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By Emmanuel NzomiwuAn alleged cash gift during a recent visit by leaders of the pan-Igbo socio-political organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, to Aso Rock for a parley with President Goodluck Jonathan has reportedly sparked off a controversy.
Members of the high-powered delegation of the group who met with the President behind closed doors for about five hours are now said to be engaged in cold war following disagreement on how to share the N40 million gift from the seat of power.
Top Federal Government officials who were with the President during the meeting with Ohanaeze officials include Vice President Namadi Sambo, Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim, and Chief of Staff to the President, Mike Ogiadhome.
On the other hand, notable names on the Ohanaeze delegation included the President-General, Gary Igariwey, Secretary-General, Joe Nwaorgu, two former Presidents-General, Dozie Ikedife and Joe Irukwu, Allison Madueke, Uche Azikiwe, T.U. Nwala, Anya O. Anya, Goodly Uwazuruike, Ralph Uwazuruike and A.B.C Nwosu.
Others were Ben Obi, Hope Uzodimma and Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Maria Okwor, Eze Cletus Ilomuanya, O.A.U. Onyema, Eze Eberechi Dick, and Kate Ezeofor.
Some top Igbo businessmen were also on the Ohanaeze delegation.
Another South East based group, Concerned Igbo Patriots (CIP), alleged on Tuesday that the current leadership of the Ohanaeze may have started trading with Ndigbo interest again like their predecessors with the secret visit to Aso Rock.
Indeed, the group claimed in a text message to Daily Independent that a scuffle broke out during the sharing of the booty from Aso Rock.
It alleged that the delegation received N30 million from the Presidency and another N10 million from Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, in appreciation for the solidarity Ohanaeze showed her during her ordeal over the N255 million bulletproof jeep saga.
The CIP argued that the delegation to Aso Rock was a faction of Ohanaeze under Gary Igariwe, just as it kicked against Eze Cletus Ilomuanya leading Igbo traditional rulers to such a meeting.
“They will sell Ndigbo as Uwechue did. Prof. Ben Nwabueze is the Igbo spokesman to the National Conference,” the message stated.
However, when contacted, Secretary General of the Ohanaeze, Nwaorgu, dismissed the alleged cash gifts to the delegation as “a fabrication by faceless scary minds, which does not worth my comment”.
Nwaorgu said Ohanaeze went to Aso Rock on Monday last week to commiserate with the President on three deaths – his brother, mother-in-law and a leader of Ijaw National Conference.
“We used the opportunity to discuss issues affecting Ndigbo in Nigeria. We talked about soil erosion in the South-East, Second Niger Bridge, and agriculture, federal roads, industrial clusters and electricity.
“And we are happy with the answers the President gave us. We also told him that we are in support of the national conference,” he said.
Nwaogu insisted that the issue of supporting the President in the 2015 general elections never came up at the meeting.
On the possible delegation to the proposed national dialogue, he disclosed Ohanaeze has reserved a role for Nwabueze, its former Secretary-General, although it would not be made public now, adding that they recognised his potentials as a renowned constitutional lawyer.
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