Ekwulobia stakeholders disown Igwe Onyeneke, appeal for peace

Cross section of Ekwulobia Peoples Assembly

——– and Prof Uba Nwuba’s connection


By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu

Stakeholders in Ekwulobia community, Aguata local government area have asked the Anambra State government to come to their rescue on the several man made crisis rocking the community by supporting the truth and nothing but the truth for the community to record progress.

Cross section of Ekwulobia Peoples   Assembly
Cross section of Ekwulobia Peoples Assembly

President General of Ekwulobia Peoples Assembly, Engr Emeka Maduabuchi and the Secretary General, Vincent Okoli signed the document detailing the shortcomings of the traditional ruler, Igwe Onyeneke Emmanuel while others spoke at a world press conference on the state of the community at EPA Secretariat at the stadium complex, Ekwulobia.

The press conference was attended by representative of all the Villages in Ekwulobia, students union , Ekwulobia Youths Organization and Ekwulobia Women Council among other stakeholders.

President General EPA
President General EPA

The statement read in part: ‘’On our internal affairs of Ekwulobia, we are on a morally-driven war on misrule/evil precipitated on Ekwulobia by Igwe Onyeneke, make no mistake about it, good will prevail. We are fighting evil, we will continue to fight evil and we will not stop until we defeat evil. In the midst of the misrule, we remain committed to do our utmost to ensure that we are governed by the rule of law. We all desire a society where there is equity and justice and not oppression and aggression. God willing, we will not despair until we build that Ekwulobia of our collective dreams, our bastion of hope!

‘’I am truly delighted to warmly welcome the members of the Press (fourth estate of the realm) to this press conference on the state of affairs in our great town Ekwulobia, the issues/challenges and use the opportunity offered by the occasion to diffuse some falsehood peddled by the Traditional Ruler of Ekwulobia – Igwe Emmanuel Chukwukadibia Onyeneke, during his press briefing on 17 September 2019, on Ekwulobia administration.

On Gully Erosion, they said ‘’Umuchiana gully erosion which had rendered over 200 Ekwulobia people homeless in the past is gradually becoming active again. The erosion control barriers installed by Anambra State govt in the past are being breached and if nothing is done to stop the propagation, what happened in the past will be a childs play. There are also pockets of gully erosion building up at Ula and Eziagulu villages in Ekwulobia. While our various villages are doing a lot in controlling the menace of gully erosion by constructing new catchment pits and de-silting existing ones, we are asking Anambra state govt for expedited intervention, to ensure that Ekwulobia people do not again become refugees in the own town.

‘’On our own part, we are articulating a bill to be sent to Anambra State House of Assembly, through our representative in the House, Hon Dr Okey Okoye and the bill will be seeking a pathway to sustainable and lasting solutions to the endemic gully erosion problems in Anambra State.

On the Ekwulobia General Hospital, ‘’The services offered at the General Hospital Ekwulobia at this time is skeletal at best, this is further exacerbated by the fact that there is no access road to the hospital. The promise from Anambra State govt in the past is that this hospital will be fully built and equipped as a specialist hospital after the general hospitals at Awka and Onitsha have been completed. This promise is yet to fruition. Of greater concern is that there is no Eye and Dental services at the hospital and the Doctors residential quarters are in a bad state and therefore not occupied. While we thank the govt of Anambra State for recognising Ekwulobia General hospital as one of the hospitals to be upgraded to a specialist hospital in Anambra State, we are pleading with Anambra State govt to give the hospital the desired attention, so that healthcare delivery will be at the doorsteps of Ekwulobia people.

