PAN-cultural Igbo umbrella body Ohaneze Ndigbo has elected a former Nigerian ambassador Professor George Obiozor as its new president following its annual general meeting which took place at Owerri yesterday.
Professor Obiozor, 78, a former Nigerian ambassador to the US, Israel and Cyprus, emerged victorious with 304 votes to defeat his and only rival, Valentine Oparaocha, who scored 15 votes. At the election, which held at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, three other contestants, Ezechukwunyere Nwebo, Uju Okoro and Goddy Uwazuruike, had stepped down just before voting began and urged their supporters to back Professor Obiozor.
Also, 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 election process. Professor Gary Igariwe, the chairman of the electoral committee, said they 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 president won by Obi Nwali, unopposed and the position of secretary general won by Okey Egbuche. Also elected were Beatrice Eze as treasurer, Mr Bartholomew Okere as financial secretary and Tony Ezekwesili as publicity secretary.
Seven states participated in the process, with Igbo groups in Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers states all being involved. In addition delegates from affiliate Igbo bodies in the diaspora also voted.
Dignitaries that graced the event included governors of Ebonyi and Imo states Chief Dave Umahi and Senator Hope Uzodinma, labour minister Dr Chris Ngige, science and technology minister Dr Ogbonnaya Onu and Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu. Also present were Chief Adolphus Wabara, a former senate president and Senator Sam Egwu, the lawmaker representing Ebonyi North Senatorial District.
Also in attendance were Senator Osita Izunaso the one-time lawmaker representing Imo West Senatorial District and Chief Ikedi Ohakim, a former Imo State governor. Speakers of the Houses of Assembly of the seven states and a host of other government functionaries from across the southeast geo-political zone were also there.