Oba indigenes sue for transparent, peaceful town union election

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  • Urges Community To Resist Attempt To Truncate December Election

By Polycarp Ifeanyi, Onitsha 

As the election of Oba Patriotic Union (OPU) Executive gathers momentum, a group of Oba indigenes in Idemili South Local Government Area, Anambra State have passionately implored group or agencies connected to the conduct of the election to strictly adhere to the laid down and guidelines of the Constitution of Oba Patriotic Union (OPU).

The group under the aegis of Oba Global Initiative (OGI) as well called on all well-meaning people of Oba to resist any attempt to truncate the election which is billed to hold on December 31, 2023.

They also said that any attempt to rig or manipulate the election could lead to a breakdown of law and order in Oba Community.

A press release by the group which is an Association of Oba indigenes residing both in Nigeria and in diaspora and signed by its Board of Trustees (BOT) Chairman, Dr. Obiora Anyoku, noted that the mission of the Association is to promote peace and development in Oba through advocacy and interventions.

Anyoku pointed out that his members and indeed all well-meaning people of Oba are deeply concerned over the turn of events in the town as regards the appointment of an Interim Town Union Government ( ITUG) for Oba on April 1, 2023 by the Anambra State Commissioner for local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affairs.

According to him, the Interim Town Union Government were given terms of reference which included; that they will take critical steps to reconcile the different factions in the Community and restore the spirit of oneness for a more unified peaceful co-existence in the Community, to put in place, a structure that will ensure acceptable and prepare ground for the successful conduct of election into the executive position of Oba Patriotic Union by December 2023, which must be observed by officials from the State and Local Government.

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Also, that the Interim Town Union Government will function for a few months from April 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023 when election will be conducted in line with the Community’s Constitution of Oba Patriotic Union.

“The ITUG mandate is , therefore, specific and achievable within the time frame given to it by the Government. Ordinarily, the Oba Patriotic Union ( OPU) Executive election should be a breeze given the rotational arrangement entrenched in the OPU Constitution and the precedents over the years”

“In this present election cycle, the office of the President-General is zoned to Umuogali zone while the office of the Secretary-General is zoned to Isu zone. Similarly, other offices are zoned to different zones. This Constitutional zoning arrangement is to ensure equity and inclusiveness in the administration of the town.” Said Anyoku.

The Board of Trustees ( BOT) Chairman further stated that, ” The OPU Executive election is scheduled to hold on December 31,2023 but, as a prelude to this, all manner of intrigues and plots have been reportedly hatched by individuals and groups with vested interests to ensure that their preferred candidate emerged as the President-General”

This is because whoever becomes the next President-General will play a critical role in the selection of the next Eze Okpoko Oba. In view of all that is presently happening in Oba and the need to sue for peace and harmony, the OGI deemed it necessary to address this press conference at this time”

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Dr. Anyoku declared that, ” The OGI hereby call on all indigenes to respect and abide by the OPU Constitution, particularly the zoning arrangement entrenched in it and, to desist from interfering or tampering with the candidate selection processes in the zones. The zones should have a free hand to select their preferred candidates for the offices zoned to them by the OPU Constitution”

The OGI condemn all attempts by certain individuals, groups and agencies to nominate or sponsor independent candidates to compete with candidates who were democratically chosen by their zones. The spirit and letter of the OPU Constitution do not envisage independent candidates therefore, the prerogative of the zones to select their preferred candidates through a democratic process and in accordance with the OPU Constitution should be respected”

The OGI recognizes that, in accordance with the OPU Constitution, officers are zoned to zones and not to individuals. Therefore, the zones reserve full prerogative to select one of their own to serve the tenure zoned to it without interference from persons or groups outside the zones”

” The OGI is of the candid opinion that section 20.3 (a) of the OPU Constitution which states that “a candidate for election to an office shall obtain a nomination form and be nominated by two members from two financial up-to-date Umunna”  refers to the Umunna within the zone to which an office has been zoned . In other words, the two members who may nominate a candidate must come from two financially up-to-date Umunna within the zone and not from any Umunna outside the zone.”

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” The OGI calls on all indigenes of Oba , especially the ITUG and all other groups to give unfettered support and cooperation to the OPU Executive Electoral Committee in order to ensure a peaceful and successful election. The OGI calls on security, governmental and non-governmental agencies assigned to the OPU election to handle their election duties professionally and impartially in order to ensure a seamless election”

” The OGI urgess the OPU Executive Electoral Committee and the Returning Officer to conduct a transparent, free and fair OPU election whose outcome will reflect the will of a majority of the people of Oba so as to avoid rancor and to restore normalcy in the administration of the town”

“The OGI implored all individuals, groups or agencies connected either directly or indirectly with this upcoming OPU election to please adhere strictly to the rules and laid down guidelines and, be mindful of the fact that any attempt to rig or manipulate this election could lead to a breakdown of law and order in Oba. The OGI also hereby call on the well-meaning people of Oba to resist and thwart any attempt to truncate the December 31, 2023 OPU election” Anyoku concluded.

Commenting shortly, the former President-General of Oba, Chief  Ifeatu Uzowulu affirmed that Oba was not in crises when government initiated Interim Town Union Government ( ITUG), saying that people who planned it were afraid that they might not be favoured in election.

He recalled that the former President-General already made arrangements for election before he died, reiterating that nothing warranted the Interim Town Union Government in Oba.

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