By Victor Nwachukwu
Prof. George Obiozor, former Nigerian Ambassador to the US, Israel and Cyprus, has emerged as the new President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, a pan-Igbo cultural organisation.
Obiozor, 78, polled 304 votes to defeat his closest and only rival, Mr Valentine Oparaocha, who scored 15 votes, in the election, held at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, on Sunday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that three other contestants, Ezechukwunyere Nwebo, Uju Okoro and Goddy Uwazuruike, had stepped down at the election venue, just before the process began, and urged their supporters to back Obiozor.
Similarly, the trio of Chidi Osuagwu, Chris Asoluka and Dr Joe Nworgu, who had all picked nomination forms, failed to return them and thus did not participate in the process.
Announcing the results, the Chairman of the Electoral Committee, Prof Gary Igariwe, said : ” With the power vested on me as the returning officer, I hereby declare that Prof George Obiozor, having scored the highest number of votes, is hereby declared winner and president of Ohaneeze Ndigbo “.
Igariwe said the committee adopted the open process of Option A4 for the election, to ensure transparency and credibility.
Other positions which were contested for with their winners included, Deputy PG won by Mr Obi Nwali, unopposed, and Secretary General, Mr Okey Egbuche.
Others were: Treasurer General, Mrs Beatrice Eze, Financial Secretary, Mr Bartholomew Okere and National Publicity Secretary, Mr Tony Ezekwesili.
NAN reports that seven states participated in the process, namely: Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers, in addition to delegates from affiliate Igbo bodies in the diaspora.
Notable personalities that graced the event included, governors of Ebonyi and Imo, Chief Dave Umahi and Sen. Hope Uzodinma, respectively, Dr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, his Science and Technology counterpart, and Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)
Also present were: Chief Adolphus Wabara, a former Senate President, Sen. Sam Egwu, representing Ebonyi North, and Sen. Osita Izunaso, former senator representing Imo west, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, former Imo governor, speakers of Houses of Assembly and a host of other government functionaries from the South East zone.