By Robert AKPAN, Senior Investigator Correspondent, Lagos/
LAGOS- FOR his alleged anti-Igbo crimes and untoward activities, especially financial impropriety, abuse of female members, arrogance and unconstitutional procurement of a High Court judgment elongating his expired tenure, Igbo Leaders , Traditional Rulers, sons and daughters resident in Lagos, after hours of deliberation at ‘Ime Obi’ yesterday, vowed to Ostracize and banish the embattled impeached president of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos State, Chief Solomon Ogbonna Aguene.
At the meeting held in Ikeja, Lagos, Concerned Igbo residents and notable leaders unanimously condemned Chief Aguene’s penchants at orchestrating crisis amongst Igbos since he was ‘erroneously and regretably’ elected as Ohanaeze Ndigbo president for a single term of four years.
They decried alleged Aguene’s notorious selfish and diabolical desires at Unlawfuly accumulating of public funds, unconstitutional activities like installation of his own over 13 Traditional Rulers ( Ndiezes) and vowed to emancipate Ndigbo in Lagos from his ungodly grips.
Recounting ugly issues of slapping a widow identified as Mrs Evelyn for allegedly not heeding to his amorous overtures , constant problems with his Executives members, local government Chairmen and Ohanaeze deputy women leader, the Igbo gathering agreed that Ohanaeze Ndigbo will initiate an investigation to ensure that the impeached former president faces prosecution.
Speaking in unison , APC Chieftain and Eze Ndigbo in Ikeja, Lagos, Eze Uche Dimgba, Eze Tony Anosike of Onigbongbo, Eze Ndigbo in Ikosi Isheri, Eze Remi Anyamele, Former Ohanaeze Ndigbo president, High Chief Oliver Akubueze , Ohanaeze Ndigbo Secretary General, Chief Everest Ozonweke, all frowned at what they described as sacrilegious, the attempt by Aguene to Create needless crisis and tear the unity of Ndigbo with his unconstitutional Court Tenure elongation judgment, because of his personal, selfish ambition to remain in office and amass all political patronage and windfalls before , during and after 2023 election.
“Definitely Ndigbo are unhappy because of the betrayal by Chief Aguene and after the meeting of Igbo Leaders with Ndiezes, we are going to Ostracize and excommunicate him from all Igbo activities and events, infact, the treatment he received last week at Bucknor area of Ejigbo, where he was humiliated in public, without recognition, is an indication of what is coming to him soon,” Eze Dimgba said. Indeed, the contentious Lagos State High Court Ruling that extended tenure of the embattled president of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos State chapter, Chief Aguene, to another four years, appears to have finally torn the fragile peace pervading affairs of the Pan Igbo Social Cultural group into pieces.
This is even as aggrieved Igbo Leaders, sons and daughters during a General Assembly meeting , last week Thursday, at Calabar hall , Surulere, Lagos, raised a motion before Chief Aguene and unanimously passed a vote of no confidence on the embattled president, leading to his impeachment. Aguene, who was expected to explain the rationale behind the rumoured Court elongation, had while presiding over the said Ohanaeze meeting, was said to have neglected Ohanaeze Ndigbo Members, refusing to discuss the tenure Extension issues, thus leading to immediate agitation and protest, which culminated into the motion of No Confidence.
It was garthered that Aguene , who had disrespectfully brushed aside the demand by members to explain the rationale behind the tenure elongation , was rudely shocked , looking into the empty space in total disbelief , as the motion for his vote of no confidence was presented, successfully passed and his impeachment announced. He was said to have been humiliated by the unexpected Sack, abandoned alone in the hall , as aggrieved Members walkout on him . In an interview with Eze Dimgba, he explained that it is impossible to have an extension for an Ohanaeze President because it runs contrary to the groups constitution.
