The apex organization of South East Igbos in Nigeria, the Ohaneze Ndigbo appears stuck in neutral over squabbles emanating from monies collected by the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo from the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebelemi Jonathan as gifts for the apex organization. This is as executive members and stakeholders of the Apex organization have charged that the monies collected on their behalf was collected without their knowledge – and that the monies were collected in exchange and/or in return for the endorsement of the organization.
For this reason, the internal administrative wheels of the Igbo Apex organization fell into a cantankerous quagmire.
Information available to 247ureports.com reveals the numerous visits by the President General, Ambassador Ralph Uwechue, to the Presidential villa in Abuja to meet with the President of Nigeria during the hay days of the 2011 presidential elections.
As gathered, the election of Ambassador Ralph Uwechue into the seat of President General saw the weighty influence of the then substantive President of the federal republic of the Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan into the affairs of the apex organization – exerted towards electing an Igbo person of Niger Delta extraction. [Ambassador Ralph Uwechue is from Delta State.] With President Jonathan’s weighted influence, Ambassador Ralph Uwechue, who not a frontrunner, emerged the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo.
Uwechue’s ascension immediately brought the expected desires of the presidency to the forefront. The President General began with frequent visits to the Aso Villa quarters for behind closed door meetings with the President. One of the President men who were present at one of the ‘behind the closed door’ meetings – revealed to the executive members of Ohaneze that during one of the visit to the villa – the Ohaneze Ndigbo was given N250million on behalf of the apex organization – in return for a blanket endorsement of President Jonathan – during the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] presidential primaries – a move that was considered awkward because the endorsement carried no significant towards the PDP primaries.
The competent source within the presidency pointed to the meeting held at the palace of Asagba in Asaba in Delta State on November 22, 2008 – where the Anioma delegation were instructed to hoist the person of Uwechue to the seat of President General. The source stated that the choice of Uwechue was met with stiff resistance by the stakeholders within the Ohaneze because Uwechue was reported to have never attended or showed interest in Ohaneze activities. Nonetheless, he was elected on November 29, 2008 unopposed after the two other candidates [Chief Dan Okenyi and Dr. Joshua Enueme] withdrew their candidacy on the eve of the Election Day.
“Between November 29 2008 and November 2012, Uwechue had audience with President Jonathan 20 times” said the source while confirming that during the visits large sums of money were handed to the President General that sums to a little over N5billion. He added that the President General approached the Presidency about the formation of Ohaneze Foundation – which he made the presidency believe was a venture under the auspices of Ohaneze Ndigbo – and so – was given significant financial support towards the startup of the foundation. With the formation of the foundation, the President General launched a transportation business – and purchased a slew of mini buses to ply the routes of Lagos to South East and from Abuja to South East – and other routes. However cursory investigation revealed that the foundation was setup as a private foundation belonging solely to Ambassador Ralph Uwechue – and not Ohaneze.
The proceeds of the transportation business – called Aka Ikenga Transport – are reported to go directly into the private coffers of the Ohaneze top boss under the said foundation. Ohaneze, the apex organization, according to the information gathered, does not have knowledge of the funds generated through the transport outfit.
Other business endeavors engaged by the Ohaneze top boss under the guise of representing Ohaneze extended to real estate investments – of which the Union of Ohaneze were not aware of – nor were they knowledgeable of the funds generated from the business outfits.
The recent election held in Enugu where a new President General was elected exposed the long hidden administrative maladies plaguing the apex organization. It was learnt that Ohaneze finances were in the red [empty] to the extent – Ohaneze as a body was not financially able to conduct the said election. It took the intervention of the Governor of Abia State, Chief Theodore A. Orji who released the sum of N2million to the organization.
Meanwhile, the revelation financial mischief on the part of the former top boss has since tossed the apex organization into turmoil – threatening to further sedation of the already sedated union. Its executive members have taken the matter to the courts for redress – while some within the stakeholder have called for the criminal prosecution of the former top boss.
Efforts to reach the former Ohaneze boss through his MTN line – failed – as he refused to respond to our inquires.