The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has rejected the 40-man electoral committee for the election of the new Ohanaeze Ndigbo leaders.
The former Governor of Anambra State dismissed the list announced on Sunday by the Ohaneze President-General, John Nwodo, as “being full of active practicing politicians who are card-carrying members of the Peoples Democratic Party.”
In a statement by his media office in Abuja on Monday, titled, ‘Ngige rejects Ohanaeze electoral committee list,’ the minister 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.”
He said, “The non-consultation of all critical stakeholders in the composition of the nominees from different states weakens its credibility and may jeopardize 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 elections 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.”
Ngige insisted that he deserved to be consulted, having held various offices and being “a prominent player in Igbo affairs.”
He added, “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 deserved to be consulted before any decision is taken in Ohanaeze.”
The minister further accused the commitee members of misconduct, stressing that the job of birthing new leaders for the apex Igbo socio-cultural group was for those without party affiliation.
He stated, “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.”
Ngige , however, agreed with the resolution at the Imeobi meeting that elder statesman, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu should mediate between his position and Nwodo’s over the grey areas in the list within the shortest possible time.