Ugbene community in Awka North local government area, Anambra State has elected Chief Samson Chimakwa as their new traditional ruler to pilot the affairs of the community.
Chief Chimakwa emerged victorious with ten votes, the highest in the keenly contested election which took place at the Ugbene Central School field.
Three other contestants were Mr. Okechukwu Okoye with two votes, Chief Jonas Irene Okeluo with one vote and Chief Aaron Onwelukwue with one vote respectively.
It was gathered that the people of Ugbene having lost their traditional ruler five years ago trooped to the election ground in the early hours of Saturday to actively participate in the election that will produce their next king even though the voters constituted only 21 king makers constitutionally selected to vote on behalf of the six villages that make up the community.
A team of government officials led by the Special Assistant to the Governor on Chieftaincy matters and community affairs, Chief Sir Benjamin Omerua while declaring Chief Chimakwa winner said that the election was free and fair.
He described Ugbene as a peace loving community that has chosen the right path having chosen their leader peacefully. He urged the people of the community to join hands and support the newly elected king.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the election, the President General of the Community, Chief Emmanuel Nwude said that the community started the journey of the election late December last year when it was agreed that the town will use the constitution to rule the town as well as produce a new king.
He urged the people of Ugbene to give the newly elected king the maximum support he needs to excel and also maintain the already existing peace in the community. He reiterated his commitment at ensuring that the people of Ugbene gain the attention it deserves from the government even as his tenure as president general has attracted government presence in the community including schools and police station.
Addressing the teeming supporters, the Igwe -elect, chief Samson Chimakwa attributed his victory to God Almighty. He said: “ I am honored to be elected as the traditional ruler of Ugbene Community. It is not easy for a community to conduct a peaceful election where all the candidates are satisfied with the outcome. At the end of the election, every indigene of the community was in jubilant mood showing that I did not emerge from the back door. Likewise when I was the President General of the community, it was the people that beckoned on me to be their PG.
“The people did not elect me because of my power but due to the character they saw in me. I never expected being the new Igwe of Ugbene but it is God that Crowns king” he said.
He assured the people that his tenure will attract development of the community but urged them to join hands and support his tenure so as to move the community forward.
Meanwhile, the town union secretary, Hon. Ibe Emmanuel Esq described the event as historic adding that it is a privilege to witness a new Igwe in the community. He said that the election was very peaceful and bereft of crisis and rancour.
He lauded the efforts of the delegates sent by Governor of Anambra state, chief Willie Obiano, to ensure peaceful and successful completion of the election adding that the team performed admirably well. He also commended the efforts of the security operatives who were on ground throughout the period of the election.
Earlier, Chief Albert Ibe, a former President General of Ugbene community and one time transition committee chairman of the local government said that the election was free and fair with the constitution duly followed. He said that the constitution stipulated that there will be an electoral college which were duly selected as adhoc committee for the election and they performed well.
The former President General said that the new traditional ruler is a man of the people who takes advise without engaging in outlaw of any sort but warned that he must maintain his credibility and carry the people along.
Also, a member of the king makers from Enuagu village of the community, Chief Nwune David, said that the community expects the Igwe- elect to deliver to the people dividends of good leadership. He said that in a case where the community is presented with difficult issues he is expected to seek advise and listening ear to the people because a tree does not make a forest.