Umuoji Community thanks Anambra State Government for Upholding their Constitution
News Report by Ebuka Onyekwelu
The people of Umuoji, a four quartered community in Idemili North local government area of Anambra State, gathered at Anambra State Government House Awka in a solidarity march today, to pass a vote of confidence on the government of Anambra State, for insisting that the provisions of their constitution in the process of electing their Igwe was dutifully followed. The march which has men and women, old and young, titled men and community leaders among others, became a rally of some sort, with fine mixture of musical instruments to produce beautiful, danceable tunes.
The gathering which lasted for about forty-five minutes has over five hundred Umuoji people in attendance, and they were later addressed by the Secretary to Anambra State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu. While addressing the SSG, Chief Gilbert Okoye said they came to thank the government for doing the right thing and for upholding the over forty years old constitution of Umuoji community on election of the traditional ruler of the community. “We came to thank the state government who conducted the election of Igwe Umuoji and upheld the constitution of Umuoji that is forty-four years old, on Igweship of the town. This action by the government affirms the government’s commitment to peace in Umuoji, that’s why we came. We are peace loving people. We want to tell the government that we are happy”. In his further remarks, Chief Okoye noted that if not for the timely intervention of the government in upholding the community’s constitution, the community would have been thrown into crisis. “If not for how the government correctly discerned what is at stake and chose to go with the provisions of our community’s constitution, then, there would have been problem, therefore we thank the government and the Governor, Chief Willie Obiano for doing the right thing”, he said. Chief Stan Okwuosa in his follow up but brief remarks, summarily echoed what Chief Okoye said, maintaining that the community has come to thank the government for ensuring that the constitution of the community was followed in the election of Igwe Umuoji.
In his reaction, the SSG thanked the group for the visit which he described as “an orderly visit”. He further remarked that some people came to protest against the election of the Igwe, only yesterday. “You know what happens after election, some may say they do not agree, some will say they agree. That’s what happens. But we have heard what you said. The government has Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs who will look into all these concerns and stay on the side of truth and justice, while making the report to the Governor”, Prof. Solo said. The SSG reiterated that basically, the constitution of the community will guide that process and that the position of the constitution ultimately settles the matter. Thereafter, he wished them safe journey back home.
Meanwhile, Barr. Ifeanyi Mbanusi who represented Dimechem Umuoji Intelligentsia, after he was received in audience by the SSG in his office, along other stakeholders of Umuoji community, submitted a letter from the group to the SSG which contained details of the election proceedings and other matters related thereto.
Speaking to the press after submitting the letter to the SSG, Barr. Ifeanyi Mbanusi noted that there is no point or basis to contest the election of Barr. S. A. Muogbo as the Igwe elect of Umuoji community. According to the lawyer, the first election on the 8th day of May 2021 did not produce an Igwe based on the provisions of the constitution of the community, thus, after much forth and back, primarily because some people want to override the constitution, a rerun was held as provided for, by the constitution. He also noted that the Umuoji Town Union dutifully informed the state government of its readiness for the election and thereafter the election was held on 8th June, 2021. “We extend our gratitude to the government of Anambra state. Umuoji has a constitution that guides selection of Igwe and Umuoji has four quarters; Eziora, Ifiteora, Akala and Dimechem. This time, it is the turn of Dimechem to bring somebody to be crowned as Igwe and because we have a constitution that is forty-four years now, written in 1977, we decided to follow the constitution. It was because the first election was inconclusive as a result of the fact that none of the contestants secured 2/3 majority, that is where the controversy started. But already, the controversy arising from the first election was foreseen by the writers of our constitution and so they provided for such a situation in section 2.3f of our constitution. Efforts were made in some quarters to thwart the process of this constitution, but it behooves that our constitution is sacrosanct, so we insisted that the election has to be completed and the government responded on the side of the community’s constitution and we had a rerun on the 8th of June. The election was observed by government officials and it was peaceful and credible”, Barr. Ifeanyi Mbanusi said.
Going forward, they also expressed expectation that the government issues a certificate of office to Barr. S.A. Muogbo the Igwe elect, who retired as a senior banker from the Central Bank of Nigeria- CBN, as the substantive Igwe of Umuoji community.
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