The chieftaincy tussle in Ishi-ozalla Community, Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State is far from over as several members of the community have disowned an igweship election reportedly held recently.
DAILY POST reports that the aggrieved indigenes of the community, who described the purported election of a new traditional ruler in the area as unlawful, are asking the government not to give credence to the process.
They made their position known during a peaceful protest and presentation of position letters to offices of some security agencies in the State, the Enugu State House of Assembly, Office of the Attorney General of the State, Ministry of Chieftaincy Matters, among other relevant agencies and ministries.
Addressing newsmen, the Chairman of Edeaniagu Village, Mr. Christian Uzochukwu expressed surprise that some government functionaries were part of what he called the deceptive plan to impose an unpopular person on the community as their traditional ruler, regardless of the public outcry and rising insecurity in the area.
He lamented the ostracization of over five villages before the purported election, stating that they were committed to an all-inclusive election as instructed by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and urged the people to remain calm.
“Nobody will accept this kind of election they did today for the selection of any Igwe. It surprises me that even when the current PG was crying that there is no peace, that some people were even ostracized, they now put the PG by the side, PG that the government recognized, was not suspended, but they pushed him by the side and carried on with a selection of Igwe.
“Has the government stopped hearing the cries of the masses? I don’t think so. People heard and saw that happened, they pushed aside the PG, used his Deputy. I told them that the villages they ostracized are not part of their selection or election, that we are dissociating ourselves from it but they refused to give me an audience, for them to now write my name as part of those that participated and supported the election, that is fraud,” he lamented.
Another protester, Mr C. J. S. Okereke said the election and recognition of any person as the traditional ruler of Ishi-ozalla was null and void as the matter was in court and all the parties were duly served.
He expressed hope that the decision of the court on the said election and recognition might be different, noting that circumventing the decision of the court is a big offence in law.
Okereke declared that: “when this matter came up, I was briefed and I was thinking that the government will do justice to it. When it was obvious that they were not attending to the demand of the people, there was a suit filed at Agbani High Court, unfortunately that matter is still pending and I am hearing all these.
“Do they want to circumvent what the court will say later? Maybe the perpetrators of this injustice are trying to circumvent the law. I know that when the court resumes, the attitude of the court must be different from what we are seeing today.
“You ostracize a people and at the backdoor you elect or select somebody and expect that person to lord it over the ostracized. Is the person elected going to be the leader of those ostracized or those not ostracized?
“I intend to communicate a letter straight to His Excellency, the Governor of Enugu State because most of the letters earlier on written were hijacked by the way and never got to the office of His Excellency.”
Also speaking, another indigene of the community, Pastor Luke Eze wondered why the government officials excluded the town Union President of Ishi-Ozalla in the whole process, insisting that they will not recognize someone that was imposed on them.
Ishi-ozalla Community has been embroiled in crisis over alleged intimidation and ostracization of some people from the scheme of things.
Chief Sylvanus Okereke was recently elected Igwe by a faction of the community and was recognized by the State Government.