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Tension In Enugu Community As Natives Kick Against Imposition of King; Disrupt Purported Chieftaincy Election

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The chieftancy Tussle rocking  Isienu Amofu autonomous community, Nkerefi in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State Saturday took a new twist as natives of the locality disrupted a purported election fixed by the state ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs to elect a new traditional ruler for the community, over alleged imposition.

The aggrieved members of the community made up of five villages namely lsi-Uga, Umuogbi, Umunama, Umuezeochi and Umuokala said they rose against the purported election because some officials in the state Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Chieftaincy Matters connived with some selfish individuals in the community to impose one Christian Ogbonnaya Agwu, without recourse to their, 2004, Constitution which clearly stipulates the  procedure for electing a new traditional ruler for the community.

However, on the basis of the alleged connivance to impose a traditional ruler on the locality, three members of the community, namely: Chief John Njoku (one of the aspirants to the Igweship stool), Chief Benedict Ogbu (Secretary to the Igwe-in-Council) and Sylvester Chukwu ( Member of the Ruling Council) approached the Enugu State High Court seeking reliefs partaining to the constitutional procedure for electing a new Igwe in the community.

In an Originating Summons filed on their behalf by their Counsel, Godwin Onwusi Esq., wherein the said Christian Ogbonna, the General President and Vice President of the town union, the chairman of the Electoral Committee and the Commissioner for Chieftaincy Matters are defendants, the plaintiffs sought, among others.

The determination of the following questions, taking cognizance of the relevant provisions of Ishienu Amofu Constitution, 2004:

1. Whether any other person or group, apart from the General Congress of Ishienu Amofu, can validly set up the Igweship Pre-election screening committee?

2. Whether any other person or group, apart from the Ruling Council in consultation with the Traditional Council, can validly call for the election of a new Igwe to replace a dead one.

3.Whether any election conducted now for a new Igwe without amending the 2004 Constitution can be valid.

4. Whether the candidate being imposed is qualified to contest to be the Igwe.

The villagers contended that notwithstanding that all the defendants in the suit, including the Commissioner for Chieftaincy Matters, have been duly served, the Ministry officials still came to conduct the jamboree election, an act they said is disrespectful to the court, adding that they will not allow them to disrespect the court in their community.

Consequently, the attempt to impose  Chief Christian Ogbonnaya Agu  as the new monarch, through an election that was meant to legitimize an already predetermined outcome, was vehemently resisted by the natives who insisted that laid down procedure must be followed.

The aggrieved natives, who had gathered at the community meeting square as early as 8am in their numbers,  stood their ground that the election must not take place until the right  thing including conduct of a General Congress was done in line with their 2004 Constitution, a development that forced officials of Chiedtaincy Affairs to leave the venue abruptly as tension was mounting.

Speaking with journalists, one of the community leaders, Chief Chukwu Matthew Onyeabor, accused some leaders of the community of conniving with some officials of the Ministry of Chieftaincy Matters to impose an unpopular king on them.

He alleged that all the aspirants that indicated interest to vie for the election were deliberately skimmed out by the community town union led by Ndubuisi Ani whom he accused of working for Agwu to retain his position.

Onyeabor regretted that  despite the service of court processes on the Town Union and Ministry of Chietaincy Matters on the subject matter pending in Court, the Ministry still went ahead  to fix 30th of March for the botched election

He called on the state governor Peter Mbah to as a matter of urgency   intervene by ensuring level playing ground for all interested aspirants in the stool to participate before the situation degenerates into crisis.

” So what we are saying is that let the right thing be done, let our constitution be followed  to the letter in electing our new Igwe. We are saying no to imposition  of an Igwe”

Also speaking, one of the aspirants to the throne and the 1st  plaintiff in the pending suit, John Njoku said he purchased form with a huge amount of money but was never communicated with any information by the town union leadership  on the proposed election.

Njoku also lend his voice to the call by the natives on the governor to intervene urgently on the Igwe ship tussle to avoid any crisis in the community.

Efforts to reach the Commissioner for Chieftancy and Local Government Affairs,  Deacon Okey Ogbodo failed as his mobile phone  number could not go through as at the time of filling this report.

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=94762

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