BY CHINEDU IBEABUCHI
Indigenes of Umueri community, in Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State, are at daggers drawn over election of leaders into the community’s general assembly in Lagos State.
The crisis, according to members of the community, was a result of the interference of leadership of the national body in the election of executives of Lagos zonal branch.
In a statement made available to Vanguard, yesterday, Mr. Thomas Nwoye, spokesperson, Umueri General Assembly, Lagos branch, said it had called off its general election held April 1, 2012, due to undue interference by its national body.
According to Nwoye, the election reached a stalemate when the President General of the national body, Mr. Henry Jideani, violated the association’s constitution by storming the venue of the election to supervise its conduct without invitation by the executive of Lagos branch, led by Mr Johnbull Molokwu.
Nwoye also accused the President General of acting out a script written by some cabals to install his own kinsman against the overall wishes of majority of the members.
Also speaking, Mr. Fidelis Metchie, a senior citizen of the town, blamed the crisis on the zoning arrangement of the community, saying the post of chairman of the association had been zoned to Ifite quarters, comprising Mgbede, Ogbu and Umuatuolu.
He said: “But over the past years, Umuatuolu and Mgbede had variously produced the chairman at the exclusion of Ogbu Village. So this year acting in concert with the constitution, Ogbu Village is supposed to take its turn and present a candidate, and they have done so in presenting Mr. Chukwuma Ekwefi whom the Umueri General Assembly, Lagos branch has endorsed.
“But some elements from Umuatuolu village, acting alone and in defiance of the constitution and general resolution of the branch, wish to field a candidate again.
“To accomplish this retrogressive agenda, they have conscripted the President General to help them manipulate the election in favour of their supposed candidate .
“In carrying out this yeoman’s job, the President General threw all caution and decorum to the winds while trying to muzzle every member.”
Metchie, however, advised members of the community association in Lagos to remain calm until a new date is fixed for the election.
According to him, all members should maintain the status quo, which is that only the returning officers appointed by the branch executive in the persons of Kweli Emeka and Chiezie Onochie have the constitutional powers to conduct the election.