As part of the build up to the Ohaneze Ndigbo National Elections scheduled to hold on Tuesday, 10th January, 2016 at the organization’s National Secretariat in Enugu, state elections were conducted 7th January, 2016 in the seven ohaneze states.
In Enugu State, the election was conducted at the Ohaneze secretariat by Chief Eric Ebe, the outgoing State President in his capacity as the chairman of the state’s Ohaneze General Assembly.
The election was however monitored by members of the National Election Committee led by Prof A.B.C. Nwosu, a one time minister of health, who is chairman of the state’s election committee. Other members of the committee include Chief Dubem Onyia (Former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs), Chief James Ikeyi,SAN, Dr Mrs Selina Ugwuoke-Adibuah (Outgoing National Financial Secretary), Lolo Kate Ezeofor (President, Umuada Igbo),etc
In his valedictory speech, the outgoing President, Chief Ebe listed some of his achievements, urging the incoming executives to continue his laudable programs. “ My admi nistration did much to promote Igbo language & culture. They said Igbo language will go extinct but with our efforts that will not be the case. We observed that in some schools, students are punished for speaking Igbo and we stopped it. Also, we were able to get the Enugu State House of Assembly to set aside a day when they conduct their sitting in Igbo language. However, I don’t know if they still do that”
According to him, his other achievement in office includedthe successful hosting of the first ever Iwa Ji ceremony by any state chapter of Ohaneze.
Thereafter, the election commenced in an orderly manner. However, it was more or less a family affair since no two persons contested for any of the offices. Apparently, the aspirants were able to harmonize their interests ahead of the election proper. That notwithstanding, the process of conducting the election was still followed.
As such, the presiding officer called for contestants for each office. In the election for theoffice of President which was zoned to Enugu West, Hon Chief Alex Ogbonna from Awgu Local Government was the only contestant. However, he won overwhelmingly as all the delegates present , numbering 62 persons voted for him with none voting against him. Consequently, he was declared elected as the President-elect, Ohaneze, Enugu State. The other members of the 19 man executive were equally elected by affirmation. They include Prof Frederick Eze from Udenu Local Government, (Deputy President), Chief Sam Okonkwo from Nkanu West Local Government (Secretary), Oliver Odenigbo from Uzo-Uwani Local Government (Assistant Secretary), Fidelis Ojobor from Igbo-Eze North Local Government (Treasurer), Sir Ignatius Achu from Ezeagu Local Government (Assistant Treasurer), Obinna Onyia from Udi Local Government (Financial Secretary), Damian Obisi from Nkanu East Local Government (Assistant Financial Secretary),Nnaji Celestine from Enugu South Local Government (Organizing Secretary), Okolo Godwin from Enugu East Local Government (Publicity Secretary), Kevin Chukwu from Aninri Local Government (Assistant Publicity Secretary), Ede Chukwuma from Isiuzo Local Government (Legal Adviser), Ezeugwu Ben from Nsukka Local Government (Assistant Legal Adviser). Others include Ephraim Oluedo from Oji River Local Government (Assistant Organizing Secretary), Prof Fab Onah Obeta from Igbo-Eze South Local Government (Auditor), Agbowo Romanus from Nkanu East Local Government (Ex-Officio, East), Ede Livinus Uche from Igbo-Etiti Local Government (Ex-Officio, North) and Anyaene Kenneth Chukwuma Local Government (Ex-Officio, West).
However, one noticeable feature of the newly elected executive committee of Ohaneze Enugu State was its lack of gender balance as there was no single woman among the 19 officers elected. While reacting to that, the outgoing National Financial Secretary and a long standing member of Ohaneze- Dr Mrs Selina Ugwoke-Adibuah expressed her displeasure over the development, “ I complained once I observed that but I was told that the women would be compensated through chairmanship of committees”.
In his acceptance speech, the newly elected President, Ohaneze Enugu State, Hon Chief Alex Chiedozie Ogbonnia thanked all present for the opprtunity given him and his executives to serve. “ I thank all of you for this opportunity given us to serve. I assure the outgoing excos that we shall double their achievements”.
Chief Ogbonnia, a lecturer and a one time state legislator under IBB’s short lived 3rd Republic was also elated at the calibre of people who graced the occasion, “ Let it be said that Prof ABC Nwosu, who is not just a professor but a first class professor of parasitology was present at my election. Let it be said that Chief Dubem Onyia, a consummate politician and a former minister of state for foreign affairs was present at my election”
He also pledged that the Enugu state executive committee of Ohaneze under his watch shall work harmoniously with other state chapters as well as the national body.
The newly elected executives are expected to be formally inaugurated on 12th January, 2017.