ENUGU NEW AUTONOMOUS COMMUNITY BOIL OVER IGWESHIP STOOL
Less than five months after Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi waded into the prolonged crisis rocking the Umuabi autonomous community, Udi local government council of the state, strong indications have emerged that the area may boil again over the election for the traditional ruler of the newly created Imeama –Umuabi autonomous community.
Ugwuanyi had solved a prolonged agitation and lawsuits in the area when on February 19, this year; he carved out the Imeama-Umuabi autonomous community from Umuabi community and granted them authority to constitute their separate traditional ruler and Town Union leadership.
However, few months after, the peace seemed to have been achieved by the development is now being threatened as certain members of the community who have moved to hijack the process of enthroning an Igwe and town union executives. The move if allowed would deny the eldest village opportunity to produce the occupant to the throne in line with the customs and tradition of the people.
In an open letter to Governor Ugwuanyi, the Umuezenchi village, which claims to be the rightful village that should produce the Monarch of the newly created autonomous community, has asked the governor to intervene to avoid break down in law and order.
They stated that by virtue of their position as the eldest village in Imeama- Umuabi, they were entitled under the native law and custom to produce the first Monarch and traditional ruler of the new autonomous community, contrary to the clandestine moves by Abiaha kindred to hijack the process and on the long run return the area to crisis.
They stated in the letter signed by their Counsel, C.C Okoro, that the group have resorted to hand-picking individuals who will serve as members of Igwe’s cabinet and Town Union executives without recourse to the villages and wards on who would represent them in the two bodies.
The village said that should that be allowed to happen, it would put paid to the well-thought out decision of the governor to intervene and bring to an end the numerous and protracted legal battles raging in Umuabi Community over the vacant chieftaincy stool occasioned by the death of the former Igwe and traditional ruler of Umuabi Community.
“Your Excellency, you demonstrated your political sagacity when on the 19th day of February, 2021 you announced the breaking of the erstwhile Umuabi Community into two separate autonomous communities with powers to constitute their separate traditional chieftaincy stools and Town Unions. By this singular act, you made it possible for each of the communities to go home and follow their customs and traditions as is peculiar to them in selecting their respective traditional rulers.
“Your Excellency, as you already know, the major bone of contention in the prolonged agitations and lawsuits was the insistence by the people of Abiaha kindred (whose son was a contestant to the Igweship stool of Umuabi community) that the stool of Igwe should, as a matter of custom and tradition be zoned first to the most senior kindred after which it will rotate to the next kindred in the order of seniority.
“Your Excellency, it is very unfortunate that after your magnanimous creation of Imeama-Umuabi Autonomous Community and the people came home to choose their own traditional ruler, the very same people who were vocal proponents of seniority as the unimpeachable customary modality and yardstick for selecting the traditional ruler of the community shamelessly made a U-turn and instead of them conceding the traditional stool to our clients’ Umuezenchi Village or Ward which is Ward 1 and the oldest village in Imeama-Umabi Community, they now turned round to say without any cogent evidence or gazette to that effect that you, the Governor, created Imeama-Umuabi Autonomous Community specifically to appoint a particular individual whose name they were parading in the community, as the Igwe and traditional ruler of the new community”, they wrote
“This group of people do not mean well for the new community as they have now engaged in clandestine hand-picking of individuals who will serve as members of Igwe’s Cabinet and as Town Union Executives without recourse to the villages and wards whose inalienable rights it is to select who will represent them in the two bodies. They did not end there. They went as far as writing a Town Union and Chieftaincy Constitution for the community and submitted it to the Ministry of Chieftaincy Matters and Ministry of Rural Development without subjecting the said Constitution to public debate and input. In the said Constitution, they mischievously arranged the names of villages in alphabetical order instead of in their order of seniority which is customary”
“Your Excellency, from the incidents narrated above, you can see that Imeama-Umuabi Autonomous Community is at the brink of the same destructive pit which you labored so hard to liberate it from”, they added
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