Elders Council, Kano State, Chief Uche Megwali also known as Ichie Okunwa told Rev Akukwe that “we heard that billions was received and shared by our leaders in the East. Ohanaeze Ndigbo Kano have not received any kobo from Jonathan or Ohanaeze leaders in Enugu. It is unfortunate that while our leaders are sharing money among themselves, it is northerners like the former Governor of Kano state, Mallam Shekarau and Senator Lado that visited the Igbo Community and assured us of our security, urging us to sit back and vote in the north”
The Chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Jigawa State Chapter, Rev Offodile Igwesi told Rev Akukwe that he witnessed the sharing of money to few in Enugu and yet he and his colleagues in the North were left stranded. Rev Igwesi added further that “though we want to mobilize and vote for Jonathan in Jigawa State, with the situation of things, it is fool hardy for anybody to endanger his life without proper mobilization. We like Jonathan but we may not mobilize for him without logistics”.
The Chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Bauchi State Chapter Mr Ede Joseph Okafor also told the leadership of Igbo Mandate Congress that it is unfortunate that Igbo leaders shared among themselves what Jonathan brought to help the entire Igbo mobilize and vote for his re-election. He told Rev Akukwe that “ Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Bauchi State is yet to receive any one naira in the form of mobilization from either Jonathan or Ohanaeze leaders who collected money. We are eager to mobilize support for Jonathan but without funds we cannot and may not do much”
The Chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Gombe State Chapter,Nze Joseph O Dilibe told Rev Akukwe that “ they collected and shared billions among themselves and they want us to use our urine to mobilize support for Jonathan. Our President must know that these Igbo Leaders have scammed him of millions and must go and recover his money from them”.
Expressing his views, the Vice Chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Kaduna State, Chief Emmanuel Chidi Okoro told Rev Akukwe and his team that “those in Kaduna are waiting for us to mobilize support and logistics so that they can sit back and campaign for Jonathan but the greedy disposition of these Igbo leaders in Ohanaeze National Secretariat is very alarming. Ohanaeze Ndigbo Kaduna State have not received any kobo from Jonathan or our leaders and we cannot use our personal funds to mobilize when billions was allegedly budgeted and shared”
Chief Akunne Ara Azikiwe, son of the first President of Nigeria, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe while calming the infuriated Ohanaeze Chapter Presidents from the north told Rev Akukwe that “it is very dangerous and sinful to corner what Jonathan released to mobilize Ohanaeze especially in the north. What happens if he cannot get the necessary 25 percent votes as a result of this act of greed”. He appealed to the protesting Ohanaeze leaders to maintain calm while other channels are opened.
Barrister Emejulu Okpalaukwu , Assistant National Publicity Sectary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, whose Executive Committee shared the controversial money begged the leaders of Ohanaeze in the North not to cast their votes for Buhari in protest. Barrister Emejulu who claimed that he was also disenfranchised from the sharing process because he insisted that Ohaneze im the North must be mobilized with both money and security to enable them to stay back and cast their votes, asked the protesting leaders to sacrifice their personal resources to help Jonathan win since the big money has been shared already and cannot be brought back.
Rev Akukwe and leaders of IMC were told that it took the intervention of former Inspector General of Police, Mr Mike Okiro, who hails from the South South region to calm the frays of the protesting Ohanaeze leaders in the North. The former Inspector General of Police who showed more sympathy for the fate of Ohaneze leaders in the North than fellow Igbo leaders, paid the hotel bills of some of the Presidents who converged in Abuja for the 3- day meeting.
The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Igariwey had earlier held a press conference in Enugu denying receiving N5 billion naira. Igariwey who was at Abuja over the weekend told concerned Igbo leaders who gathered at the residence of Ezeigbo of Abuja, Chief Ibe Nwosu, that he was not given up to that amount of money.