The January 2021 election of Ohaneze Ndigbo that has polarized the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization and led to the emergence of factional leaders has continued to generate reactions, controversies, accusations and counter accusations in several quarters, including the Association of South East Town Unions ASETU that has also lent it’s voice.
In a release dated February 12, 2021 signed by Chief Emeka Diwe and Gideon Adikwuru, National President and Secretary General, respectively, the group commended the dedication, preparedness and determination of the Igbos to take part in processes that will usher in reliable and genuine leadership that will ensure even development, security of lives and property to the outcome of the election.
The release averred that, “the much criticized election fell short of the expectations of the vast majority of Ndigbo at this critical point in time. The complaints that the electoral process was neither open, transparent nor participatory are not unfounded. There are also claims that the process violated the constitution of Ohaneze Ndigbo, including the constitutional provision that, “The Town Unions are the building blocks of Ohaneze” was not observed, as majority of the Town Unions reported that they were not carried along in the process.
In many instances, delegates to the election were reportedly handpicked, instead of chosen through congresses at the local levels. There was also lack of reasonable transparency in the electoral committee which made some of the aspirants withdraw from the race. The lists of delegates were allegedly not published for scrutiny as some aspirants said they were not availed the opportunity to know and interact with the delegates. Some members of the Electoral Committee also felt sidelined from the conduct of the election.”
ASETU further noted that, the aforementioned short comings negatively affected the credibility of the election, hence parallel elections were held, leading to the emergence of multiple Presidents General of Ohaneze Ndigbo. “Several cases contesting the outcome of the election have also been filed in court. This underscores the need to have transparent and credible elections that carry both the aspirants and the electorate as stipulated in the constitution of Ohaneze”.
ASETU maintained that, “though the reported shortcomings are undeniable, however, in the interest of the Igbo nation and in recognition of the threats we presently face, and urgently need to address, we appeal to everyone and all aggrieved parties to sheathe their swords and come together to chart a way forward. “We can’t throw away the baby with the bath water as that will be abominable.”