The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, on Sunday accused Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and Second Republic Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, of being behind the leadership crisis rocking the body, with the sole intention of destabilising the South-east zone ahead of the presidential election.
Briefing journalists at the organisation’s secretariat at GRA, Enugu, the President-General, Chief Gary Igariwey, reaffirmed the endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan for a second term in office.
Igariwey who described those parading themselves as members of the Caretaker Committee of Ohanaeze Ndigbo led by first Republic Minister of Aviation, Amaechi as “impersonators,” noted that the tenure of the present executives would last till January 2017.
He said both Amaechi and others also parading themselves as Chairman and members of the Organisation’s Elders’ Council were deceiving the public.
He expressed dismay that some Igbo leaders allowed themselves to be used by “those who do not wish us well,” explaining that those who are being used as instruments to foment trouble were doing that for pecuniary interest.
“A day before Ohanaeze endorsed Jonathan, Okorocha met those impersonators. He is the main sponsor of the crisis with the aim of causing disaffection among our people. They think they are disgracing Igariwey but let them bear in mind that what they are doing is a disgrace to the Igbo nation.
“On what basis was the governor meeting with them; he even alleged that we were given N5 billion to endorse the president; that’s a sweeping accusation and we intend to take it up at the appropriate time,” he said.
While describing Amaechi and members of his group as “anti-Igbo,” Igariwey said their major game-plan was to set up a platform so as to collect money for “their own form of endorsement,” describing as unfortunate, a situation where supposed Igbo leaders are being used to destabilise their own land.
“This people don’t even have regard for the law. We have a valid court order retraining them from parading themselves but they don’t care. This nation at present is having serious security challenge and every socio-cultural group is taking steps to protect their own people, while our people are busy sabotaging our course,” he said.
He alleged that it was his inability to meet up with the monetary demands of Amaechi and members of the Ohanaeze Reparation Committee that first sparked off the initial crisis before the All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders through Okorocha came in to take advantage of the situation.
“Are you not surprised that all the people who claim to be members of the caretaker committee are also members of the reparation committee? Because, we couldn’t give them money, they came up with the issue of tenure, when they clearly know we have a four-year tenure which was ratified by the same people during Ambassador Raph Uwechue’s tenure.
“At a point, some of them even started suggesting that we should use the money we got from the National Conference to fund their committee; that will tell you the extent they went. The whole issue is about money,” he alleged.
“I want to be old but definitely not Amaechi’s type of old age, where I will become so beggarly. Old people should be statesmen and not being r by their conduct,” he said.
On the endorsement of President Jonathan, the President-General said all the necessary steps were taken before the final decision was reached.
He said it would have been “cowardly” for the organisation to sit on the fence when other groups including Arewa Consultative Forum and Afenifere had made their positions known.
“Our leadership is working closely with all the bodies that make up the organisation including Ndigbo Lagos, Aka Ikenga, Igbo Delegates’ Assembly and the Council of Traditional Rulers and they all endorse our decision. Ask the other group to point at a single Eze with them. They should stop belittling us,” he said.
While urging Igbos living in some parts of the North not to be jittery about a possible post-election violence, Igariwey warned that they would no longer tolerate further killings of the Igbos at the slightest provocation in any part of the country.