By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has rejected the 40-man electoral committee adopted for the forthcoming election of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo leadership.
In a statement issued by his media office yesterday, the former Governor of Anambra State dismissed the list announced on Sunday by the Ohanaeze President General, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, as “being full of active practicing politicians who are card carrying members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).”
Ngige also described the list as a product of non-inclusive process, overtly partisan and incapable of delivering an election that will be credible and acceptable to all.
“The non-consultation of all critical stakeholders in the composition of the nominees from different states weakens its credibility and may jeopardise integrity of the electoral outcome.
“In Anambra State for instance, key stakeholders were not all consulted leading to a skewed process that threw up politicians, who were leaders in the campaign organization of a presidential candidate in 2019 general election and who has made no disguise of his intention to re-contest.
“I was for example not consulted just like some other critical stakeholders in the selection process as a former governor and senator from Anambra who has been making immense contributions to reposition the Ohanaeze Ndigbo since 1991 .
“I am due and qualified as a former governor, former senator and a sitting two-time minister, to be consulted during the selection process of members of the electoral committee from Anambra State.
“Apart from the offices I held in the past and the one that I am holding today, I have remained a prominent player in Igbo affairs; leading Aka Ikenga as President from 1991 to 1997 and serving as a member of Imeobi from 1992 as President of Aka Ikenga and till date, having been a Governor of Anambra State. So, I deserve to be consulted before any decision is taken in Ohanaeze.
“Go through the list and see the same politicians who transversed the country with presidential candidates, canvassing for votes . We hitherto complained of their misbehaviour and today, they are being empaneled to conduct election for Ohanaeze. This is clearly a job for those without political party affiliation. There are so many whose qualification fall into such categorization and good enough for the job,” Ngige said.
“For the fact that I and other critical stakeholders were not consulted, the list did not pass the crucible of proper selection and should therefore be rejigged and a proper consultation of Imeobi done before the inauguration of members. Any persons with serious political affiliations to any of the political parties-major or minor-should be severed out of the list and replaced with non-partisan Ohanaeze stalwarts.”
Ngige, who earlier raised this objection at the Imeobi meeting on Sunday, blamed Nwodo for allowing a political party’s card-carrying members, who are conspicuously associated with known presidential aspirants and big party actors to make the list of the electoral committee to select a new leadership for the apex Igbo organisation in all the states and the national.
Ngige, however, agreed with the resolution at the Imeobi meeting that elder statesman, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu mediate between his position and Nwodo’s over the grey areas in the list within the shortest possible time.