By Nwogha Ndubuisi, Abakaliki
The former chairman of Edda local government area in Ebonyi state, Barr Eni Uduma Chima has blamed Ekoli-Edda internal crisis on the imposition of caretaker committee to the Ekoli community.
Recall that the state Commissioner for Internal Security, Ukah Eta Ude on Thursday raised alarm over building tension at Ekoli community where twelve villagers was allegedly beaten with serious degree of injury.
The Commissioner equally fingered the suspects to be community youths loyal to the former Council chairman who opposed the government plan to set caretaker committee in Ekoli-Edda community.
Reacting swiftly, Eni accused the governor aide of playing the script of the All Progressives Congress, APC state party chairman, Stanley Okoro Emegha to set a purported caretaker committee even without a recourse to a traditional and structural method of electing leaders in the community.
“To impose a caretaker committee in any community in the name of town union executives, it must be that there was crisis, but in the case of Edda, it was the announcement of the purported caretaker committee executive that’s sparking off crisis.
“Before that announcement, Ekoli was calm and peaceful, there was no problem, and funny enough the executive of Ekoli Bound of Hope that’s elected tenure will be expiring on 8th of December which is less than one month today and somebody is making announcement that he’s dissolving the elected executive to impose a caretaker committee on the people.
“Government has the right to impose caretaker committee on the people if there’s a crisis, but in Ekoli-Edda there’s no crisis and even if there’s no crisis but the executive is opposing government programmes, policies and directives the government can dissolve the executive of that executive but in this case the community is a staunch supporter of governor Nwifuru’s administration, the Ekoli Bound of Hope union executive and Ekoli-Edda community have been in support of the government of the day. it’s a pro establishment town union that always supporting the government, I give you example, it was this community that gave the largest vote in entire Ebonyi South in the last general election and second to the Izhi Community. He stated
The house of representatives candidate in the last general election said that the community has been a strong supporter of governor Nwifuru’s administration and that was evident with their votes.
“In Edda, the governor got about 14,000 votes and out of it, Ekoli-Edda gave governor Nwifuru over 9,000 votes and so, there’s no basis to warrant the purported dissolution of Ekoli-Edda Bound of Hope union executives.
“It was done with bad intention with malice and the aim is to put Edda into chaos because of they’re jealous that we are able to organize ourselves to chun out highest votes, this attempt to impose caretaker is political.
He said that some political appointees working with few stakeholders from the community have been fueling the crisis with the intention of avenging the death of the state party chairman’s late brother.
“The enemies of the community who’s working with few disgruntled elements who felt that because they killed somebody in the community with Ebubeagu and the community reacted that they need to take their pound of flesh on the community. They’re now collaborating with political actors without Ekoli community to bring crisis in Edda.
“There’s no crisis in Edda, the people are peace loving. The community has been harassed, but we only thank God that to large extend, the army have been professional in their conducts as where we give them vital information, they have been able to remain neutral and not take sides and we will continue to preach that they be professional in their conducts. But, we will let the whole world know what’s happening.
He faulted the continuous polorization of Edda community with soldiers and called on the stakeholders to engage on the traditional institutions as to resolve and permanently restore peace in the place.
“It will interest you to know that in Edda, we already have four army bases, one at Nguzu junction, Iyere, Igboeze town square ekolli Edda and army base at Amangwa and Stanley Emegha is planning to set the 5th and may be after that, the 6th and 7th one, and that it tended to harass.
“If you need alot of soldiers for caretaker committee to operate, that means he took an unpopular decision and that’s not the kind of thing the government of the day of governor Nwifuru wants to hear; he’s community minded, a welfarist and interested in the security and welfare of an ordinary people.
“They’re politicizing crime in Edda generally and Ekoli-Edda precisely. Most of the things you hear are over hyped, in Edda, Afikpo South, I have been a Council chairman and we had the lowest crime rate and I speak with authority.
“So, the issue of caretaker committee would have been justified if there was crisis, but there was none and if the executive of that town union has been working against the programs and policies of the government or if the executive are made up of bitter opposition members who are sabotaging government activities, but this is not the case, rather the caretaker committee are made up of people who are of a particular political group and of course we know ourselves.
“Assuming without conceding that, the caretaker committee were made up of people who are neutral, or not so much interested in politics or outrightly apolitical, we would have allowed that to slide. but to bring members of a political faction to impose and suppress the will of majority is not acceptable to the people and when they approached me I requested them to make their concerns known to the authority and government of the day and I think they’re following the appropriate channel.
“Ekoli Bound of Hope union is the mother union of all village Organizations and associations in Ekoli-Edda, it was established in 1933 which is over 90 years now and we have a constitution which sets up the town union executives and stipulates the way and manner that town union should be operating and that constitution is still in existence and not abolished.
“We are structured that whatever you are to do in the community for you to meet a success, it must be in tandem with the traditional structure of the community. the people in charge of the community is Ukejiego people comprise of the ruling age grade made up of people that are of 75 years and above from the twelve villages of the community. You dissolve the town union on radio and you didn’t clear them, how do you think that they will allow you to operate and next to them is Igboeze Council of traditional rulers made up of village heads,the ezenkwas and whatever you are seek their consent to have a smooth sail.
“These was not done, they do not see any of these people purporting dissolution of town union executives, and the Commissioner for Internal Security is a surrogate, a marinate, a quisling of APC chairman, Stanley Okoro Emegha, and he’s acting his script because Stanley is taking bound of flesh against the community for reacting against the Killing of their youth leader on 26th of December 2022.
“Talking about people that were beaten, if people were beaten, that’s out of my knowledge and off course the police is there for them to make their report and investigation to be done. but, we are used to their false allegation as they have been framing youths of Ekoli to an extend that we have 51 of them in the prison on serious capital crimes and once they’re taking to court, due to the level of crimes they have been Alleged to have committed they’re dumped in the prison.
“The other day, my younger brother and a solicitor of Supreme Court was accused of killing somebody and burning down the house of Stanley Emegha and was arrested with soldiers, the police intervened and local DPO did nice job, he was intercepted and taken to police and preliminary investigation showed that he was not anyway nearing Edda on 26th December and that he only went to Edda on 4th of January and police absorbed him of the very heavy malicious criminal allegation with capital punishment and released him.
“There are so many others, Ebonyi state Police command has been doing marvelous job. they have brought over 50 allegations against my people and to the glory of God, and 90% of them are found to be false and the rest found to be over hyped or reaction of bigger crime committed against the community people.
“I am aware that the people wrote as indigenes of Ekoli-Edda community to the government and privately, Stanley told them at Centenary City that he’s in their support and told them that he might not participate because he was still mourning and even gave them 50,000. The fact is that he knows that in any election in Ekoli that they will not get up to 5%, so, those they want to impose on the community will not get vote and that’s why they went and plan the imposition of the committee.
He debunked the rumour of his boys causing the crisis and appealed to government to involve the necessary ministries and agencies as to conduct free and fair election in the community.
“Let me correct an impression, they said my boys, I don’t have boys anywhere except my children who are in school, and suppose that government wants to impose somebody or group of people who are not acceptable to the community and has been part of the problems of the community, what can they do? they will accept, but common sense should tell you that they will not enjoy high level of relationship with the people because they were imposed.
“My advise as a stakeholder to government is to involve the relevant ministries; the ministry of local government and Chieftaincy Matters, ministry of rural development, ministry of peace border and conflict resolution, the Nigeria Police,the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, and all the relevant security to go and conduct free and fair election for the people and the place will be calm.
“I don’t have interest in any position, I contested for national assembly and not town union president, all I need is for peace to be in my community”. He advised