Eze Dimgba, popularly known as Okpetemba, who also is an APC Chieftain, told our Correspondent that Ohanaeze legal experts led by Former President, Barrister Fabian Onwughala, have been briefed and had set up the process of vacating what he called the ‘Kangaroo’ Tenure Extension Judgment in court. He said thus : ” There is no way Aguene’s tenure will be extended by even one day because the constitution of Ohanaeze states only one term of four years and his tenure ends on 15th July,2022, however, before his tenure could elapse, he went and procured what I will call a “kangaroo” court Judgment, which he said has extended his tenure for four more years. “This is sacrilegious, the question Chief Aguene must answer Ndigbo is this, the four years he had served, was it given to him by a court?, In the so called process leading to this judgment, nobody was put on notice, the court just made him a sole Administrator, all members of his Executive were left out.
“When members confronted him at the General Assembly meeting held at Calabar Hall, , he couldn’t explain what happened that made court to give him four years.He rather made everyone know that he has the support of the powers that be and nobody can do anything about it ,as he will remain perpetually in Office”.
It was because of his nonchalant attitude at the General Assembly meeting which he summoned, where he bluffed and disrespectfully treated everyone, that ignited the move by over 50 Ndiezes (Traditional Rulers) and the whole members, I mean the whole house , who rose and unanimously impeached him and that impeachment stands. Video evidence is available for anyone to see, he said.”
On the way forward , Eze Dimgba confirmed that Ohanaeze Ndigbo World Wide (National Body) , were already in Lagos from Enugu to supervise the conduct of a fresh Elections next week to allow a new executive to pilot the affairs of Ndigbo. Aspirants in the forth coming election , he said have purchased their forms towards the conduct of a fair and free election.
Collaborating Eze Dimgba statement, another Igbo Leader and Eze Ndigbo of Onigbongbo, Eze Tony Anosike, stated that Aguene’s tenure Extension was in bad taste and shrouded in bad intentions, unconstitutional, without any bye law backing it .
According to him , ” the national body one month ago told Aguene that they are not giving him a single day after the expiration of his tenure , you don’t serve people by force, it’s an elected Office, I don’t know why he is parading himself looking for court extension, it is not by force to serve people and it is not a selective office but elected Office, he should abide by Ohanaeze laws. Continuing, he said,”Those singing for him now knows the truth, they are only praising him now because they are collecting money from him , knowing that there are Ohanaeze money in his custody which he doesn’t want to disburse into Ohanaeze purse . If Aguene is thinking as a reasonable Igbo man, he should know that he can’t stay one day more than his tenure.We elected him when he contested against Chief Tony Nwakaeze ,as a way to bring Ebonyi State indigenes to be attending Ohanaeze meetings and events, we supported him , but now he has turned Ohanaeze into his personal business empire.Can Governor Babajide Sanwo Olu after his tenure ,go to court and bring tenure Extension from court?, ” he queried.
As the agitation gathers momentum, yet another Igbo Leader and Eze Ndigbo of Ikosi, Eze Remi Anyamale , in his own reaction, regretted the development and said thus : ” the only name for a bad thing is bad, there is nothing that can make anybody bend the constitution or the Bye laws of Ohanaeze and that thing will be justified. Tenure elongation does not happen and it is not constitutional.Even if the National Body said they it should prevail, we should be allowed to make our comments for record purposes.There was a panel constituted which came up with the views that election should be thrown open but the National Body thwarted it .There is no such thing as tenure Extension and second term and the election must go on.Solomon Aguene’s elongation of tenure is his personal ambition and it is very bad”, Eze Ikosi stated.
Reacting to his impeachment, Chief Aguene asked, ” Can you impeach somebody that has a Consent Judgment ?, How did they impeach me and ran away, when you impeach somebody, the person will step aside, they threw away chairs and the same person stayed there presided over the meeting until the end”,he bragged. Likening and Comparing his tenure Extension court Judgment to that of Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma , he asked, has anybody impeached him when he won from the court even though he was fourth? Those challenging me are just doing so out of ignorance.I will enjoy the benefit of the court judgement I won.
