Ebonyi community kicks against attempt to impose traditional ruler, PG

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By Victor Nwegede, Abakaliki

The United Umuchima Community General Assembly, Uburu in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State has kicked against the alleged attempt by some politicians to impose traditional rulers on them.

The Secretary General of the United Umuchima Community General Assembly, Ezenwa James on Friday, made this known during a press conference held at the Umuchima Town Hall in Uburu.

The Secretary explained that after wide consultations with the descendants of the Umuchima kindreds both home and diaspora, the community resolved to convene the press conference to draw the attention of Governor Francis Nwifuru, other well-meaning Ebonyians and Nigerians to insidious moves by a few politicians to wreck the traditional rulership system in the area.

According to him, a member representing Ohaozara West Constituency in Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Mr. Onu Ukpai and his predecessor, Mr Onu Nwaonyi, now the Senior Special Assistant to State Governor on Housing and Urban Development have masterminded the imposition of their traditional ruler and President General on the community.

He said the duo have connived with the Chairman of Ohaozara Local Government Area, the Uburu Eze in Council and Vincent Obinna Akpa, the President of General Eweze-Uburu Autonomous Community to pave the way to install a candidate of their choice, Nicolas Odii.

He noted that the move by the two politicians with their cronies to install Nicolas Odii as their President General against the wishes of the Umuchima people was not successful because “Nicolas Odii is not a native of any Umuchima Community,” nor does he reside in any part of the community.

He alleged that Onu Nwonye, Onu Ukpai and their allies are of different autonomous communities and however warned the duo to stay clear from the Eweze-Uburu Autonomous Community Affairs.

He equally alleged that the duo actively participated in the evasion of their ancestral homes and farmlands during the last administration, saying the community people have resisted every attempt to perfect the apparent atrocities committed against them.

The Community leader further alleged that the two accused politicians under the guise of the state and federal government officials have been working for individuals whose identities are yet to be known to take over Umuchima Salt Lake without proper consultation with the leaders of the United Umuchima Community.

While calling for the urgent intervention of Ebonyi State Governor, Chief Francis Nwifuru, Ezenwa said: “Our peaceful and friendly disposition towards the constituted authorities such as the government of the day, the Uburu Traditional Council and the entire people of Uburu has earned us nothing but scorn, gross neglect, intimidation, non-consideration and attempts of deprivation of our rights and privileges of the people United Umuchima Community by these unscrupulous political officeholders from Uburu extraction.”

The Secretary noted that the Eweze-Uburu Autonomous community comprises Umuadaeze, Umumkpuma, Umuanebonu, Umuogo and Ihenu communities, each of which occupies a separate geopolitical zone and is populated by different kinds.

He pointed out that the Constitution provisions of the community require amendment within 5 years, as the President General of the community has the power to constitute the Constitution Review Committee.

He said the assignment has been willingly and consciously carried out by the President General of the community, Chief Vincent Obinna Akpa on 13th January 2013.

He disclosed that the said Chief Vincent Obinna Akpa who set up the Constitution Review Committee on the above-mentioned date remained the President General of the community since 1999 till date.

“The Constitution was duly amended to capture the interest of all the communities (zones) that made up the Eweze-Uburu Autonomous Community.

“It is worthy to note that Umumkpuma is second in seniority among all the communities that produced ‘Eze’ for the autonomous community was unanimously accepted but the former governor of the state, Engr David Umahi refused to give him a staff of office till his death in January 2023.

“Sequel to this, other communities in Eweze-Uburu agreed that Umumkpuma should produce another Ezeship stool since the other one was not formally recognised till his death, and has been done. And for power balancing, the Ihenu community retains the office of President General,” Ezenwa said.

The community people therefore urged Governor Nwifuru to recognise and give staff of office to their chosen Eze and as well restrain any person or groups under whatever guise trying to subvert and take over Umuchima Salt Lake.