Nigerian politician and entrepreneur, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, has been confirmed as the president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, a leading Igbo socio-cultural organization. In his inaugural speech, Iwuanyanwu promised to work towards securing the release of separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu, who is being prosecuted for treason by the federal government, and to focus on regional development.
Unanimous Endorsement and Ratification
Iwuanyanwu was endorsed unanimously during a meeting of Ohanaeze Imeobi, the organization’s highest decision-making body, in Enugu on Sunday. His appointment needed ratification since it did not result from an election. Chinedu Ugwa, a member of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said that Iwuanyanwu was confirmed through voice voting. The endorsement came after a recommendation by Elders of Imo State and because there were no objections to his appointment.
Gratitude and Commitment to the Igbo Cause
In his speech, Iwuanyanwu expressed gratitude for the opportunity to lead the Igbo group and vowed to defend their interests. “I thank you all for allowing me to lead Ndigbo at this time. With our collective efforts and support, Ndigbo will rise again. I, therefore, have a duty to defend the Igbo course valiantly and I promise Imeobi and all Igbo people that by the grace of God, I will not fail them,” he said.
Priorities for the South-East Region
Iwuanyanwu outlined his administration’s priorities, including reviving agriculture and industries in the South-east, focusing on information and communication technology. He also emphasized the need to revitalise the educational system and reposition the region’s health sector.
Another essential goal for Iwuanyanwu is to evaluate the possibility of generating electricity using coal deposits in Enugu, which could provide a much-needed energy source for the region. Furthermore, he plans to create an Ohanaeze investment company and a cultural center to preserve and promote the rich cultural heritage of the Igbo people.
Additional State for the South-East
The new leader also aims to secure an additional state for the South-east, which currently has only five states compared to other regions in Nigeria. “Several political conferences have recommended the creation of an additional state in the South-east to bring the number of states to six. So far, this has not been actualized. I will make sure that during my tenure (as Ohanaeze president-general), an additional state is created for the South-east,” Iwuanyanwu assured.
Attendees of the Meeting
The meeting was attended by governors from the South-east, including Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Charles Soludo (Anambra), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi State, represented by his Deputy, Kelechi Igwe), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia, represented by his Deputy, Ude Chukwu), and Hope Uzodinma (Imo, represented by his Deputy, Placid Njoku).
Other attendees included the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, Enugu State Governor-elect Peter Mbah, former Governor of Imo State Ikedi Ohakim, and former President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Adolphus Wabara, among others.