On the Constitutionality of his two term presidential ambition, Aguene agreed that Ohanaeze Ndigbo constitution provides for a single term of four years but pointed out that his second term will not be through Electoral process but by Court judgment which he won through consent. Contending that he is still in charge of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos State, Aguene stated that he was with his lawyer and a Senior Police Officer in his office as at the time of the interview via telephone, those he said affirmed that he was not impeached by the incident.
Explaining what transpired at general assembly meeting, he alleged that thugs were hired to disrupt the general assembly meeting he summoned. He affirmed his believe in the court Judgment and said he would not down play the ruling just as Governor Uzodinma. He warned that those that are going contrary to his court Judgment will have the court to contend. Contradicting Chief Aguene’s position, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos State Secretary General, Chief Everest Ozonweke, confirmed the impeachment of Aguene. Accused him of greed,excess quest to emancipate public funds, which he said led him into the archaic, wishful thinking agreement that he used to get the consent judgment that will not stand the test of time . Chief Ozonweke, also noted that the purported court consent judgment was unfortunate, arguing that the said Ruling was full of errors and gimmicks . “It can’t hold waters anywhere , it was a shady job done out of desperation. indeed Constitution of any organization remain supreme . The constitution of Ohanaeze Ndigbo is politically quite clear with regard to tenure and impeachment processes.It provides for only a single tenure of four years for all officers of the group including that of the president. So there is no amount of agreement you can reach with anybody that contravened the constitution of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. Infact, former Ohanaeze President, Aguene, should have started with the process of amending the constitution or overiding it through a motion , which was not done. The matter the impeached Ohanaeze president went behind through the back door to get his consent judgment, does not even concern him , it was a case Barrister Onwughala instituted against some Ohanaeze Ndigbo world wide leaders, people like Nnaa Nwodo, Eric Ebel , DIG Okpara and others, challenging the validity of the election of 2018.
“It is only him that knows what he told the court to enable him get such judgment that runs against Ohanaeze Constitution.In any case, the judgment didn’t not say he can’t be impeached.He was duly impeached by over two third majority of members present at the general assembly meeting. We have an acting President in the person of Chief Vitus Uzo, who was our former Deputy president. Our legal department is working to vacate the ruling.very soon he will stop parading himself as Ohanaeze Ndigbo president, Ozonweke concluded . With this brewing crisis, the stage may be setting for a supremacy war as Peace may finally elude Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos State, especially, as the country prepares for 2023 general elections . It would be recalled that the annulment of 2017 elections Conducted by the National body of Ohanaeze Worldwide led to factions and litigation by Former President , Barrister Onwughala, which he was said to have abandoned .
Our Correspondent learnt that it was Onwughala’s abandoned suit that Aguene revived and procured the consent judgment pronounced by the Lagos State High Court, dated 12th April, 2022, which empower him to spend the next four years as the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos State. However, following the suit said to have been filed in 2018 , before the Ikeja High Court over the annulment of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos State election, by a faction led by Chief Mike Chidedelu on behalf of his group against Chief Aguene’s faction, asking the Court to reinstate and recognized his faction, it was said to have been resolved with terms of settlement as consent judgment before the Court.
In the said judgment , apart from Chief Solomon Ogbonna Aguene, who was retained as the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos State, other Executive members elected with him were dissolved and fresh election was ordered for the vacant positions by the Court. The Court was said to have also ordered that the factions be merged and they were eligible to contest for the elective positions that were declared vacant for the conduct of the election.
The Court was said to have directed that the Electoral Committee set up by Chief Aguene, led by Chief Oliver Akubueze, be retained and conduct election for both the Local Government and State Executives with the bylaws of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos State. Addressing Ndigbo in the State, Eze Dimgba, who insisted on following Ohanaeze Constitution, urged the Igbos to be law abiding and continue to identify and support the Lagos State Government , as the agitation is not against the state but for a credible and legitimate, transparent and accountable leadership to be enthroned to lead the Igbos in Lagos State