On Roads & Traffic Congestion in Ekwulobia: ‘’The traffic congestion at Ekwulobia Roundabout has become an issue, even at alarming dimension during festive seasons. The only Ihuokpala Umuchi Agba Abogwume bypass road, tarred in the past by Anambra state govt is in a very horrible state of disrepair. While thanking the govt of Anambra state for awarding the Bishop Court Road and the General Hospital road, we plead that expedited actions be taken to complete the roads. We are also pleading with Anambra state govt to fix the existing bypass road and construct the other very critical Abogwume Umuchiana and Agba Eziagulu Ula Amalufor bypass roads, to ease the traffic congestion at Ekwulobia road about. The govt should also take steps to repair the broke points and potholes on the key arterial roads in Ekwulobia

Speaking on Street Lights: ‘’The street lights along some major roads in Ekwulobia are working optimally and helping to improve security delivery in Ekwulobia. For this, we thank Anambra State govt immensely. However, we are asking the Govt to extend street lights to other major roads in Ekwulobia.

Also on Anambra State Community Choose Your Project Initiative: ‘’Ekwulobia benefitted from the Phase 1 and Phase 2 of this initiative and for this, we thank His Excellency Dr Willie Obiano, the Governor of Anambra State for this gesture. However, it is noteworthy that for the Phase 1 project, while other towns spent their money on projects in their communities and exclusively for their communities, the Traditional Ruler of Ekwulobia Igwe Emmanuel Onyeneke connived with his stooges masquerading as Ekwulobia town union govt to spend the N20m on a small building inside Aguata Sports Stadium Ekwulobia.

‘’For the phase 2 intervention fund, the story is different. Again a small building was erected but this time, at the site of Ekwulobia Civic Centre. It will be recalled that at the Civic Centre site, through the efforts of EPA, materials including trailer loads of reinforcement rods of various sizes, thousands of blocks, hundreds of trips of sand and aggregates (stones) were stock-piled for the civic centre project. When Igwe Onyeneke and his stooges collected the N20m, instead of using the money to buy building materials for the project, Igwe Onyeneke instructed his contractor to divert the materials stock-piled at the site and used it for the building beside the Civic Centre. What they did, we are still shocked to call it by its true name. We are therefore asking Anambra State govt to:
Request Igwe Onyeneke and his group to refund to EPA, the cost of the materials removed from our stockyard. The cost of the materials is estimated at N8m.
Undertake a comprehensive audit of the two projects to determine how the funds were deployed.

On Appointments by Government of Anambra State: ‘’We wish to thank the Governor of Anambra State for finding some sons and daughters of Ekwulobia worthy of appointment as Special Advisers within his govt. However, our expectation as a town is that as one of the major and strategic towns in Anambra State, we deserve to have a Commissioner in the Governors Cabinet. We are therefore requesting from His Excellency the Governor of Anambra state that should a vacant position in his Cabinet, an Ekwulobia person should be appointed into that position

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on New Eke Market Ekwulobia: ‘’The new Eke market Ekwulobia has been completed in a most shabby form without any facilities no toilets, no fire service access, no waste management facilities, etc. to the extent that people living in the vicinity of the market are suffering untold hardship from the absence of waste management facilities especially human waste. This is not in line with the drive by her Excellency Dr (Mrs) Ebele Obiano to provide conveniences for the people of Anambra state.

‘’More worrying is the fact that the shops numbering over 1700 built at the market built by Anambra state govt for Ekwulobia people have been sold out by agents masquerading as Anambra State govt, at the instance of Igwe Onyeneke. We are struggling to come to terms that a piece of land donated by poor villagers to Ekwulobia for a market, has been sold off without consideration of Ekwulobia people. All efforts by EPA to streamline issues on the market with Anambra state govt have been frustrated by Igwe Onyeneke and he is more content in securing a piece of land at the market and building his Plaza of shops. Ekwulobia people including market women have been intimidated to submission by agents of Igwe Onyeneke, masquerading as Anambra state govt officials. Ekwulobia market women no longer have a place to sell their local produce, they have to pay more to the agents of Igwe Onyeneke before they can sell their produce. Recently the information reaching us from Igwe Onyenekes palace is that new Eke Ekwulobia market now belongs to Anambra state government, even as monies for buying the shops are being paid into an individuals private account. This is a joke of the century! We are therefore requesting for the following:
Market leadership of the New Eke Market Ekwulobia to stop immediate sale of the shops and warn people to desist from buying the shops
Governor of Anambra state to institute an investigation into the deals happening in the market and communicate to Ekwulobia people on how new Eke market Ekwulobia suddenly became New Eke Government market, without recourse to Ekwulobia people.

