Friday, 13 November 2015

Tension at Ekwulobia as a village Holds Parallel Day Celebration at Peak of Crises


By OkechukwuOnuegbu

The internal strife rocking the ancient town of Ekwulobia, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State came to bare recently as one of its villages, Umuchiana celebrated parallel what they termed “28th Umuchiana 11-11Day” at different locations.

Umuchiana, a village of 6 clan held its social-cultural day peacefully at Amaobu, the ancestral home of ‘Umu-Ajangos’ under Engr. Okechukwu Chukwumuanya as Chairman of Umuchiana People’s Congress Caretaker Committee (UPCCC), while another set headed by Mr. Edwin Chika Ike as Chairman, 9th Congress of Umuchiana People’s Congress (UPC) celebrated theirs at open field beside a village hall.

Although both faction maintained that the celebration was socio-cultural aimed at showcasing their rich cultural heritage, they could not give precise account of how it all started. Some people interviewed said it was meant to be celebrated on 11th November of every year because founder of the village was born on 11 November, while others claimed that it was a day they regained peace and resolved to work together after turbulent crises in medieval days. reported that the two factional events were colourful with massive turnout of people, although the Traditional Ruler of Ekwulobia, HRM Igwe Engr. Emmanuel Onyeneke, the President General of Ekwulobia Development Union (EDU), Rev. Dr. Emeka Ezeike and his Executive, top government functionaries from Aguata LGA , among others attended that of UPCCC, even as some notable figures in Ekwulobia including Chief Sir Dr. Joseph Ezeokafor, CEO/Chairman JESCO Group of Companies, Chief Emma Okeke (Onyeomagbuagu), Executive of Ekwulobia Peoples Assembly (EPA), and others pitched interest with UPC.

Also, at the various celebrations, the celebrants lamented that disunity had affected them negatively in terms of funds to execute road projects, drainage maintenance, among other basic amenities, and appealed for peace to reign.

Speaking at UPC side of the event, its Chairman, Mr. Edwin Ike disclosed that they were “in a war of independence with a group of few rich people in Ekwulobia who wants to monopolise the powers of EPA. We are fighting to free ourselves from Igwe/Ndi Ichie oligarchy. Their first attempt was to take over power through the electoral process of 10/11/2013. The group failed and moved to plan their plan B which was to secure power to rule Umuchiana through exparte motion/annulment of UPC 2013 general election. This matter is still pending in Ekwulobia High Court is adjourned to 9th November, 2015.

“Available intelligence showed that some saboteurs are going round our village with large cash and other royal promises and allocation of shops at new Eke market. Their bottom line is to change the 9th Congress by Force or trick. I advise this group of people to refresh themselves of the consequences of a similar action Victor Banjo, Emmanuel Ifeajuna, Philip Alale and Sameul Agbam in the recent past”, Ike further alleged.

He added: “We are yet to come to terms with present culture and tradition-headship-style of our Igwe. The euphoria and joy that followed his election and installation had gone. His style is divisiveness with use and dump. We are groaning in pains. Is he the same person or character we voted for or another? He was elected Igwe Ekwulobia in 2008 with Ekwulobia Peoples Assembly 1994 Reviewed Constitution. In 2010 Igwe sponsored a monarchy constitution and replaced the 1994 EPA constitution. The constitution swapping was challenged in Ekwulobia High Court and was resolved in a consent judgment. He further appealed to High Court of Appeal, Enugu and was also defeated.

“Even in the face of his failure and defeat in the two courts, Igwe Engr. E.C. Onyeneke has refused to be remorseful and penitent. Like an unwise traditional ruler, Igwe is still bickering and fighting all the institutions of Ekwulobia town. Like an entrepreneur of divide and rule, he divided the 9 villages of Ekwulobia, all Umunna, Ndi Nze, Umuada, Iyom, branch unions, even our nuclear families are not spared… ”

He however, noted that Umuchiana daughters led by one Mrs. Nneka Moghalu (Nee Ezennia) had on December 27, 2014 invited him for peace talks, especially to withdraw the court action instituted against UPC, and he yielded to their meeting but told them that they are peace loving people and cannot withdraw a court action they did not initiate.

Recalling the various crises that allegedly erupted during and after his elections, Ike said that about two-third of their tenure had been spent in Ekwulobia High Cort because “a handful of Ekwulobia elites planned to colonise Ekwulobia for their selfish ends.”

“Consequently, our ex-Ichie, Martin C. Ezeuchu (Ezeobiora 2) acted unconstitutional by setting up an illegal Care-taker Committee to obstruct the smooth running of the 9th congress of Umchiana. Raphael Ezeuchu, Okechukwu Chukwumanya and Boniface Ezeigwe are the plaintiffs that sued the 9th Congress to Ekwulobia High Court challenging the legality of the 2013 general election…”

He however, thanked people of the village for initiating 2 units of 50KVA and 400KVA transformers to beef-up their electricity supply.

On his part, Chief Sir Dr. Joseph Ezeokafor, CEO/Chairman of Jesco Group of Companies W.A. Ltd enjoined warring groups to sheath their swords and ego, and embrace peace.

Also speaking, Chairman of the occasion in UPC factional celebration, Chief Emma Okeke (Onyeomagbuagu) advised youth to be peaceful, because according to him, peace had returned to the town and by next year they would begin to do things together again.

However, at Amaobu, the venue for UPCCC Umuchiana 11-11 Day, the Chairman, Engr. Okechukwu Chukwumuanya assured his members that UPCC has continued to follow the line of peace and legal system in pursuing the crises and it has discovered that some unnamed persons outside the village mastermind the crises as a means of destabilizing the peace loving community and Ekwulobia in totality.  

His words: “UPCC has continued to follow the line of peace and the legal system in pursuing the crises in the community in spite of all provocations from our brothers and sisters on the opposing side. Caution, understanding, patience, love, endurance, sense of maturity and prayers are our guiding principles. We hipe that someday our good brothers and sisters who are being misguided and used for selfish ends in the community will come back to themselves and liberate themselves from the hands of their misleading shylocks.

“The crises in Umuchiana is being sponsored by some person outside the shores of the community. Today, this year’s 11-11 is going on at two points-here in Amaobu Umuchiana, and at a place over there, in a rented field. Though this may be a blessing in disguise, but it offers men and women of goodwill who love peace, justice and equity more than they cherish money and short-living pleasures of life the opportunity to see the faces of the sponsors of the said crises not only in Umuchiana but also other villages in Ekwulobia. For a long time, these sponsors had been hiding their faces behind the masks, but today their veils are broken.

“I wish to appreciate the efforts of various groups who have volunteered to seek for peace in Ekwulobia. Please, do so only in the fear of God, Justice, equity and fairness…I advice you have mutual respect for one another; everyone of us should regard one another highly and give ourselves the necessary support in the areas our brothers and sisters have better advantage than we do.”

The UPCCC Chairman further enumerated their achievement to include sinking of a multimillion naira water borehole in collaboration with UNICEF, DFID, Federal Government of Nigeria and UPCC.

Others who spoke at the UPCCC side of the occasion such as PG of Ekwulobia Development Union, Rev. Dr. Emeka Ezeike; a youth, Mazi Sunday Okeke; and Mrs. Fidelia Anajemba, Director of Umuada Ekwulobia reiterated the needs for peace to reign.



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