President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday congratulated Chief John Nwodo on his election as the President-General of the pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President said Nwodo was eminently qualified for the job given his long years of distinguished service to the nation.
He recalled that Nwodo was a minister of civil aviation in the Second Republic under President Shehu Shagari and the Minister of information and Culture during the administration of Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd).
The statement read, “As Chief Nwodo prepares to settle down with his team to implement his vision for Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the President appeals to Ndigbo as well as the wider community of Nigerians to support the new leadership to fulfil their mandate in these challenging times.
“President Buhari looks forward to working with the new leadership, and assures Ohanaeze Ndigbo that his administration will continue to be a partner in progress in implementing suggestions, measures and programmes to advance the unity, development and prosperity of Nigeria.
“The President wishes the Chief Nwodo-led Ohanaeze Ndigbo a peaceful and prosperous tenure.”
Other members of the new Ohanaeze Ndigbo National Executive Committee, following the Wednesday election, are Mr. Hilary Opara, Deputy President-General; Mr. Uche Okwukwu, Secretary-General; Dr. Solomon Ogunji, Deputy Secretary-General; Mr. Emeka Ogwu, National Treasurer; Mr. Charles Odunukwe, Vice-President, Anambra; Dr. Sylvester Ebigwei, Vice-President, Delta; Prof. Chigozie Ogbu, Vice President, Ebonyi; Onuoha Udeka, Vice-President, Abia; and Prince Igo Okpalanma, Vice-President, Rivers.
Others are Chief Eric Ebeh, Assistant National Treasurer; Mr. Alphonsus Duru, Financial Secretary; Chris Eluomunoh, Assistant Financial Secretary; Mr. Uche Ani, Publicity Secretary; Mr. Charles Ibegbu, Assistant Publicity Secretary; Chief Chuks Momah, (SAN), National Legal Adviser; and Mr. Okeagu Ogada, National Assistant Legal Adviser.
Meanwhile, the Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, also on Wednesday hailed the election of Nwodo, saying it would work with Ohanaeze Ndigbo and other ethnic nationalities to rescue Nigeria from the brink of economic collapse and disintegration.
The organisation, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, also congratulated the new President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nwodo, on his election, urging him to “quickly settle down for business and set its agenda for the crucial contribution of Ndigbo to our search for nationhood.”
He said the need to rescue the country became necessary because “we cannot pretend that all is well.”
He also said, “Nigeria is fast disappearing before our very eyes and it is only those who do not care about where all this would end that can afford to pretend that we should continue the way we are.”
In his reaction to the emergence of the new Ohanaeze leadership, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, also hailed the election of Nwodo as the President-General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
Ekweremadu described Nwodo as “a cerebral intellectual with well-established contacts across Nigeria and beyond.”
A statement by the Special Adviser (Media) to the deputy president of the Senate, Uche Anichukwu, on Wednesday quoted Ekweremadu as saying that the new Ohanaeze leader was capable of helping the Igbo to regain lost ground.
He said, “I congratulate Chief Nnia Nwodo and his team on their emergence. I have confidence in their ability to further reposition the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation and relaunch Ndigbo to a higher reckoning in the country, while also working with other parts of the nation for the overall development of Nigeria.”
Similarly, the Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, congratulated Nwodo and urged him to deploy his wealth of knowledge to make sure that Ohanaeze Ndigbo lived up to its objectives.
He said, “With the outcome of the Enugu election, one can conveniently vouch that the future is very bright for Ndigbo both at home and in the Diaspora and that Ndigbo would not have made better choices than the personalities that emerged in Enugu.”
Okorocha assured Nwodo and his team of the cooperation of the governors in the South-East and added that the unity of the Igbo, including their leaders, should be strengthened.