Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia
Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation has embarked on a review of its 2003 constitution to reflect current realities, 20 years after the last exercise.
This was made known by the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, saying that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide led by Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu has given the nod.
He explained that the constitutional review has become necessary in view of many developments that have occurred in the past two decades, adding that the leadership “has set a machinery in motion” for the constitutional review.
“It is the view of the NEC of Ohanaeze that the Constitution, which was last amended in 2003, needs to accommodate various current developments which were not envisaged in 2003, exactly twenty years ago,” Ogbonnia said.
To make the Constitution Review all inclusive, the Ohanaeze NEC has called for memoranda “from all the patriotic Igbo sons, daughters, all the Ohanaeze chapters, Ohanaeze Women Wing, and Ohanaeze Youth Wing.
Other stakeholders expected to submit memoranda include Ohanaeze affiliates, traditional rulers, Town Unions, professional bodies, Churches, Igbo Interest groups and other relevant organizations.
According to the Ohanaeze spokesman, all memoranda from each group should be sent to the Secretary of the Ohanaeze Constitution Review Committee, Dr. Ezechi Chukwu, on Whattsapp number 0813-2087496.
“All the submissions are expected to reach the Secretary on or before December 31, 2023,” the statement said.
The extant Ohanaeze Constitution bears the signatures of now late Prof Joe Irukwu and late Col. J.O.G Achuzie, who were then President General and Secretary General, respectively, as well as Chief Iwuanyanwu, who was the Chairman of the Constitution Review Committee.
The 2023 Constitution was a product of a constitutional crisis which emerged at Imeobi Ohanaeze held at the Hotel Presidential Enugu on November 24, 2003.
It was in order to resolve the constitutional impasse that the Imeobi Ohanaeze had to set up a Constitutional Review Committee headed by Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu.
The Iwuanyanwu Committee was mandated to present a report to the Ohanaeze General Assembly at Owerri, Imo State on Sunday, November 30, 2003.
The report which was unanimously adopted by the General Assembly formed the basis for the election of the National Officers on the same day.
However, the Ohanaeze spokesman noted that “in spite of the commitment and prudence exhibited by the Iwuanyanwu Committee, there are still some discrepancies and unanticipated dynamics that were not contemplated in the last two decades”.
“In other words, it is inconceivable to expect a constitution that was last reviewed twenty years ago to fulfil the expectations of the present realities,” he said.