Like Professor Obiozor before him, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu is easily an exciting choice for the presidency of Igbo’s apex sociocultural organisation, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and given his age, experiences, contacts and admirable mien, leading Ndigbo should be a great way to enjoy his retirement from partisan politics.
A civil war veteran, one of the pioneers of the engineering profession in Nigeria, a great mentor to thousands of Igbo businessmen, politicians and professionals in different fields of endeavour, Ahaejiejemba is bold, audacious and patriotic, he is also one of the most understanding father figures anyone can come around and tap from his huge wealth of wisdom and reservoir of Igbo history and visions.
Iwuanyanwu has survived worse battles, undertaken greater adventures and led more audacious movements in Nigeria and for Ndigbo. While he might have sustained some bruises along the line, he has always come out stronger and victorious. Iwuanyanwu is undoubtedly one of the most successful Igbo men alive and one of its finest patriots. But, the present situation of Ohanaeze might kill him or demystify him, if he does not tread with a lot of care.
While many people believe that our inimitable Professor George Obiozor was literally killed the very day his house was set ablaze, I share the opinion that Ugwumba might have still being here with us if he hadn’t taken up the job of President-General of Ohanaeze, or if he served under a different crop of Ohanaeze NEC. Maybe, outside Ambassador Okey Emuchay, the Secretary-general and a few other men of integrity in the present Ohanaeze NEC, most of the others are mere traders and dealers, exploiting the Ohanaeze franchise for their inglorious and selfish interests.
Professor Obiozor was a thoroughbred diplomat, but I do not think that in all his previous engagements in leadership, he encountered the kind of characters he had to contend with in Ohanaeze. While the man sincerely worked to reposition Ohanaeze and to ensure that the best interest of Ndigbo is protected, many times he found himself having to battle to save Ohanaeze from itself, because most of the individuals with whom he served on the same NEC wouldn’t mind trading off the most fundamental Igbo interest for their own pecuniary gains.
Chief Iwuanyanwu is experienced and tough, but my fear is that with his age, and the kind of transactional characters that dominate Ohanaeze, he might be weighed down by the pressure of that office, in ways he never imagined. I know he loves Ala Igbo, and his decision to accept this call to service is not for anything else but for the service and advancement of Igbo interest, but he will soon find out that his greatest challenge in piloting Ndigbo to their desired goals will come from those who are supposed to be his co-pilots.
Like I stated earlier, Ambassador Okey Emuchay, maybe due to his education and training stands out. There could be a few other NEC members who are sincerely driven by a desire to serve Ala Igbo and not to advance their personal causes, but in my close to two years of following Ohanaeze closely, I have not found anyone more committed to the Igbo agenda and more repulsed at the many embarrassing outings of some Ohanaeze chieftains.
Ahaejiejemba should not also think that he can perform any magic to redeem Ohanaeze because Ohanaeze’s problems are numerous and intrinsic. For instance, it will be difficult to stop officials of Ohanaeze from going around politicians to beg money from politicians when most of them were attracted to Ohanaeze in the first place because of that, and when governors and other key Igbo leaders seem to have lost interest in Ohanaeze affairs, hence, unwilling to redeem their financial responsibilities to the organisation, it becomes difficult to ensure that officials receive their dues for whatever legitimate assignments they undertake for the organisation.
I wish Ahaejiejemba well in this very tasking assignment, but I will also urge him not to allow the pressure from some mercantile individuals within the organisation to weigh him down or break his heart. He should also not fail to do his best to clean up this very important organisation by insisting on the ideals and rules that guide Ohanaeze. That will be his greatest legacy to Ala Igbo at this point in our history.
NB; My colleagues at the youth wing will be very happy with this my offering on Ohanaeze issue, because they know it will motivate members of the parent NEC who might have been restrained in coming out against me, to wield the big stick, but those who know me well know that before I take any action, I consider its implications well, and on this, I can’t wait for the relief of what will be an illegal censure from the parent NEC.
MAY ALA IGBO WIN!