A former Minister of Information, Nnia Nwodo, was on Tuesday elected the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex socio-political organisation of the Igbo.
Nwodo got 242 votes, to defeat his opponent, Prof. Chinweite Ejike, a former Vice-Chancellor of Enugu State University of Science and Technology, who got 13 votes.
Two other candidates, Prof. Simon Otuanya and Chief Joel Ezeugwu, stepped down for Nwodo at the last minute.
A former Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Allison Madueke, who was believed to be in the race, did not participate in the election.
Our correspondent gathered that Nwodo’s endorsement by the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, played a major role in his emergence as the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
Ugwuanyi, an Nsuka man like Nwodo, threw his weight behind the ex-Information minister after it was announced that the position of President-General had been zoned to Enugu State.
Ugwuanyi had explained that when he was informed that the position of the President-General was zoned to Enugu, he called a meeting of the stakeholders in the state, where it was decided that the slot would be given to the Nsukka people of Enugu North Senatorial Zone.
According to the governor, the decision was based on the fact that Enugu West Senatorial Zone had taken a shot at the post in the past, while Enugu East Senatorial Zone held the leadership position of the state chapter of Ohanaeze Ndigbo at the time.
However, our correspondent learnt that the government’s decision to endorse Nwodo did not go down well with stakeholders from the other two senatorial zones, Enugu West and Enugu East.
It was also learnt that the state’s delegates at the election met with Ugwuanyi at the Government House on Monday, where they were allegedly instructed to vote for Nwodo.
Nwodo succeeded Chief Gary Igariwey, who bowed out as the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, after serving for four years.
Nwodo, a brother of a former Governor of Enugu State, Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo, was a special assistant to former President Shehu Shagari, and also served as the Minister of Information and Culture during the administration of Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.) from 1998 to 1999.
The influence of the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, also allegedly contributed to the emergence of Chief Hilary Opara as the Deputy President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
It was learnt that a similar scenario played out in the emergence of Mr. Uche Okwukwu from Rivers State, as the Secretary-General of the organisation.
It was gathered that Okwukwu was backed by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, in the election.
Before the election, an elder statesman and a former Secretary-General of Ohanaeze, Prof. Ben Nwabueze (SAN), had kicked against the ‘imposition’ of candidates by ‘godfathers’ during the poll.