Strengthening Ogbonna Aguene-Led Ohanaeze Ndigbo In Lagos

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Chief Aguene

The pan-Igbo socio-political association, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos State has been going through a leadership crisis. However, the embattled President, Chief Solomon Ogbonna Aguene said he is determined to steady the ship of the organisation. ROLAND OGBONNAYA write

The President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos State, Chief Solomon Ogbonna Aguene, can be described as the proverbial cat with nine lives. He said he has been harassed and even escaped assassination attempts after some armed men, suspected to be thugs, trailed him to an Igbo function in the Egan area of the Lagos State.

Chief Aguene went for the chieftaincy coronation organised by the new Chairman of the Council of traditional rulers, Eze Lawrence Nnamdi Eze, on Prophetess Adaobi Favour Ojiakor on Saturday and the suspected armed men stormed the venue. However, by Divine intervention, just five minutes after Chief Aguene left the venue of the event with his entourage, the armed men reportedly stormed the place.

The embattled President Aguenne said his problem started with the annulment of 2017 elections conducted by the National body of  Ohanaeze Worldwide that led to protracted litigation in the State, which a Lagos State High Court extended the tenure of his leadership of the organisation. This did not go well with some interested members of the organisation, especially those who have been eyeing the position.

The former President of Ohanaeze, Dr. Femi Ferguson, had argued that Chief Aguene did not extend his tenure in office as President of Ohanaeze against insinuation by some people. He explained that he was a party to the suit with two other persons, who went to the High Court over the cancellation of their election by Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, which conducted another election and Aguene emerged in 2018. He explained that Aguene was joined in the suit but he called for peace, which led to the Consent Judgment that led to his emergence as the accepted President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos State.

He said that he supported Aguene because he has brought some innovation to Ohanaeze and touched the lives of many members through his contacts and that is why Ndigbo are following. With the consent judgment pronounced by the Lagos State High Court dated 12th April 2022, Chief Solomon Ogbonna will now spend the next four years as the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos State.

In the suit filed in 2018 before the Ikeja High Court over the annulment of Ohanaeze Ndigbo election,  Lagos State, by a faction led by Chief Mike Chidedelu on behalf of his group against Chief Solomon Ogbonna’s faction, asking the Court to reinstate and recognise his faction, was finally resolved with terms of settlement as consent judgment before the Court.

Parts of the judgment include, apart from Chief Solomon Ogbonna, who was retained as the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos State, other Executive members elected with him were dissolved and a fresh election was ordered for the vacant positions by the Court.

The Court also ordered that the factions be merged and they were eligible to contest for the elective positions that were declared vacant for the conduct of the election as announced by the President, Chief Solomon Ogbonna. The Court further directed that the Electoral Committee set up by Chief Solomon Ogbonna and led by Chief Oliver Akubueze be retained and conduct the election for both the Local Government and State Executives with the bylaws of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos State.

This was confirmed by Chief Solomon Aguenne, who expressed delight that peace has finally returned to Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos State, through his efforts to bring the Igbo together in the State. He explained to Saturday INDEPENDENT that since he was elected as President, he has been going to Court and many factions came up but he was able to resolve and make peace that led to the consent judgment at the Court.

He stated that Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Lagos State will be stronger now since all the factions have finally come together under one body led by him. He explained that elections will be conducted later after they must have embarked on harmonisation to accommodate everyone, which he will announce.

On the purported impeachment, Chief Aguenne stated that there was nothing like impeachment but noted that when he was conducting the Ohanaeze General meeting, some miscreants, wanted the crisis to remain in Ohanaeze. He urged the Igbo to be law abiding and continue to identify and support the Lagos State Government and promised that he will continue to lead the Igbo in Lagos State with transparency and accountability.

In the same vein, Dr. Femi Ferguson confirmed that the factions have merged and stated that the peace was achieved through the efforts made by Chief Solomon Aguenne because of his honesty and sincerity, which led to the consent judgment. He explained that the judgment was binding and was happy that peace has returned to Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos State.

He enjoined all Igbo to support Chief Solomon Ogbonna, who he described as a good leader that really wants to move Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos State to the next levels of achievement.

Aguene has taken a further decisive steps in uniting the Igbo by collapsing all Igbo political groups into Ohanaeze Political Forum inaugurated recently led by Chief Chris Ekwilo. The decision tallied with Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos State comprising the Supreme Council of traditional rulers’ a.k.a Ezendigbo in the State, to forestall what had happened in the past where all manners of characters will be parading themselves as political leaders but in the real sense pursuing their selfish interests.

The four groups, which initially came together to form Igbo in APC were United Coalition led by Chief Chris Ekwilo, Mandate led by Chief Anselm Udoka, Vision led by Babatata Uche and Southeast as represented by Chief (Lady) Ann Ogwueleka.

The leaders of the groups, who were mainly the political actors in Igbo APC, have since agreed and collapsed their structure, into Ohanaeze Ndigbo Political Forum with Chief Chris Ekwilo emerging as Chairman, Chief Udoka, Deputy Chairman, Chief Smart Onyia as Secretary, Chief Solomon Chukwu, Treasurer, Chief Babatata Uche as Organizing Secretary while Lolo Chinyere Fanorot the Women Leader and others.

This was confirmed by the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos State, Chief Solomon Aguene, who explained that Ohanaeze was apolitical and so there was a need to create the political wing, which will be handling political matters on behalf of Ndigbo in Lagos State.

He said in the past, some characters will present themselves as Igbo leaders presenting videos and photographs that they have followers which were false, arguing that Ohanaeze Ndigbo has given the directive and there has been total compliance as the political actors have accepted the decision and have come together under one umbrella.

Aguenne stated that any individual or group that goes contrary to the decision will not be recognised by Ndigbo and the appropriate authorities including Lagos State Government will be notified on the decision so that they will know who to deal with in the future.

The Chairman of the Political Forum, Chief Ekwilo stated that Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos State has spoken and there has been total compliance with the directive. He explained that the implications of the decision are that Igbo in APC, which comprised of four groups namely Coalition, Mandate, Vision, and Southeast has been collapsed under Ohanaeze Ndigbo Political Forum and the Igbo are now united to speak with one voice.

He explained that the Forum will accommodate everyone and he will pioneer the affairs of the forum with every sense of honesty, transparency, and integrity under the supervision of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos State led by Chief Aguene.

For now, the consensus among the members is that Aguene should be given the chance to steady the ship of the organisation for the good of the members.

  • Saturday INDEPENDENT

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