*They are saboteurs and persons of no pedigree – Ohanaeze chieftain
By Ralph Christopher
The last may not have been heard on the crisis rocking the apex Igbo socio-cultural body, the Ohaneze Ndigbo, as the splinter group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly Worldwide, had asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] to disband, investigate and prosecute the Chief John Nnia Nwodo-led Ohanaeze Ndigbo for allegedly operating an illegal association.
In a letter dated November 24th, 2020 which was made available to The AUTHORITY, the Acting Chairman of the EFCC was further urged to demand for the account details of the Nwodo-led group as well as the account of the previous leaders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
The was written about 40 days after the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) reinstated the Certificate of Registration of Incorporated Trustees of Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly (ONGA) with original registration No. 144918 of February 28, 2020 under the leadership of Basil Onyeachonam Onuorah, which the Registrar General of CAC in a widely advertised notice said he had withdrawn.
The action of the CAC provided ground for speculation that the activities of the new body were under some sort of influence, especially as several influential Igbo man and woman has stoutly condemned their action as capable of creating tension and unnecessary division in Igbo land.
However Barr. Amobi Nzelu, counsel for the petitioners, alleged in the petition that the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo has been collecting undisclosed sums of money “from individuals, governors and highly exposed political personalities”.
The leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo said they would not react to a letter that has not been brought to their notice, but asked our correspondent to conduct due diligence on if there is any difference between Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the “so-called Ohaneze Ndigbo General Assembly Worldwide”.
According to a highly placed Ohanaeze chieftain who did not want to be named for now, “both the activities of Amobi Nzelu and the promoters of the splinter group, including Kelly Nkeli Nzekwe, are mundane and akin to actions by small children who undressed their father in public not knowing they have invariably killed and disgraced themselves”.
He described them as saboteurs who have no pedigree and who are being sponsored to bring disaffection to the amity and unity among Ndigbo, asking the general public not to be distracted by the “highly pollutant noise being caused by these impostors and interlopers”.
Nzelu had in the letter asked the EFCC to “arrest, interrogate and prosecute the principal officers of Ohaneze Ndigbo”, both present and past “for running an illegal association” and for alleged monies they claimed were collected by them.
Copies of the petition was sent to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), the National Security Adviser (NSA), the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Director-General Department of State Security (DSS) and governors of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Delta, Imo and Rivers states.
The splinter group insisted that Ohanaeze Ndigbo, not being a duly-registered body with the CAC, “is an illegal association and cannot transact any business” anywhere in the country.
The same petition against Nwodo was sent to the Director-General of Department of State Services (DSS) and governors of core Igbo speaking states of Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers.
They stated: “The Ohanaeze Ndigbo, led by Chief John Nnia Nwodo, has no certificate of incorporation and as such is an entity unknown to law. The only reasonable deduction for the group being unregistered is that it is an illegal body and all her activities null and void”, adding that “the monies collected by the said association were collected illegally and this has brought the action of the said association within the threshold of financial crime which must be investigated.
“In a country like ours, to allow someone or a group of people to operate an illegal association of such a magnitude smacks of impunity and no matter how long they have been in existence, same cannot confer legitimacy on the association and its activities.”
Nzelu stated that it was the discovery that Ohanaeze Ndigbo was not a registered entity that the Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly (ONGA) was incorporated, registered and was issued Certificate of Incorporation No. 144918 dated February 28, 2020.