Anambra community boils over union election

Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 27 June 2016 | 3,819 times

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Tension is currently building in Lilu community in Ihiala Local Government Area (LGA) of Anambra State over an alleged attempt by a commissioner in Governor Willie Obiano’s administration, who is an indigene of the area to impose an unpopular leadership in the community through an election planned for Saturday, July 2nd 2016.

Speaking to journalists in Awka on Sunday, the outgoing President General of the community, Prince Hez Okonkwo said that the people of the community have vowed to resist the move, which they described as unconstitutional. Okonkwo noted that the group trying to foist the new leadership on the community was tenuously positioning the commissioner to replace the late traditional ruler of Lilu, Igwe Felix Olikagu, who died in 1983 saying that all appeals by majority of the people to the group to allow peace reign in the area had fallen on deaf ears.

Reminiscing on the leadership tussle in the area, Okonkwo said: “In 2011, we felt the need to produce a single constitution for Lilu by merging the Lilu Development Union constitution and the Chieftaincy constitution with Professor Ignatius Obi as the chairman of the committee.

“Midway into the process, our people observed squabbles among the members when majority of the committee members observed that one of them who was interested in the traditional stool of the town insisted on putting a clause in the constitution to provide that the Igwe of the town must be a university graduate and must be a retired senior staff in the Federal Civil Service because he retired as a director in the Federal Civil Service.

“When the community noticed his pecuniary interest, they directed all those interested in the Igweship to resign, but the chairman refused to resign and it was therefore taken that he was not interested in becoming the Igwe of Lilu. “However, when the committee came up with the draft constitution in 2012, there was a division as Professor Obi, the chairman, submitted one, while the secretary of the committee, Mr. James Oraegbu submitted another, which made the town’s general assembly to set up another committee to harmonise the two.

“I had almost completed my tenure but I was asked to remain in office so as not to create a vacuum and would do everything humanly possible to ensure that peace reigned in Lilu.”

Okonkwo however regretted that the commissioner for local government has refused to follow the path of peace, adding that apart from unilaterally appointing a caretaker committee, he has also drawn up a list of delegates for the purported Saturday election and even produced what he called a constitution for Lilu without any contribution from the stakeholders.

He also stressed that the commissioner has refused to obey a court order which directed that status quo be maintained pending the determination of the case instituted against his action.

News Express gathered that the people of the area have vowed to carry out a peaceful protest to drive home their stance against the confusion being caused in the community.

Source: News Express

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