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Igbo leaders, including the five governors of the South East states, have unanimously adopted and subsequently inaugurated Chief Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Iwuanyanwu, as the new President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide.
The decision was reached after a closed-door meeting of members of Ohanaeze Imeobi with the governors and other Igbo leaders held at the state-of-the-art Banquet Hall, Enugu, newly constructed by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration.
The meeting had in attendance Governor Ugwuanyi, Prof. Charles Soludo of Anambra State, and the Deputy Governors of Abia, Ebonyi and Imo states, Rt. Hon. Ude Oko Chukwu, Dr. Kelechi Igwe and Prof. Placid Njoku, who represented their governors.
Other Igbo leaders at the event included former governors of Imo and Anambra States, Chief Ikedi Okakim and Mr. Peter Obi; former President of the Senate, Chief Adolphus Wabara; Governor-elect of Enugu State, Dr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah; Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Amb. Okey Emeuche; former Presidents General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Gary Enwo Igariwey, and Chief John Nnia Nwodo; and wife of the first President of Nigeria, Dr. Mrs. Uche Azikiwe.
Others were serving and former members of the National Assembly; serving and former ministers and ambassadors; clergymen, Obi of Onitsha, HRM Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe; Chairman, South East Council of Traditional Rulers, HRH Amb. Lawrence Agubuzu and other royal fathers; elder statesmen; Presidents of Ohanaeze Ndigbo of South East states; National President, Association of Town Unions, Chief Sir Emeka Diwe and other members of the executive; and Town Union Presidents of the South East states, etc.
In his acceptance speech, Iwuanyanwu thanked the Igbo leaders and the entire people of the South East zone for finding him worthy to pilot the affairs of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation.
The new President General also thanked the South East governors for their support for Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, and promised to do his best, rise to the challenge, defend and advance the Igbo course.
Iwuanyanwu added that his tenure would promote transformation in education, agriculture, industrialisation, electricity/power generation, health, among others, calling for collective efforts and support of all.
The President-General, who pointed out that “this is the first time I have seen the five governors of the South East coming together to take up and support a course” stated that his emergence was a new dawn in Igbo land as “the governors are united in that project and I am very proud of you.”
Impressed with Ugwuanyi’s performance and his validity to uphold and promote the status of Enugu as the historic capital of the old Eastern Nigeria and the South East, Iwuanyanwu commended the governor for transforming the Old Government Lodge, Enugu and constructing a befitting Banquet Hall within its premises where his adoption and inauguration as President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo took place.
He described the incident as not just a coincidence in history but also a testament to Governor Ugwuanyi’s sound vision and steadfastness towards the course of the Igbo people.
“This is a new dawn in Igbo land. The governors are united and focused. For example, the Governor of Enugu State, a man that I have always known as a young man; he has done very well as a governor and I am very proud of him.
“Now I am here, this place is a hallowed ground. This place is the former Government Lodge of Eastern Nigeria. This is where our great leader Zik used to stay. Everything about Eastern Nigeria was conceived here.
“Governor Ugwuanyi has re-activated this place. This is a very good coincidence in history that my inauguration and my acceptance are being performed on this ground. From this ground we emerged in 1960 from a relatively low back point to be number one in Nigeria, number one in education, number one in industry, number one in progress, etc.”