Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 17 July 2016 | 3,714 times
The people of Ibeku clan in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State are now at daggers drawn over their support for Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and Dr. Uche Ogah in the wake of the current tussle for the governorship seat of the state.
While the Ibeku Consultative Forum, a socio-political organisation, comprising eminent Ibeku citizens, has thrown its weight behind Ikpeazu, the Prime Minister of Ibeku Ancient Kingdom, Chief Uche Akwukwuegbu (a.k.a Bawas, also a member of the forum), leading some community leaders and elders, has expressed his preference for Ogah.
The Forum, accusing Akwukwuegbu of doing politics with its name, announced that he has been stripped of his position of Traditional Prime Minister of Ibeku Ancient Kingdom which he ocurrently occupies.
But Akwukwuegbu has dismissed the move, saying the forum lacked the power to dethrone him. He said that he could not be cowed for exercising his right to freedom of speech and association.
Akwukwuegbu aroused the anger of his people for his role in a meeting of a group of traditional prime minsiters, village heads, community leaders and elders from across the state which demanded that Ogah be sworn in immediately in line with the ruling of the Abuja Federal High Court presided over by Justice Okon Abang. Akwukwuegbu had described the group as the authentic Abia elders and leaders.
The forum faulted Akwukwuegbu, explaining that the decision to remove him was based on the fact that he lacked the power to speak for Ibeku clan in that capacity, adding that he was rather the Deputy Prime Minister.
In a nine point communique jointly signed by the Chairman of the Forum, Professor Joshua Ogbonnaya and Secretary, Mr. Nkwachukwu Agomoh and 21 others on behalf of the forum, the group warned Akwukwuegbu to desist from using the name of the forum for politics.
The statement reads: “Chief Uche Akwukwuegbu is not the Traditional Prime Minister of Ibeku Egwu Asaa Development Association (IEADA). In 2015 IEADA displayed the pictures of All the present 13 members of the National President-General of IEADA from 1982 - 2016. Mr. Uche Akwukwuegbu, if he is the Traditional Prime Minister of Ibeku, is not listed nor his photograph exhibited in this comprehensive Almanac publication.”
Professor Ogbonnaya further disclosed that their grievance was on the ground that before now, Ibeku had given their support to Governor Ikpeazu and would not come now to denounce the support.
“The forum, accompanied by the President General of IEADA, Chief Onwunaruwa Onuoha on Wednesday, 6th July, 2016 paid a solidarity visit to Governor Ikpeazu and assured him of the loyalty and support of Ibeku people. We hereby reaffirm that support and we advised Mr. Uche Akwukwuegbu to please respect the people,” the forum maintained.
But, in a swift reaction, Akwukwuegbu told newsmen in Umuahia that he remains the traditional prime minister as the forum has no power to strip him of his position because the kingship stool of Ogurube, the Paramount ruler of the clan who installed him was superior to and older than the forum.
“If they (The forum) try it, they will incur the wrath of Ibeku people,” Akwukwuegbu said.
He said he could only be removed when he was found to have committed an offence, arguing that in the present circumstance, he has not done anything to warrant dethroning him. He stressed that he should not be victimised for a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but has a different interest, adding that at no time has he hidden his support for Ogah, right from the period of the party primaries.
*Photo shows Ikpeazu and Ogah.
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