COMMUNITY’S OPEN LETTER
Discipline Hon Tony Collins Nwabunwanne now
The new administration under His Excellency Charles Soludo is in its nascent stage, but most of the cabinet is in place and operating. One of the most important departments is that of Chieftaincy and Town Union Affairs. This department is important because it is the conduit in which the government directly touches the lives of the communities in Anambra State.
It is therefore important that any politician that occupies that seat must be astute with the temperament to handle the mundane tasks presented by the communities. To be the Commissioner that runs between the governors, the Igwes and the Town Union presidents, requires a seasoned politician that must weigh the instructions of the governor and marry the instructions with the needs of each community.
The current Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Town Union Affairs, is Honourable Tony Collins Nwabunwanne. Hon. Nwabunwanne is in charge of the Igwes and the PGs of each community in Anambra state. He is assigned the proprietorship of town Unions and the continuation and the transition of the government in areas of concern to the communities. That has not been the case. Hon. Nwabunwanne has been rampaging through towns and conducting elections to the chagrin of the communities he is commissioning.
Amichi is a case in point. Amichi is a community located in Nnewi South Local Government in Anambra state with stalwarts like Chidi Anyaegbu (Chisco Transport), Chief Simon Okeke (The former head of Police Service Commission), Eric Umeofia (Erisco Products), Chief Emmanuel Umeohia (Emmab International), Chief Mike Umeh (The former NFF vice-chairman), and His Royal Highness, Igwe Barrister Dr. Ofobuike Ezeoke (Igwe Amichi).
On 6th August 2022, Hon. Tony Collins Nwabunwanne conducted what was purported to be a town union election in Amichi. On 29, July 2022, Hon. Nwabunwanne sent a letter to Igwe Ezeoke to inform him that the Commissioner’s office intended to conduct Amichi PG election on 6th August 2022, and handed over the letter to Jeff Okeke, who insults Igwe on social media.
From what we gathered, Igwe Ofobuike wrote Hon. Nwabunwanne to inform him of the abruptness of the election without proper notice to all the villages. The letter secondly informed the Commissioner that the election was unnecessary because there is an already elected candidate awaiting affirmation by the union. Further, Chief Simon Okeke wrote the Commissioner informing him of the suddenness of the unnecessary election.
On 6th of August 2022, Nwabunwanne ignored Igwe’s order and the plea from Chief Simon Okeke and other concerned indigenes in Amichi and conducted Amichi PG election. That is not all; the Commissioner further employed the services of Unknown Gun Men (UGM) to assure that the election spat out his preferred candidate – Mr. Cletus Igbokwe.
Recall that Hon. Nwabunwanne had previously awarded the certificate of mandate as the PG of Amichi to the same Mr. Cletus Igbokwe, who had previously lost four legally conducted elections in Amichi. It was unnecessary to conduct the fifth election with UGM to assure that Hon. Nwabunwanne’s preferred candidate, Cletus Udebuani prevailed.
Our correspondents reported that they witnessed the UGM parading the Amichi town hall, brandishing their guns with masked faces, blocking and harassing Amichi indigenes who wished to vote for their candidate of choice. Jeff Okeke could be seen instructing the UGM to block the entrance of the town hall to avoid anyone opposed to his Cletus Udebuani from entering the hall, while proudly insulting the Igwe on video.
From what our sources gathered, there was no election. The other contestant, Evangelist Chukwuemeka Ezekiel Udogu was prevented from entering the town hall. All the supporters of Evang. Udogu were blocked from entering the hall by the UGM present at the scene. Evang. Udogu’s rights were violated. He was disenfranchised.
Our correspondent was able to locate a person who was willing to speak to him on condition of anonymity, “This is a war between Igwe Amichi and Chisco. Chisco wanted to show Igwe that he is in control of Amichi and used the unknown gunmen to stop Igwe’s people so that Chisco’s candidate would win. Chisco’s next target is the withdrawal of Igwe’s certificate. Chisco said that our governor Soludo has assured him that Igwe’s certificate of recognition will be withdrawn. Igwe Amichi is an American-trained lawyer, so I don’t know…”
From what our reporters gathered, Amichi was supposed to conduct Quarter elections, after which the names of the candidates were to be submitted to office of the Commissioner for certification. Amichi is divided into four Quarters – Okpala, Ezeudene, Afube, and Ebenasaa. Per agreement reached in 2016 by the town union, it was Okpala Quarter’s turn to produce the next candidate for affirmation by Amichi general. The problem was that Evangelist Chukwuemeka Ezekiel Udogu kept winning the primary elections. Cletus Igbokwe kept losing the elections. Okpala conducted its primary election on December 31, 2020. Evang. Udogu won. The Former Commissioner Greg Obi ordered another election for Okpala Quarter on 27th of April 2021. Evang. Ezekiel Emeka Udogu won again. Chisco’s candidate, Cletus Udebuani lost again.
On 10th July 2022, Hon. Nwabunwanne summoned Okpala Quarters in his office and mandated them to produce a consensus candidate for affirmation on or before 20th of August 2022. To monitor the Okpala election, the Commissioner’s office charged Okpala indigenes the sum of One Hundred Thousand Naira (#100,000), which was paid by Okpala. Again, Evang. Udogu prevailed in the election.
On 19th July, 2022, Okpala people presented Evang. Udogu to Hon. Nwabunwanne for recognition. Hon. Nwabunwanne ignored the election results because Chisco’s candidate did not prevail.
Without proper notice, Hon. Nwabunwanne wrote a letter to the Igwe insisting on another election. That was the 6th August election that caused the current unrest in Amichi. To assure that Chisco’s candidate of choice prevailed, the office of the commissioner, in connivance with Jeff Okeke and Chisco, hired UGM to forcefully elect Cletus Igbokwe. That was how the Commissioner secured the election of his candidate of choice, Cletus Igbokwe (sometimes known as “Cletus Udebuani” or “Cleson Udebuani”).
Information reaching us from our people on the ground is that Chisco Transport used his influence with the governor to hoist Chisco’s candidate of choice on the people of Amichi to prove to Igwe that Chisco controls Anambra State government. We were informed that Chisco is angry at Igwe because Chisco claims that Igwe insulted him.
Regardless of the reason behind the Amichi election charade, the government of Anambra State should never conduct a town union election with Unknown Gunmen parading the grounds of the election hall. This type of strong-arm tactics from Hon Nwabunwanne is the sort of action that generates chaos in a community. One wonders what would have happened if Igwe Amichi did not call off confrontation with the UGM. There would have been bloodshed.
We call on the Anambra State government and the office of the Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Town Union Affairs, to further refrain from acting in such reckless manner to avoid bloodshed in Anambra state communities. The towns should be allowed to peacefully elect their preferred candidates without the meddling of the government. Amichi saga is just a starting point.