The President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos, Chief Solomon Ogbonna Aguene has declared that the three Ndi Ezes who intend to enmesh him in their fraudulent activities are fighting a lost battle. Chief Solomon Ogbonna says that he will never divert Ohanaeze Ndigbo funds for personal benefits or for cronies despite pressure from any quarter. He added that the petition filed against him before the Ohanaeze Ndigbo national secretariat will be swiftly and successfully answered and he will come out clean. The three Ndi Ezes in question are Eze John-Greg Ezebuadi (Ogboroagha), Eze Christian U. Nwachukwu (Eze Ndigbo 2 Lagos), and Eze Gerald Onuchukwu.
Chief Solomon Ogbonna expressed his displeasure over the moves by the Ndi Ezes in an interview with this medium.
Trek Africa: Why are only 3 members of Ezes writing petition against you out of numerous Ndiezes in Lagos?
Chief Ogbonna: We have about eighty four Eze Igbo in Lagos State, but only about four of them are working against Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos. They are very few and cannot cause any dislocation in Ohanaeze Ndigbo. In any case, they are fighting because I refuse doing their bidding. These Ezes writing petition against me are being led by Eze John-Greg Ezebuadi who approached me in the past with a fraudulent money making arrangement. He brought a proposal to me, requesting that we approach Igbo personalities in Lagos for money; but the money will not be used for Ohanaeze Ndigbo program, but shared between both of us. I told him bluntly that is fraudulent, and I will not be party to that. I made him understand that various programs of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos are being funded by Igbo personalities in Lagos, and it is unethical for us to divert money meant for Ohanaeze Ndigbo programs. I told him, the scheme is fraudulent and meant to block funds from Igbo personalities to Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
Some weeks after that encounter, he came back with another request. That time around, he said I should give him N2million, because he understands that Lagos State Government pays me N10million every month. I laughed it off, feeling he was just being sarcastic. But he meant it and insisted that if I don’t give him N2million, he will expose me to Ndigbo. I called his bluff and told him to go ahead and expose the dirt he dug up. He went about blackmailing me, alleging that I receive monthly allowance of N10million from Lagos State government.
Trek Africa: How was Eze Greg able to engage the other colleagues?
Chief Ogbonna: Eze John-Greg lured them into believing that Lagos State Government is paying me N10million every month and I am sharing it with Eze Chris Ohia and Okpotemba. So, they started pestering me, requesting financial assistance for one thing or another. In fact alI the 4 Ezes fighting me are those who approached me at one point or another for monetary support that I should take them to my brother Chief Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii that he is also collecting money from Governor Sanwo Olu. Unfortunately I can’t assist them beyond my personal capability.
Whenever, I tell them that I don’t have the amount they are requesting, they will suggest that I source from Ohanaeze Ndigbo fund and give them as loan. And I never oblige such request and suggestion; telling them the funds are sourced from eminent Igbo business people in Lagos for specific programs and we can’t divert it. Also these Ezes fighting me have approached me on several occasions for monetary support. On my personal capacity as a business man, I have assisted each and every one of those disgruntled Ezes financially. They are angry with me, because I refuse to divert funds generated for Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos program to their individual pockets.
Trek Africa: We heard these Ezes are not happy that you crowned 13 people from Ebonyi State as Eze Igbo in Lagos, how true?
Chief Ogbonna: I didn’t crown any Eze Igbo in Lagos State. The Eze Igbo in Lagos are crowned by king makers in unity with the Council of Ndieze after due processes. The fact of the matter is that we had 71 Ezes in Lagos State and none of the 71 Ezes came from Ebonyi State. Some Ebonyi leaders complained to me about the exclusion of Ebonyi people from the Council of Eze in Lagos State. I approached the king makers and presented the matter. I requested that some Ebonyi people be crowned Eze Igbo in Lagos State. They obliged my request and said I should give names. I returned to Ebonyi people through the president of Ebonyi State town unions in Lagos.
The president suggested that they submit 13 people representing the 13 LGAs in Ebonyi State. I took that to the king makers who accepted the list and gave terms and conditions for the crowning of the selected individuals. The terms and conditions include the payment of some money by the nominated individuals to the Council of Ndieze and purchase of six cows for the sacrifices and the ceremony. The nominated Ebonyians met the requirements and even made some payments into Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos account and other one to council of Ndieze account as instructed by the executive.
Having satisfactorily fulfilled all requirements, they were crowned Eze Igbo in Lagos State, bringing the number of Eze Igbo in Lagos to 84. If any Eze can prove paying one naira into my personal account or gave me in cash in respect of crowning him Eze, I shall pay the sum of 5 million naira cash as my penalty even if I don’t have the money my friends will pay for me at spot, therefore it is nothing to worry about, we know them as petition writers so their accusations is synonymous to what they said during campaign in 2019 that Bola Ahmed Tinubu gave me 250million naira a man I have never met or seen before except on television.
Trek Africa: Can you mention the Ezes who wrote this petition?
Chief Ogbonna: Just three of them. They were four initially, but one of them has denounced the group and sent apologies to me but I heard they are offering some Ezes 20 thousand naira each to agree to sign the communiqué so that they can be many that sign the petition but only 3 three Ezes accepted. The recalcitrant are: Eze John-Greg Ezebuadi (Ogboroagha), Eze Christian U. Nwachukwu (Eze Ndigbo 2 Lagos), and Eze Gerald Onuchukwu.
Trek Africa: What is the decision of Ohanaeze Ndigbo National Executive on this issue?
Chief Ogbonna: Like I said earlier Ndiigbo has gotten it right by having someone like Amb.Prof. George Obiozor and Amb. Emuchay as their leaders because they have seen it all such men and someone like Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe my godfather such people are above gossips, bribery and corruption. They will listen to you but make their fact finding without favour or being partial because they face similar problems like me which is common in leadership. This petition/accusation is nothing to what leaders see during campaigns. Finally I am grateful to God that the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide Amb. Prof. George Obiozor is an upright and eminent Nigerian who will listen to all parties in the dispute, so as to make an informed decision.
Furthermore, the Secretary General Amb. Okey Emuchay who will receive their petition is equally an upright man. So, I am waiting for the invitation from the National Executive Council to discuss the issue; if at all it is worth discussing. The National Executive Council might see the petition as trivial in view of the enormous problems steering Igbo nation in the face. By and large, we have honest people at the National Executive Council who will dispense justice, no matter whose ox is gored.