Ekwulobia Internal Affairs

‘’We have watched in utter dismay, the way and manner the Traditional Ruler of Ekwulobia town Igwe Onyeneke has become a big threat to our existence and survival as a people. It is common knowledge that there are many flights of the growth and development ladder that we are supposed to have ascended as a town but he found dignity wallowing in impunity and flagrant display of power, all of which has retarded our progress. Ever since his coronation in December 2008, there has not been peace in Ekwulobia! We have been under siege as he seeks control of all administrative structures at all costs, by whatever means, not minding the injury to democratic observances and norms. For him, everything goes!

‘’Nonetheless, by the actions of our people over these years as we will outline shortly, we have showcased our strong resolve as a town not to give ground to his aggression and oppression. With the collective actions of our people, we have stood our grounds to defend our internal democracy and say NO to absolute Monarchy. Such has no place in Ekwulobia! With the strength of will demonstrated by Ekwulobia people against the arbitrary show of power and militaristic might by Igwe Onyeneke, the siege has been shaken to its foundation and we will not relent until it falls. There is a silver lining in the dark cloud over the horizon and that silver lining is the unalloyed commitment of Ekwulobia people to trudge on with their democracy. We are excited and encouraged by the strength, determination and their dogged resolve to see that democracy thrives and the effort of Igwe Onyeneke to conscript Ekwulobia people as his slaves has not worked and will never work.

Constitution of Ekwulobia
‘’On 17 September 2019, Igwe Onyeneke in a press briefing said that Ekwulobia had no constitution until he was coronated in 2008. This is false! This statement amounts to insulting the sensibilities of the good people of Ekwulobia. The falsehood begs the question on whether the past President Generals (men of repute) before 2008 superintended on the affairs of a great town like Ekwulobia Town without a constitution.

‘’For clarity, Ekwulobia Town is being governed by The 1994 Reviewed Constitution of Ekwulobia Peoples Assembly (EPA), containing both the political and traditional provisions for her governance. This constitution was used for Igwe Onyenekes election in 2008, his presentation to Aguata Local Govt Council, Anambra State Government and coronation were all in line with the provisions of this constitution. In 2009, a case was made to Ekwulobia General Assembly on the need to undertake a comprehensive review of the constitution.

“A 59-man Constituent Assembly was consequently inaugurated by the President General of Ekwulobia Peoples Assembly Dr Mike Ukwuoma Eze, to undertake the review. On completion of the review, the signing into law of the constitution named The 2010 Constitution of Ekwulobia Town was fraught with irregularities as Igwe Onyeneke hijacked the process and refused that the constitution be presented to Ekwulobia General Assembly for adoption. This act forced the President General of EPA and some concerned individuals to seek redress in court and challenged him on his plans to sign the constitution into law, without complying with the provision of the 1994 constitution that the 2010 constitution sought to replace.

“During the pendency of the suit and after the constitution was signed into law, it was discovered that Igwe Onyeneke had even comprehensively doctored the contents of the 2010 constitution submitted to him by the Constituent Assembly, to give himself absolute powers. These mutilations were unknown to the signatories to the constitution including the Chairman of the 59-man Constituent Assembly, a Professor of repute. Not even a plea from the Professor to Igwe Onyeneke to back pedal given that the work submitted to him has been doctored massively, could make him (Igwe Onyeneke) to retrace his steps. Vide a consent agreement between the plaintiffs and defendants in a suit praying to set aside the 2010 constitution, Aguata High Court Ekwulobia, on 3 June 2013 set aside the 2010 constitution in a consent judgment. Igwe Onyeneke appealed the judgment to the Court of Appeal Enugu and on 11 June 2015, the Court of Appeal upheld the ruling of the Aguata High Court Ekwulobia. The Appeal Court judgment amongst other things and in regret to Igwe Onyenekes antithesis to peace, observed that:

