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Enugu community seeks Ugwuanyi’s intervention in Igweship tussle

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[FILES] Ugwuanyi

The Umuezenchi village of the newly-created Imeama-Umuabi autonomous community, Udi Local Council of Enugu State, has called on Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to intervene in the selection of its traditional ruler.

According to a letter to the governor made available to The Guardian yesterday, the call is to avoid breakdown of law and order as well as to ensure that custom and tradition of the people are preserved.

In the letter, the community stated that by virtue of its position as the eldest village in Imeama- Umuabi, it was entitled, under the native law and custom, to produce the first traditional ruler of the new kingdom, contrary to moves by Abiaha kindred to hijack the process.

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The community elders and other stakeholders stated in the letter signed by their counsel that certain members of the village resorted to hand-picking individuals to be in Igwe’s cabinet and town union executive council without recourse to the villages and wards that were to be represented in the two bodies.

Allowing such to happen, they stated, will put paid to the governor’s decision to intervene and end the numerous legal battles in Umuabi over the vacant stool occasioned by the death of the former Igwe.

They added: “Your Excellency, you demonstrated your political sagacity when on February 19, 2021, you announced the breaking of the erstwhile Umuabi community into two autonomous communities, with powers to constitute their separate traditional chieftaincy stools and town unions. By this singular act, you made it possible for each of the communities to go home and follow their custom and tradition, as is peculiar to them, in selecting their respective traditional rulers.

“The bone of contention in the prolonged agitation and lawsuits was the insistence by the people of Abiaha kindred (whose son contested the Igweship of Umuabi) that the Igwe stool should, as a matter of custom and tradition, be zoned first to the most senior kindred, after which it will rotate to the next kindred in the order of seniority.”

However, they lamented the volte-face by Abiaha people in the whole process.

“This group of people do not mean well for the new community, as they have now engaged in clandestine hand-picking of individuals for sensitive positions without recourse to the villages and wards whose inalienable rights it is to select who will represent them in the two bodies.

“They did not end there; they went as far as writing a Town Union and Chieftaincy Constitution for the community and submitted it to the Ministry of Chieftaincy Matters and Ministry of Rural Development without subjecting it to public debate and input,” the said.

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