From Jude Chinedu, Enugu
Aguobu Iwollo Community in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu has called on the state Governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to intervene in the leadership crisis rocking the community.
This call was made during a massive protest organized by members of the five villages which make up Aguobu Iwollo Community who are demanding the immediate removal of Igwe Goddy Ofodile as their traditional ruler.
They alleged that Ofodile manipulated himself into the position against the wish of the people and had remained in the position even despite a valid court order restraining him from parading himself as the traditional ruler of the community.
The protesting villagers marched round Ndibunagu, Obunagu, Amagu and Owolloti,
the villages that make up the community bearing placards with inscriptions: Chief Ofodile should stop parading himself as Igwe of Aguobu Iwollo; Chief Ofodile should give peace a chance in Aguobu.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, the eldest man in Amagu village, Ozo Ezeako Aniakor said that Ezeonyia village, from where Ofodile comes, being the most senior village had produced the first traditional ruler in the person of Igwe C. E. Achu and a Warrant Chief equivalent to an Igwe for Aguobu Iwollo Autonomous Community.
He recalled that the Aguobu Iwollo community drafted a constitution in 2005, when it became autonomous and that provided that the Igweship would be rotated amongst the five villages that make up the community.
“When it was the turn of the next most senior village which is Ndibunagu to produce the next traditional ruler of the community, Ofodile went behind and got the certificate of Igweship without the support of the people and he has refused to step aside despite opposition from other villages.”
He noted that the constitution of 2005 was intended to prevent previous villages that had produced an Igwe or his equivalent from producing an Igwe until those villages, which had never produced one have their turn.
A community member, Nichola Mbadugha said that Ofodile has to step aside and give peace a chance in order to allow the next village in line produce the ‘next traditional ruler for Aguobu Iwollo.
“There is no peace in our community because people are angry. We are divided more than ever before and we have not had progress ever since he stole that mandate”.
One of the youth leaders in the community, Engr. Ernest Aliozo said that the community had been held stagnant for over 15 years since Ofodile stole the mandate of the traditional ruler.
He said that Ofodile grabbed the certificate of traditional ruler of the community because of the connections he had in government and that he had not even done the traditional rites expected of traditional ruler.
“He was not the choice of the people, “he said. “Ofodile does not have the interest of our people at heart and that is why he could not do anything ever since he became the traditional ruler”.
He explained that the villages took the matter to the high court and secured victory from the court which sacked Ofodile as traditional ruler. “But out of selfish interest, he refused to step aside and took the matter to the Court of Appeal and we won him again” he explained.