A popular Imo based journalists and writter Owuasoanya FCC Jones has revealed how the vice presidential candidate of PDP and the governor of Delta State Ifeanyi Okowa alledgedly bribed some youths of Ohanaze Ndigbo to secure an endorsement for Atiku Abubarka.
Onwuasoanya disclosed this on Tuesday in a post on his Facebook handle where he narrated how he was offered N500,000 to endorse Atiku which he rejected.
He Wrote 👇
Few days to the February 25th presidential election, a few people, without the authorisation or prior notice of members of the National Executive Committee of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide -Youth Wing went to Asaba to hold a purported Igbo Youths Town Hall meeting, in which they communicated in written form, a purported endorsement of the Atiku-Okowa ticket by Igbo youths.
Following my public protests against what is apparently an anti-Igbo activity by an organisation that is meant to be a frontline advocate of Igbo interest, a colleague in the National Executive Committee of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide -Youth Wing made attempts to broker a truce between myself and the ring leader of the renegades. It was during the virtual meeting on this matter that information was extracted, for the very first time, from Chukwuma Okpalaezeukwu, the Secretary-general of the Wing, that Okowa sponsored the purported Igbo Youths Town Hall meeting in Asaba by taking care of every logistics required to organise the event.
He also admitted that money was paid to every individual who attended the event, 80% of whom are youths hired from Anambra State. He also informed that after all expenses had been concluded that the sum of fifteen million Naira was kept aside to “settle” members of NEC; 700,000 Naira was to be given to the few members who attended the event and 500,000 Naira was for NEC members who couldn’t attend.
It was an easy decision for me to turn down the 500,000 Naira said to be my share of the money. Also, the treasurer of the organisation, Comrade Chris Obiemenyego aligned with me on that by rejecting his own share of the 500,000 Naira.
I am aware that the meeting to Asaba had been in the works for sometime, but at no time was the issue of endorsing Atiku Abubakar mentioned. In fact, the initial information was that Chief Ned Nwoko had offered to host us in Asaba. In an online meeting held on the 23rd January, the issue of a visit to Asaba was formally introduced, without any mention made of endorsing any presidential candidate. However, I sensed that the ring leaders of this anti-Igbo agenda were up to something mischievous and I vehemently opposed the purported “courtesy visit”. I was neither overruled nor was my contrary opinion endorsed.
This issue was never brought up in the official WhatsApp platform again until the Secretary-general, Mr. Okpalaezeukwu dropped a voice note on the NEC platform in the evening of 19th February literally ordering NEC members to be in Asaba the next day, being 20th of February, for a MEETING WITH DR. IFEANYI OKOWA.
At least one person raised concern about the suddenness of the notice. Apparently, some people were swayed by the idea of holding a meeting with a State governor and immediately declared their readiness to proceed on the trip the same day. I kept quiet because it was a mere meeting with Dr. Okowa.
On the evening of 20th of January, reports started flying around on social media that Ohanaeze Youths endorsed Atiku Abubakar. A close friend of mine called my attention to that piece of embarrassing news, and I told him it couldn’t be true, but he promptly sent me a video, in which I saw the logos of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide -Youth Wing on the backdrop of a big auditorium filled with people and someone on a wide shot whom I didn’t immediately recognise was seen announcing the endorsement of Atiku/Okowa presidential ticket on behalf of Igbo youths worldwide.
Being the sole admin of our official NEC platform, Okpalaezeukwu promptly evicted me from the platform following my open disclaimer to that fraudulent adventure, that did not only betray the collective decision of Ndigbo, but also sabotages the will of majority of Nigerians.
Chukwuma Okpalaezeukwu made it clear that he does not have any regrets over what I told him was a traitorous and criminal action, as it amounted to fraud, to use the name of an organisation to procure financial gains for yourself with a prior notification to them.
I challenged him to provide a minute where the issue of endorsing the Atiku-Okowa ticket was deliberated upon and agreed on, which of course he doesn’t have. Given some of the steps I have taken to ensure that these comrades of mine, at least understand that some of the things they take for granted, really matter, I will not be surprised to see him trying to forge minutes to meetings that either never held or was not legitimately convened.
Part of Chukwuma’s argument for going ahead to trade off Ndigbo for an amount of money he is yet to make open is that our parent body did not consult us, the youth wing, before championing the Peter Obi project and I, the Deputy National Leader, did not revert to them before aligning with Peter Obi.
I educated him that the parent body does not owe him or the Youth Wing any duty of consultation and that my personal political decisions, choices and alignments are what they are; personal. I made him understand that if he had issued Okowa or Tinubu with letters of endorsement as Chukwuma Okpalaezeukwu and not on behalf of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Wing, I would have lacked the right to question his choices, decisions and alliances.
I am sure that a crime has been committed by these individuals, especially, Chukwuma Okpalaezeukwu, who is the ring leader of the group, by requesting or accepting bribe for the endorsement of a politician for political office and as well impersonating the Ohanaeze Youth Wing and the entirety of Igbo youths without, first, securing their approval for such action. It does not matter that he exploited the desperation of majority of our comrades for filthy lucre, to get them to keep quiet or even openly support this action, I will be able to satisfy my conscience by following up on reports with the necessary anti-graft agencies and as well formal petitions to the rightful organs of Ohanaeze and Igbo leadership setup.
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