Evangelist Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, founder, Igbo Youth Movement (IYM) and secretary, Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA), has said the reason some individuals are currently bickering over the election of a new president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, is that they want to position themselves for 2023 presidential election.
Uko, in a statement on Tuesday, argued that for close to five decades, “Igbo elite and political class have unsuccessfully struggled to carry along the masses of Ndigbo along in the quest for group identity in Nigeria. Reason: because, they have been trading away the rights and future of Ndigbo for peanuts and crumbs for decades. Ndigbo and Igboland have suffered a great deal of neglect and denial, due to the greed and selfishness of Igbo leaders over the years.”
Uko’s statement is in response to the opposition that has trailed the emergence of Nigeria’s former ambassador to the United States, Israel and Cyprus, Professor George Obiozor as Ohanaeze president-general on Sunday in some quarters.
Some of the losing contestants had alleged fraud in the election process, while some went ahead to hold parallel election that produced a certain Chief Chidi Ibeh, a former commissioner in Imo State, factional president-general of the Igbo group in Enugu.
The IYM founder noted that Igbo elders and leadership cadre “consistently bungled every opportunity to earn the trust of the people, by greedily placing their self interest over and above group interest.
“Early in this new year 2021, they have not disappointed. Same old song of greed and endless internal squabbles.
“The election of officers into the Ohanaeze leadership, has once again exposed the selfishness and self centered attitude of the Igbo political and contractor class, that is largely responsible for the abysmal performance of Ndigbo in the power play in the larger Nigerian playing field.
“Mostly failed politicians creeping out of their crevices to aspire leading Ndigbo, probably after entering into discreet deals with their Northern masters, all for 2023 elections.”
He insisted that the, “First of all, all the sudden interest and bickering is purely about 2023 elections and not about the love of Ndigbo nor readiness or commitment to make sacrifices for Ndigbo.
“Secondly, most of the actors making noise are actually shameless vassals and agents of external political forces. Lastly, they should be told in no uncertain terms, to shut up and stop disturbing the peace of Igboland forthwith, as nobody is fooled by their nauseating pretentious shenanigans.”
Uko regretted that while the reasonable thing to do was to rally behind Obiozor, some have instead, decided to subject Ndigbo to ridicule for selfish reasons, noting that it is because of the attitude that Ohanaeze as an umbrella body of Ndigbo, is yet to earn the trust of the people.
“Ohanaeze has yet to earn the trust and confidence of the masses of Ndigbo. Ohanaeze is still work in progress. Ohanaeze has not become strong enough to withstand the sort of internal squabbles this pretenders are precipitating now,” he said.
“The most hurting of all, is the fact that the Igbo leaders battling for the control of the soul of Ohanaeze today, are almost certainly going to bungle the political chances of Ndigbo, as usual, come 2023, as they have never been able to ever get anything right in the past.
“Disturbing the peace of Igboland, bickering over Ohanaeze elections and splitting themselves into three factions of desperate political hustlers, is nauseating and a clear confirmation that they do not give a hoot about Igbo interest and Igbo unity.
“For decades, over 80% of Ndigbo have remained disappointed with and suspicious of Igbo leaders and their endless gambits, especially with the precarious condition of Ndigbo in Nigeria. Now same Igbo leaders who expect respect and support from the people, have broken Ohanaeze into 3 factions. What example are they setting for their children? Sad.
“The untidy and undignified desperation to lead Ndigbo, who by the way, remains the most disadvantaged people in Nigeria, tells so much about the Igbo elite club. Their inability to organise peaceful elections, sadly makes them unqualified to demand respect and following from the people. That they are desperately breaking into factions just for the sake of 2023 elections, confirms that Ndigbo are in big trouble. So unfortunate.
“It is disheartening to note that these elders seem unaware that the younger generation of Ndigbo are completely tired and frustrated with their self centered hustling that has brought Ndigbo only humiliation and disrespect.
“The time has come for the truth to be told. These grovelling and grumbling characters should kindly shut up and rally round the winner of the Owerri election. They should stop embarrassing Ndigbo. They must realise that Igbo masses are merely tolerating them and therefore, shouldn’t push their luck.”
“They ought to know that the only wise thing to do now is to place group interest above self interest and rally round Prof George Obiozor.
“Creating factions up and down and ruining the future of the younger generation in their insatiable greed for power, will definitely earn them the wrath of Igbo youths.
“They have held Igboland hostage for decades, same group are responsible for the sorry state of Ndigbo and Igboland. Obstinately trudging the path disorderlinese and chaos at this historic moment of Igbo renaissance and resurgence, may lead to unexpected consequences.
“This group of leaders must be told that they certainly have no divine rights to continue holding Igboland and Ndigbo down perpetually.
“Finally, nobody is begging them. They are rather, being ordered to shut up, if they know what is good for them and rally round the winner of the Owerri Ohanaeze elections, to prepare for the task ahead, unless ofcourse they have been pretending all along about their South East President Project and the restructuring agenda.
“They have wreaked enough havoc in Igboland, now they are gearing up to destroy the future of Igbo youths. They should take their time.
“The are trying hard to provoke Igbo youths, who are already seething with subdued anger. I may not be kind enough to warn the power mongers again. This statement serves as last warning.”