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‘’Evidently, this appeal is an exercise in futility. It is an exercise aimed to massage the ego of the appellant. The respondents who instituted the suit at the lower court and the defendants in their wisdom agreed to settle their dispute but the appellant who is the Traditional Ruler and ought to be encouraging amicable settlement is the one trying to frustrate settlement.

‘’It is well understood that Igwe Onyeneke did not want to mention the legal processes that his 2010 constitution had gone through and how the constitution ended in the trash bin of history!

Ekwulobia Motor Park Shops

‘’Ekwulobia Peoples Assembly vide a consent court judgment in January 2002 in a case between her and Aguata Local Govt Council was awarded ownership of 159 shops at the Ekwulobia Motor Park, with Aguata LG Council owning 104 shops through the same judgment. Aguata LG Council had since sold off their shops to interested individuals within and outside Ekwulobia. EPA efforts to take delivery of her shops have been frustrated by Igwe Onyeneke, he is now in concert with the tenants in the shops to further frustrate EPA from taking delivery of the shops. In 2013, EPA took the tenants on the shops to court and worn the case in 2018. Upon EPA application to enforce the judgment, Igwe Onyeneke applied to be joined in the case, claiming that he is the rightful owner of the shops as the Tradition Ruler of Ekwulobia. This application is still pending in the court as we speak. Good news is that out of the 159 shops some uncompleted, Aguata LG Council in about 2012, completed 32 shops belonging to EPA, to be allegedly shared among her cronies. On completion of the work, EPA took delivery of the shops. Those 32 shops are currently being managed by a firm via a power of Administration between her and EPA. In effect, the balance 159 shops minus 32 shops (= 127 shops) is still the subject of the ongoing court suit which Igwe Onyeneke applied to be joined but true to his typical life of lies, he stated during his press briefing that EPA has been collecting rents from the 159 shops!

Conferment of Chieftaincy Titles

‘’Since 2008 when Igwe Onyeneke was coronated to date, he has conferred over 150 chieftaincy titles to underserving people in Ekwulobia, all the people so conferred with chieftaincy titles were solely nominated by him. Conferment of chieftaincy titles which is designed to reward people who have significantly contributed to the development of the town both in physical and human capital development terms has unfortunately been proliferated and commercialised for his personal benefit. A couple of people who have helped him to precipitate crisis in the federating villages have been honoured with chieftaincy titles. His target is to build an army of chiefs who will be doing his bidding in the villages and abroad branches.

Balkanisation of Ekwulobia Town Structures

‘’In his effort to enthrone absolute Monarchy in Ekwulobia, Igwe Onyeneke has tried to destroy all structures of governance in Ekwulobia by engineering crisis among the organs of governance in Ekwulobia. He has created parallel TOWN UNION govt, parallel UMUADA organisation, parallel WOMEN COUNCIL organisation, parallel YOUTH organisation, etc. Because decisions at EPA are made by the federating organs, Igwe Onyeneke has tried to use his cronies to institute parallel administrations in the villages and federating branches but all these his efforts have come to nothing. His plan to commercialise the ancient Achukwu masquerade institution in Ekwulobia by asking the masquerades to open a bank account failed woefully.

Crash Insensitivity

‘’It is glaring that Igwe Onyeneke is very insensitive to the feelings of Ekwulobia people. In June 2019, one of the villages – Agba village organised a very peaceful protest to complain about the horrible state of the General Hospital road which passed through the village, after repetitive calls to the govt to fix the road. Igwe Onyeneke in his very insensitive style, declared during his press briefing that there was no such protest, that the placards on the internet were contrived by the opposition. He mentioned that he has apologised to the Governor on behalf of the town. This is the height of insensitivity.

