Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Ekwulobia protests takeover of central park by Igwe, Obiano's government

By Okechukwu Onuegbu and O'star Eze

The people of Ekwulobia, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State have staged a peaceful protest against what they termed unlawful attempt to takeover management of Ekwulobia Central Park by the community's monarch, Igwe Emmanuel Onyeneke, APGA Anambra South chairman, Titus Anagbogu, and Ebere Nnofu, the chairman of Ekwulobia Traders Union, allegedly acting under the instruction of state government.

Ekwulobia central park is one of the renowned hub for industrial and market activities in Anambra State and it accommodates motorists, cyclists and traders.

The protesters who shutdown economic activities in Ekwulobia on Monday, were with placards of different inscriptions some of which read; “Igwe Onyeneke face your duty not management of our market; We must work with Gov. Obiano not through Igwe; Willie must not trust political harlots trying to deceive him; We must manage our markets ourselves;  Gov. Obiano should consider the plights and rights of widows and allow us to run our markets.”

Addressing the mammoth crowd, the President General, Ekwulobia Development Union (EDU), Chief Emma Okeke, said they were surprised to learn that the Igwe and other two persons have hijacked the management of their only motor park, Ekwulobia Central park, which he said was hitherto under the late Obi Okoli and his wife.

According to Okeke, the community was happy throughout the time Late Okoli, who died last year, was managing affairs of the park as his tenure brought love and peace into the place as against death and  bloodshed they have witnessed in the past while it was managed by unscrupulous persons.

He, however, said they were ready to sit and discuss with the state government on how best to run the affairs of the market.

“We love Governor Obiano and we are already working for his second term bid. The governor should help us settle this issue. He is willingly working and we are willingly working to return him for second time. We are ever ready to sit and discuss with him on how to handle this park since Obi Okoli is dead. That is all we want and not handing it over to somebody without consulting us” he appealed.

Chief Okeke informed that the park is the source of livelihood for many Ekwulobia youths who are bound to be lost to the underworld if the park is forcefully taken away from them and insisted that Ekwulobia people are comfortable with the way the present management is running the park.

He also appreciated the commissioner of police for intervening when a fisticuff ensued in the park recently which would have cost human lives.

Chinedu Nwafor Ezenwajiaku, commander of the park and the youth leader of APGA in Ward 2,Ekwulobia reiterated that Igwe Ekwulobia and Titus Anagbogu are the masterminds behind the frictions being experienced in Ekwulobia Central Park.

He said that Anagbogu has not been supporting Aguata youths, neither is he empowering the youth but has been working against them focused only on personal contracts he can attract to himself.

He alleged that the Park management had been keeping the rules and regulations of the park and paying what is due the state government as and when due.

He said that it is wrong for someone who is heading the traders union to head the motor park and is against the tenets of Ekwulobia community.

" Anambra State government has arranged park management and we have been observing the rules and regulations, paying our dues.

"Those trying to snatch the park from Obi Okoli's widow are being unfair."

Also speaking, Mrs Caroline Okonkwo, President of Ekwulobia Women Council, and Nze Peter Ezeife, the President of Ekwulobia Youth, explained that they were in  support of their elders' stand that the Ekwulobia central park should be left to be managed by the community and not Igwe or any other individual as that could lead to loss of innocent lives as had been the case in the past.

Orient Daily gathered that the leadership of the park was renewed every two years among those who work in the park collecting revenue and ordering the affairs of the park. Report had it that a certain Chijioke Okoli who was managing the park after the death of Obi Okoli went on to form clique with the community's monarch and Titus Anagbogu and a certain catholic bishop to take the park away from Obi Okoli's widow. 

Chief Titus Anagbogu, when he was reached on phone by Orient Daily and queried whether he was guilty of the allegation, said;

"I'm I the state government? By the way, what right do they have to manage that park?"

HRH Igwe Emma Onyeneke, the traditional ruler of Ekwulobia was not taking his phone calls and was not available in his palace to respond to the accusations as at the time of file of report.



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