By Uzo Ugwunze
As the Oba community in Idemili South, Anambra State prepares to get their next traditional ruler, an aspirant, Chief Barr. Vincent Ananti(Ananepungwu) has appealed to the Oba Patriotic Union (OPU) not to exclude Isu village from participating in the Igweship selection.
It would be recalled that Isu Welfare Association presented candidates to represent Isu Quarters in the EzeOkpoko II general selection/election on two occasions, the second list was outrightly rejected by OPU while the first list was put on hold.
Speaking to newsmen at his country home, Isu village, Oba, Chief Ananti said that the presentation of two unanimous candidates from Isu quarters to the OPU electoral committee for the Igweship selection suffered a stalemate.
Ananti however requested OPU leadership to recourse to the initial list submitted to them which included Chief Okwuduba Anyaorah(Ijele Oba) as the number one candidate and Chief Vincent Ananti (Ananepungwu Oba) as the alternate candidate representing Isu quarters.
Ananti maintained that the said list endorsed and submitted on January 12, 2022, according to Oba community Constitution is valid, followed due process and was acceptable by the Isu screening/selection committee and by OPU.
“Isu is important in the equation of Oba. OPU has given Isu ample opportunity to present their candidates because they want an inclusive election. I believe in Providence. I came from America to answer a call.
“A 56-man Isu Igweship Primaries Screening committee headed by Mr Victor Uchendu and comprising of Ichies &Chiefs, Isu leaders of Thought, Isu Welfare Association (I WA) executives, 15 kindred Chairmen & Secretaries, 3 Quarters Chairmen, Abroad branch Chairmen, Youth Representatives was constituted.
“After a thorough screening exercise involving every segment of Isu villages, four persons out of the six of us who picked the EzeOkpoko II candidate forms were not qualified. And My brother Okwuduba Anyaorah remains qualified.
“Some of the aspirants appealed against their disqualification, a 6-man Appeal committee upheld their disqualifications for obvious reasons.
“The question of who becomes the number one candidate arose. Isu Ichies & Chiefs pleaded with me to concede the first position to my brother Anyaorah while I become the alternate candidate, which I did in the interest of peace.
“I made the concession and sacrifice to avoid violence or bloodshed bearing in mind that Igweship is not a do or die affair.
“The IWA President, Chief Sir Osita Ubadi advised I and Anyaorah to enter a written agreement, stating who is the number one candidate and alternate candidate, which we did.
“The IWA President held a press conference announcing the outcome of the Isu primaries and submitted the duly signed documents to OPU thereby complying with Section 5 Subsection 4 of Oba Constitution,” said Ananti.
Chief Ananti claimed that the January 28 2022 Isu election which saw the emergence of Chief Okwuduba Anyaorah as the winner and Chief Emmanuel Nwanegbo as runner up was not necessarily saying that was why Ananti boycotted the election.
According to Ananti, ‘OPU rejected the outcome/list of that election because they found out that it was not in compliance with any guideline. How can candidates not qualified partake in an election?
“OPU told IWA they were not duly informed about an election but for the formal presentation of the two qualified candidates earlier submitted in the initial list which included Chief Okwuduba Anyaorah and Chief Barr. Vincent Ananti is still in OPU’s possession,” said Ananti.
Ananti stated:” Since the election has been cancelled, Isu Quarters should not be excluded. I am appealing to OPU to please accept the two names initially sent via a valid and acceptable process”.
” My message to my kinsmen, Isu people: For Providence’s sake, let reason prevail. Eschew bitterness, let us do what the law requires. What we did on the 11th and 12th January 2022 was valid and acceptable by Isu and OPU”, Ananti reiterated.