Igbo ecclesiastic fathers move to end Ohanaeze crisis

The Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops on Peace and Conflict Resolution have charged the Prof George Obiozor-led executive of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and other aggrieved parties in the crisis rocking the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation over its disputed January 10,  2021 election to give peace a chance.

The charge is contained in the reports of the religious leaders signed by the secretary of the group,  Most Rev. (Dr) Raphael Opoko, a copy of which was made available to Sunday Sun.

The Ecclesiastic fathers expressed disappointment over the crisis rocking the organisation, which they described as disturbing, calling for the withdrawal of all court cases related to the crisis.

The group which noted that it would be absurd for the Ecclesiastical fathers to be silent over the disunity in the pan-Igbo socio-cultural group said it is imperative that peace and unity returned to the organisation of Ndigbo, given the prevalent challenges facing the Igbo in today’s Nigeria.

The statement reads in part: “The Ecclesiastical fathers considered the disunity of Ohanaeze Ndigbo very disturbing in view of the many challenges facing our people and our land today. The nefarious activities of killer herdsmen, bandits, kidnappers, the so-called unknown gunmen, the disruption of our economic and social life caused by violence and fear, as well as the destruction of the youth by the dangerous drug ‘Mpuru mmiri’ and rising injustices against Ndigbo in Nigeria. These are the issues that a united and robust Ohanaeze should be addressing, in collaboration with the religious, traditional and political leaders of Ndigbo.”

The religious leaders, therefore, called on all parties involved in the crisis to abide the appeals made by the religious leaders to the warring parties in order to give peace a chance.

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The group recommended that, “all contending parties with court cases should withdraw such in line with our various appeals and their positive affirmations to act in consonance in order to avoid further disorientation among Ndigbo in these difficult and challenging times. The result of the 10 January 2021  election should be largely upheld.

“Nevertheless, to adopt a national leadership of unity and stabilization, it would be necessary to draw one person from each of the aggrieved parties for integration into the Obiozor-led executive. In doing this, effort should be made to maintain the spread of these positions among the different states as provided for by the constitution.

“ Where possible, very dignified positions and heads of standing committee of Ohanaeze could also be assigned either to competent persons from the aggrieved parties or to those currently  holding positions that may now be assigned…; consequently President-General will be drawn from Chidi Ibe led group, considering the touch from Rivers State, and Secretary-General from the group of contestants and with the touch from Abia State.

“In this regard, Barr, Uche Okwukwu, from Rivers State, of the Chidi Ibe Group becomes Deputy President-General, Prince  Okechukwu Nwadinobi of the Group of contestants and from Abia State becomes the Secretary-General.

“Steps should be taken immediately to review the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Constitution, so as to address the constitutional lapses that remotely occasioned the crisis, care has to be taken to exclude all political office holders from the governance of Ohanaeze. The Ecclesiastical fathers are ready to help in this all-important assignment.”

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