Felix Ikem, Nsukka
Against the backdrop of rising tensions generated by the Igweship elections in the proposed autonomous communities of Enugu’s Nsukka zone, the Senior Adviser to the Governor on Market Matters, Hon. Chief Aniebonam Ezugwu, has called for an indefinite suspension of the elections across the southeastern state.
Ezugwu made this known on Sunday while addressing newsmen in Nsukka, stating that the crisis following the Igweship elections in some proposed autonomous communities in Nsukka local government is worrisome.
“I am calling the state government in my capacity as the Senior Adviser to the Governor on Market matters to suspend the purported Igweship elections going on across different communities in Enugu state,” the official stated.
“I believe that the way they are conducting the election, they will not be able to achieve anything. Rather, they will be causing trouble in the whole state. For now, it has been discovered that political hoodlums in the state who do not like the good works of our governor, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, are using this opportunity to distract our attention from what we are pursuing in terms of reelection bid of the Governor, come 2019.”
Asked what the state Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs had done to curb the crisis, Hon. Ezugwu expressed surprise that the Ministry was not aware of the said election.
“As I saw the ugly incident going on, I called the honourable Commissioner for Chieftaincy Affairs on phone, but he told me that the State does not know anything about the purported new autonomous communities’ Igweship elections. For that reason, they have no reason to conduct the elections that we are not aware of.”
The Special Adviser lamented that some individuals in collaboration with the Nsukka local government council had hijacked the conduct of the elections, which ordinarily would have been handled by the Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs, to the detriment of peace and security in the council area.
“The State cannot afford to sacrifice peace and security being enjoyed on the altar of Igweship elections in the proposed autonomous communities. The people who are supposed to be leading us in these proposed autonomous communities are the ones causing confusion. For instance, in my own local government and community, why would Nsukka local government hijack this election and misdirect people? Our tradition has it that after sharing anything, it is the eldest that will pick first before any other person, but that was not so in this election. They manipulated everything and muddled everything and that is why there is currently confusion everywhere. They removed names of candidates they felt were not their friends,” he explained.
On whether Nsukka local government was aware of the crisis, Hon. Ezugwu said he called the executive chairman of the local government, Hon. Patrick Omeje, informing him that the Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs had said they were not aware of the elections, though the elections were ongoing in some communities in the state.
“If there is any place that will be peaceful in this state, it should be Nsukka zone… That is why I am calling on the state government to put a hold on this election pending when we have a fertile ground for the said Igweship elections in the proposed autonomous communities,” Ezugwu advised.
He further called on the communities empowered by the state government with a N5 million grant to use the funds judiciously for the development of their communities.