They were unanimous that “at a time when OHANAEZE, the umbrella Organisation for Ndigbo, is in shambles, and in some kind of disarray inflicted on it by lapses on the part of the leadership in recent years, we need someone of great integrity, impeccable character, outstanding sagacity and intellect, principled and disciplined, someone imbued with a passion and a vision for the promotion of the interest of Ndigbo, especially in the context of Nigeria.”
In particular, former Ohanaeze leaders in a statement personally signed by Prof Ben Nwabueze explained that “Professor C. Ejike seems to be such a person. He possesses, in an eminent degree, the qualities mentioned above”.
Nwabueze who frowned at any form of imposition stressed that: “In terms of educational/academic qualifications, experience and other credentials, Chiweyite Ejike has been a university professor in the field of Zoology for some 23 years at various universities – Ife, Ibadan, UNN and UniJos – Dean, Natural Sciences, UniJos Vice-Chancellor, Anambra State University of Technology (1980 – 1991), Pro-Chancellor, University of Maiduguri (1993 – 1997), Pro-Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) 1997 – 2000; President, Science Association of Nigeria (1984 – 1986), President Biotechnology Society of Nigeria (1985 – 1987), and the current Chairman of the Convention for Intellectual Co-operation of Nigeria (COFICON).
“From working closely with Professor Ejike as my Deputy in the Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT), I know him to be a good manager of men and resources, however small the resources, an exemplary leader, a man of outstanding intellectual endowment, with an affable personality and a high sense of responsibility.”
Stressing that Ohanaeze should respect it’s constitution, the foremost constitutional lawyer noted that “the office of President-General belongs to the entire Ndigbo, not to any one particular State, as to bestow on it the right to impose a sole candidate on the Organisation, which will stultify the idea of a healthy contest or competition, as the guarantee for a credible and competent choice.
“The forthcoming election provides an opportunity to revitalize OHANAEZE, to inject into it the spirit, vision and dream that animated its founding some 40 years ago, and to create, as it were, a new OHANAEZE Ndigbo”.
He stressed the need for the emergence of “strong but humble personalities that could take the organisation, and indeed the entire Igbo race, to the desired height”, adding that “Prof. Chiweyite Ejike is topmost”.
Also speaking in Lagos, a former Director-General of the defunct Nigerian Maritime Administration (NMA), now the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. John Patrick Egesi, stated that while all the candidates, including John Nniah Nwodo and Admiral Allison Madueke could do well, the organisation needs a person of outstanding “capability” like Prof. Ejike.
Egesi, who opined that the Ohanaeze had so far maintained an “unimpressive record” due to political meddlesomeness, stressed that the body “should not be cast in the hue of a political party or perceived as an extension of a political party by the generality of Nigerians.” Likewise, its President-General should not be “a dye-in-the-wool politician.”
To that end, he endorsed the candidacy of Ejike, who he described as “humble, even-handed, rational and objective,” stressing, “my choice of Prof. Chiweyite Ejike is based on my deeper knowledge of his capacity.
“I have worked with him as an assistant and have seen him care for the poor; for people he hardly knew. He is an extraordinarily good manager of men; a man that is endowed with intellectual ability far beyond the ordinary.
“At this period when the Igbo seem to feel neither here nor there, we need a man with unquestionable integrity. Ejike has tenaciously and diplomatically held on to what he believes is a moral ground, even at the risk of losing favour.
“As a vice chancellor and university lecturer, the development and advancement of young people all over the country have been his life-time career.”
Equally, Igbo Ga-adi Mma Youth League, threw their weight behind Prof. Ejike describing him as a man of unassuming integrity and an unparalleled manager of men.
National Chairman, Prince Ugochukwu Oranaemeze noted that “Prof. Ejike is most respectfully endorsed and recommended to the delegates to be voted to become the next Ohanaeze President-General because he has exhibited humility, unparalleled candour, immutable pedigree and capacity to weather political pressure.”
Umu Ada Ndi-Igbo on its part noted that Prof. Ejike, more than the other candidates had the capacity to keep Ndigbo in unity, especially now that some forces are struggling to tear them apart.
Chief (Mrs.) Nwanyijiuno Onyeama, president of the body pointed to Ejike’s “deep analytical skills and dynamism and ability to properly appreciate Igbo culture and operate without external influence” as his cardinal qualities.
Also speaking, Dr. John Okafor called on Ndigbo to pick a man who bears no political baggage as the next President-General.