From Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia
THE governorship crisis in Abia State has resonated in Ibeku Autonomous Community, in Umuahia North Local Government as Chief Uche Akwukwuegbu, (aka Bawas), traditional prime minister of Ibekuland has been stripped of his position.
Ibeku Consultative Forum announced the decision yesterday and said Akwukwuegbu cannot speak on their behalf in that capacity.
They stated that this was as a result of his role in a nine-point communique he read as a leader of a set of Abia elders, who called for immediate inauguration of Dr Uche Ogah as the governor of Abia State following a court order.
According to the Chairman of the forum, Professor Joshua Ogbonnaya, who briefed newsmen in Umuahia, “Akwukwuegbu is not the traditional prime minister of Ibeku,”
But, in a swift reaction, Akwukwuegbu told newsmen in Umuahia he remains the traditional prime minister and that the forum has no power to strip him of the position.
He said the forum has no power to remove him because the kingship stool of Ogurube is older than the forum and it was the Ogurube that installed him and no other person could remove him from the position.
If they tried, they would incur the wrath of Ibeku people, Akwukwuegbu said.
He said he could only be removed when he is found to have committed any offence, but in this case, he has not done anything to warrant what they are saying, just because he is a member of the same party but with a different interest.
“Ibeku people are not PDP alone, there are prominent people of Ibeku who belong to other parties, we did not bury ourselves in one political party and even so, I have been supporting Ogah right from primary, and I will keep supporting him,” and added, “even the former governor knows that.”
Earlier, Professor Ogbonnaya said Akwukwuegbu “is not the traditional prime minister of Ibeku”, and so had no right to speak on their behalf, supporting Ogah, when actually they were in support of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, the governor.
He said the forum, accompanied by their president general, Chief Onwunaruwa Onuoha and members of the executive paid a solidarity visit to Governor Ikpeazu yesterday to assure him of the loyalty and support of Ibeku people.
Meanwhile, a chieftain of PDP in Abia South Senatorial Zone, Dr. Bernard Orji, said the tussle will be in the interest of the state for Ogah to allow the people of Abia South to complete their tenure.
He based his assertion on the 1981 Abia Charter of Equity instituted by the founding fathers of the state.