Abia elders, traditional rulers wade into governorship battle

Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 6 July 2016 | 3,212 times

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Abia State elders and traditional rulers have expressed worry over the political development in the state and have appealed for calm.

Rising from a meeting held at the Asokoro home of Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, they said that the struggle for the governorship seat of the state was worrisome against the backdrop of the “impression created of a conspiracy involving the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to throw Abia into confusion and anarchy.”

The Elders, therefore, commended the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, for his timely intervention to douse the growing tension in the state and appealed to all Abians and interest groups in the tussle for leadership in the state to remain calm, for the good of the state.

In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, the elders faulted the issuance of Certificate of Return to Dr. Uche Ogah by INEC on the order of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court Abuja and declared their full support for Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.

Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, who read the communique of the meeting to newsmen in Abuja Monday, said the meeting condemned attempts to set Abia on fire.

Part of the communique read: “We, the concerned elders of Abia State, worried by the developments in the last five days which threatened to plunge our state into anarchy, violence and bloodshed, met today in Abuja to review the situation,”

“The elders reviewed the judgment of Justice Okon Abang, which is the beginning of the unfortunate crisis and INEC’s decision to issue a certificate of return to our son, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, which decision exacerbated the crisis.

“We came to the conclusion, unanimously, that Justice Abang’s order to issue a certificate of return to someone who never contested the governorship election against the Electoral Act and well-known decisions of superior courts was perverse and reckless and we condemn it in its entirety.

“We have also noted the seeming haste of INEC to issue the certificate just a few hours after Justice Abang’s order, and in spite of the fact that INEC had been duly served with a notice of appeal of the said order and the motion for a stay of execution.

“We condemn in very strong terms the attempt to set Abia on fire and create a situation which can only compound the problems which our country currently has to bring an end to violence in the North East and Niger Delta.

“We have also noted with appreciation the intervention of the Attorney General of the Federation, Malami, who has urged all parties to follow the rule of law and wait for the conclusion of proceedings in the appellate courts. We join in this appeal for peace and urge all parties involved in this matter to calm down and await the conclusion of matters at the courts.

“We also commend our people, the people of Abia who have remained peaceful in the face of recent provocations. We urge them to remain calm and maintain the peace as we await the courts to conclude their processes.”

The elders said they have “faith in the Nigerian judiciary and believe that in the end, Justice will be done.”

They also used the opportunity to commiserate with families of notable Abia citizens who lost their lives recently, among who is Chief Ojo Maduekwe, who died recently and Senator Onyeka Okoroafor.

The meeting was attended by notable Abia elders and traditional rulers, among whom were the three serving Abia Senators: former Governor Theodore Orji, Mao Ohuabunwa and Enyinnaya  Abaribe.

Others are Senator Adolfus Wabara, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, Empire Kanu, HRH, Eze Ngozi Marthias Nwoko, Professor S.O. Igwe, Uzoma Nkem Abonta, and Professor Herbert O. Orji.

Other Royal father’s present at the meeting include, HRH Eze J. O. Akaliro, HRH Eze Dr. Eberechi Dick and HRH Eze Paul M. Okpanku.

•Photo by Boniface Okoro shows a cross section of Abia State elders and traditional rulers at the meeting.

Source: News Express

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