Elders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex socio-cultural organisation of the Igbo, are seeking to invoke the “doctrine of necessity” in order to put a new leader in place, TheCable understands.
An insider said the elders – referred to as “Ime Obi” – are working with Okey Emuchay, secretary general of the body, to have a “speedy election or selection process for an interim president-general”.
George Obiozor, president-general of the organisation, died in December 2022. Four months before Obiozor’s death, Joel Kroham, deputy president-general of the organisation, passed on.
They were said to have died after brief illnesses.
Losing both leaders in the space of four months has thrown the body into what some people have described as “uncharted territory”.
“Members of the Ime Obi, who according to the constitution, ‘shall be responsible for rapid response of Ohanaeze to urgent issues’, are working with the secretary-general on the possibility of invoking a doctrine of necessity that would ensure a speedy election or selection process for an interim president-general,” the insider said.
“This unprecedented situation was never envisaged for by the drafters of the constitution.”
The Ime Obi is made up of all past and serving presidents, vice-presidents, senate presidents, speaker of the house of representatives and deputy who are of Igbo origin.
It is also made up of leaders from each Igbo state nominated by the state and endorsed by the council of elders, president-general, secretary-general. There are a further 17 national leaders nominated by the council of elders and two members of the national assembly, representing senators and house of representatives members.
With the Ime Obi in place, it is unclear what state the next interim or substantive leader of the body will come from since the position rotates among Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi, Rivers and Delta states.
The late Obiozor, who was from Imo state, had a four-year term that would have expired in January 2025 – after which the position would have been rotated to any of the aforementioned states.
“There are arguments for the election of another person from the state to complete the term,” the insider said, hinting at the fact that the organisation’s constitution does not say if someone from Imo should be elected to complete the term of Obiozor or look for another leader in another state.