From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
A crisis is looming in Okpuno Egbu in Nnewi North, Anambra State, as a result of youths in the area protesting against alleged disrespect to the Obi of the community, Chief (Dr) Ifeanyi Orizu.
The youths took their protest to the palace of Obi of Umudim-Nnewi, His Highness, Chief Bennet Okafor, displaying placards with inscriptions that “warned against intimidation of the youths”.
Chairman of the youths Mr Okwudili Igboanugo, leading the protesters, alleged that a member of the community, Mr Austin Jideofor, had constituted himself as an impediment to the growth and progress of the community by allegedly showing interest in some leadership positions in the community against the will of the youths.
‘He is neither the Obi nor the chairman of our community yet he has been carrying on as an overlord in the community. We don’t want that,’ he stated.
‘His boys have been harassing innocent people in our community and only God knows the authority with which they are operating. We acknowledge that Jideofor is a member of this community but he should not dictate for us in Okpuno Egbu. He should allow us to have peace,’ Mr Igboanugo said.
Speaking in the same vein, the chairman of Okpuno Egbu community vigilance group, Mr Chinedu Oranusi, aka “Agu Anaedo”, said that roles and responsibilities were clearly spelt out for individuals in the community and that Mr Jideofor is neither the Obi nor the Chairman of the community and as such should concentrate on his private business.
‘If he is interested in becoming our chairman, he should wait for the election time to contest and, of course, we do not see him becoming the Obi. He should stop using his boys to cause confusion in our community.
‘He has instituted three different litigations against us and I can say with all sense of responsibility that he is giving us serious problems in the community,’ he further noted.
The Obi of Umudim-Nnewi, His Highness, Chief Bennet Okafor, commended the peaceful disposition of the youths during their protest. He asked them to continue to be peaceful.
The royal father assured the youths that he would take their grievances to the relevant authorities.
Reacting to the allegations, Mr Jideofor denied aspiring for any position. He said that being the chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Okpuno Egbu community, he is neither planning to become the Obi of his community nor is he aspiring to contest for the chairmanship position as non of the offices is a profitable venture. He said he only stood for peace and justice that had been misinterpreted by the youths. He noted that the youths had been misguided.
He also alleged that the protesting youths were only being used by certain individuals who were hell-bent on perpetuating injustice in the community.