By RICHARD NDOMA, Calabar
Indigenes of Anambra state resident in Cross River in Calabar have urged Governor Willy Obiano of Anambra state to tow the path of truth and justice in the Iqweship tussle that has brought confusion in Awa community in Orumba north LGA of the state.
Senior Special Assistant to Gov.Willy Obiano of Anambra State on Community Liaison, Mr. Chukwuemeke Egwuonwu, who spoke Wednesday in Calabar, on behalf of Anambra indigenes resident in Cross River State states that the issue of traditional institution is so sacred and revered that all due processes must be followed in order that peace can reign in communities in the state.
Egwuonwu, stated that Awa community have for decades been living in peace with one another until this issue of who becomes the igwe up and called on Governor Willy Obiano of the state to do everything within his powers to ensure that the traditions and culture of the people is maintained with regards to selection process of who becomes the people’s Ikwe.
Recalled that since the death of the Iqwe Charles Mbanuga in 2015, the Awa community has been embroiled in succession tussle, leading to series of litigations between Umunzekwe family and the Awa Develooment union leadership and as well as other members of Iqwe cabinet.
Gov. Obiano’s SA averred that the Awa community is yet to elect and reconstitute Igwe-in-council following some irreconcilable differences within the community and wonder why some persons in the community parading themselves as the Ikwe in council.
On the issue of the issue of Anambra State House of Assembly resolution which directed the state Governor to issue certificate of recognition to the Igwe-elect, HRH Igwe Isreal Okeke, notwithstanding the fact that elections into the Ikweship stool is yet to be conducted stressing that Awa Town Council 1977 constitution on traditional rulership authorises the selection/identification of Awa traditonal head on the senior and ruling Umunzekwe village or quarter of Awa in accordance with the customs and tradition of the people.
Obiano’s SA stated that the report of peace and reconciliation committee on Awa Igwe/Chieftaincy Crises set up by Orumbs north LG council recommended among others that thin line with agreements e candidate for the Iqweship stool should come from Umunzekwe family in line with the wish of the people.
” In the absence of an Iqwe in Awa, the Iqwe/Chieftaincy constitution cannot be amended except after installation.” stressing that Awa community which is made up of 12 villages has only three communities that have the constitutional power to decide who becomes the next Ikwe.
He insisted that the Anambra state House of Assembly has no right to instruct the state Governor on what to do regarding the certification/ recognition of Iqwe-elelct especially as no election was conducted to elect who to be the Ikwe.
.The Governor’s aide stated that it was absurd for nay one to direct the state Governor to issue any letter of certification/recognition to any one purported to be the Ikwe even when the Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftiancy and Community Matters, Mr Greg Obi, had in a letter dated February 12, 2021 with reference no OSPA/LG/CM/VII/102 sometimes ago cancelled the planned election for the Iqwe of Awa.
He wondered why this issue of directives to the state Governor by an individual to issue certification letter that would give recognition to any one to be come an Ikwe even when no election was conducted.
The Governor’s SA said,” There is a letter signed by Mr. Henry Neanosike, which led to cancellation of election for the Ikweship based on security issue and I know that the ministry once wrote to Attorney General of the state for legal interpretation and advice on the Iqweship tussle”. He said.
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