PEOPLE of Umuchukwu, former Nkerehi in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Tuesday, held a peaceful protest at the state’s Government House in Awka, against moves by some members of the town to return the town’s name to Nkerehi.
The protesters in their numbers, ranging from young and old, male and female including teenagers were seen with placards saying: “Enough is enough”, “There is no town called Nkerehi”, “We need government intervention”, “We need government to give our traditional ruler his certificate,” among many other write-ups.
While speaking to the governor, ably represented by the Chief of Staff, Ernest Ezeajughi, the President General of Umuchukwu, Mr Emeka Adinchezo said the community name was changed during the regime of the former governor of the state, Mr Peter Obi, who presented the gazette to the community and was confirmed authentic document by the state House of Assembly.
According to Mr Adinchezo, “There is a group of people who always form propaganda in our community. They are our brothers but we are pleading on government to ignore them whenever they appear. We will welcome them once they come back to join us.
They have been warned earlier by the House of Assembly to suspend their evil actions including the former Commissioner of Police, who reminded them that both Appeal Court, High Court and Magistrate Court regards the community as Umuchukwu”
“They were called for undertaking. Some of them complied while others ran away including Barr. Basil Igweike which implies that he knows the consequences as a lawyer”. Mr Adinchezo further presented copies of term paper of Umuchukwu to the government representative comprising copies for the governor, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters; as well as Chief of Staff, respectively.
Speaking to newsmen, one of the elders in the community from Umuana Village, Emmanuel Otaokpukpu disclosed the conspiracy of few families who described themselves as Nkerehi after the change of the name to Umuchukwu, even as proper election with due process and government approval was conducted before the adoption of the name.
Chief Otaokpukpu further said that regardless the conspiracy, all benefits from government to the community are being shared with equal right and called on the government led by, Professor Chukwuma Soludo to look into their complain and give certificate of recognition to Kenneth Maduka, who the community duly elected as traditional ruler elect on 28th December, 2019, after the death of their former monarch, Igwe Micheal Ukaegbu, adding that the election was between Maduka and Emmanuel Emeka Onwusoronye .
“We do not want violence and we are soliciting on government to ignore any body that has bad intention towards our community. They go on to execute their wicked plans after reaching out to government and police officers, saying that they have been recognised by Anambra State Government. We are peace minded people and we are not denying them anything but they often take their children to the neighboring town, Owerre Ezukala, for schooling and even Sundays’ worship”.
Also speaking, the secretary to the former Igwe’s cabinet, Chief Godwin Onyeaso (Chukwunemeze of Umuchukwu) said the aim of the protest was to seek for government attention to harmonise the community and to disregard anybody who have plan to cause havoc among the peacemakers ,even as they demand for certificate and staff of office of their traditional ruler elect .
On his part, Chief Solomon Ukaegbu described how the hired assassins attacked his home in December 2019, during the traditional marriage of his daughter which caused the death of the two people.
The former chairman of the cabinet, Chief Felix Okafor stressed that the entire community came out with their constitution after the death of Igwe Onwusoronye, demanding for a new traditional ruler and president general of the community whose election was conducted between Mr Emeka Adinchezo and Sunday Obi with due process by the government after which Mr Adinchezo won the election and declared the president general.
In an interview with the Chairlady of Indigenous Daughters of Umuchukwu (Umuada), Theresa Nnebe from Umueze Village and Mrs Ndidi Eze from Umuana expressed their dislikes over the misconduct of the group, adding that the women have carried out fasting and prayers across the villages to seek for peace.
Also speaking, the former treasurer of the community, David Okoli said the problem started in 2007 after the change of name Nkerehi, which was supported by their sons who based in Lagos and led for three years fasting and prayers in the community. In his speech, Ernest Ezeajughi, on behalf of the governor welcomed and thanked the community for taking a peaceful protest to the government and extending their complain to the commissioner for proper investigation and also maintained that the present administration, along with its policies, will ensure a livable and prosperous homeland in the state, even as he urged the them to adopt the idea of civic responsibility to move the state forward.