Peace Initiatives in Ekwulobia

‘’There have been many peace initiatives in Ekwulobia, at the end of the day, all ending at the doorsteps of Igwe Onyeneke because the various outcome did not satisfy his self-serving motives. The latest one was in 2016. All the ordained men of God, both Catholics, Anglicans and Pentecostals, of Ekwulobia extraction and those working in Ekwulobia came together at the instance of a member of the Traditional Institution to prosecute peace. After one year of work, they reported out their findings and recommendations to Ekwulobia people at the Stadium Complex Ekwulobia on 31 December 2016. Their report was well received and accepted by Ekwulobia people. Igwe Onyeneke accepted the report as a working document, in the full view of Ekwulobia people. An interim govt made up of 2 representatives from each of the 9 federating villages was formed on the day, to handle the political administration of the town and deepen the peace process. The composition of the members of the Committee to draft a new constitution for Ekwulobia was also agreed by Ekwulobia people. Four days later, Igwe Onyeneke wrote a letter rejecting the report, asking the Peace Committee to go and seek the permission of the court before continuing the peace process. He rejected the interim govt, set up a parallel kangaroo executive for the town union and used some influential politicians in Ekwulobia to procure a letter of recognition from Anambra state govt for his kangaroo executive council. It is this kangaroo executive that he is flaunting around as the Exco of the town union. A joke!

Security

‘’Igwe Onyeneke has continued to run the security apparatus in Ekwulobia like his private army. The federating villages has no input into the security arrangements. He hires and fires vigilante people as he deems fit and sends his security after his perceived opposition. The 2007 Law of Anambra state is very clear on the formation of security structure in any town but Igwe Onyeneke runs Ekwulobia security in defiance to the provisions of this law.

‘’Let us use this opportunity to invite all of you to the maiden edition of Ekwulobia Cultural Carnival coming up during 15 17 November 2019, it will be a showcase of our pride as a people. A committee has been set up for it under the Chairmanship of Mr Paul Oguekemma and Mr Titus Okafor as Secretary. We will send the invitations to you with the detailed plans in due course and trust that you will help us to give the program the widest publicity.

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Corroborating the President’s address, a former President- General of Ekwulobia Peoples Assembly, Prof. Michael Okwuoma-Eze said that the town is in crisis because the traditional ruler has made a remarkable mistake borne out his greed and wants.

He however expressed respite for the presence of the Aguata High Court which has brought justice nearer to the people of Ekwulobia stressing that the presence of the court has prevented major crisis in Ekwulobia that could have resulted in destruction of properties.

While in his vote of thanks, Barr. Okwuchukwu Okeke described the situation in Ekwulobia as a constitutional crisis where the traditional ruler had wanted to make a draconic constitution that is only convenient to him.

He blamed the government for paying deaf ears to the yearnings and complaints of the people of Ekwulobia. He urged them to conduct a referendum for the two parallel bodies to avail the town people an opportunity to once again decide who be their president.

Ekwulobia Women leader, Mrs. Caroline Ezeokonkwo also lauded the President’s commitment to the fight to deliver Ekwulobia people from the criminal group that only want to pocket Ekwulobia and the things of Ekwulobia adding that their only motive is to embezzle what is meant for the people of Ekwulobia.
As well , another former President General of Ekwulobia, Chief Paulinus Mbamalu Obiadada confirmed that the contents of the press conference by Ekwulobia Town Union leadership (EPA) led by Engr Emeka Maduabuchi were correct. He suggested that peace can only return to Ekwulobia if Igwe Onyeneke does the right things which he has personally told him.

CURRENT INFORMATION ON PEACE OF EKWULOBIA

Meanwhile, a former Rector of federal polytechnic Oko, Prof Ephraim Ifeanyichukwu Uba Nwuba in a personal letter to the Igwe frowned at his stance against peace in the community.

The letter read thus: ‘’I apologized and mended fences with Igwe Ekwulobia in January/February 2019. Igwe is my friend and will remain my friend. But I was totally was totally disappointed when he rebuffed peace move after these long period of troubles and said:

‘’ The constitution is very good and should not be touched. There are no agreed recommendations of the peace committees for implementation.

‘’In other words the status quo (divide and rule) will remain. This shocked me to the narrow for I did not know or imagine that any human being in Ekwulobia would want Ekwulobia to remain without peace after 10 years and TWO months in Darkness. And for this to come from Igwe Ekwulobia is still my friend, I pray for him regularly; but I grossly disagree with him on this. Ekwulobia requires peace and cannot remain this way for too long.

‘’Igwe Ekwulobia was disappointed when I joined the Ekwulobia people to ask for the step down of 2010 constitution in court. He expected me to dance along with him, when he had completely defaced the constitution which my Assembly produced. He sat on his throne and reviewed the draft constitution against our recommendation, handled the document after review and printed the document by himself.


We signed the constitution because we are anxious to obtain a working constitution for Ekwulobia. We thought we were dealing with civilized human beings. Not knowing that is a single stage the constitution was altered to enthrone a monarch. A monarch is a single man ruler in charge of both the traditional institution and the Administration of a town. This is what is talking place in Ekwulobia today. The current President of so- called Ekwulobia Development Union is a puppet put there to do the will of the monarch.

‘’The constitution is being presented as written by Prof Uba Nwuba. Prof Uba Nwuba is not a dunce. Igbos by tradition are democratic, we have no king. The traditional Igwe is introduced by the Government and his duty is clearly stated by the state Government.

What is happening today in Ekwulobia is terribly ridiculous where the majority is set aside and 5% of the population is used by the monarch to exploit the town. Igwe Ekwulobia is my friend but I cannot keep quiet when this type of thing is happening in my dear town and my name is being paraded as the writer of the constitution for monarchy; when every village dunce knows that monarchy cannot work in igbo land.

‘’I write this to empower the Ekwulobia populace with current information. Now I have completed that assignment.

‘’Solution: I know some will ask for solution. The solution to this complex problem is a tactical matter. It will not come from one head and is not for public consumption.

It would be recalled that the traditional ruler of Ekwulobia community, Igwe Emmanuel Onyeneke, had in a press conference in his palace in preparation for the funeral of the traditional prime minister of Ekwulobia, Dr Gabriel Ezeukwu blamed the lingering crisis in his kingdom on the social media.


He said the opposition in the community had used the social media to propagate hate and bigotry, thereby prolonging the communal feud.
He said the crisis would have ended long ago if not for the sustained propaganda on the social media by the opposition.


The monarch regretted that the prime minister died without peace returning to the community, which he championed.


The monarch stated, “Opposition within the town union is as old as the formation of the first organised improvement union over 80 years ago.
“Going down the memory lane, the late Chief Gabriel Nnaike of Umuchiana, the leader of the first improvement union, was disgraced by the people of Ekwulobia, whom he served with dedication and honesty.


“As a result, he was very sad and since then, the trend has been repeating itself. This attitude of casting aspersions on anyone at the leadership of the town by the Ekwulobia people continues to recycle itself and has even modernised its operation with the emergence of the Internet.


“Apart from our attitude and ingratitude to our leaders, another factor, which I identified when I had my coronation, was the absence of a town constitution as required by the laws of the state.


“Ekwulobia only operated development union, improvement union and peoples’ assembly constitutions, which were not powered by any town statute.


“Women, children and persons under 18 years were legally excluded in those constitutions. Membership was optional.


“The only constitution Ekwulobia has ever had as a town is the Constitution of Ekwulobia Town, 2010, which was drafted by a 59-member constituent assembly representing all the federating villages, Diaspora branches, women, youths and other stakeholders.”

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