By Egufe Yafugborhi
EFFURUN – SAVE for the good judgment of the Ovie of Uvwie Kingdom, Delta State, HRM, Emmanuel Sideso, Abe 1, the embattled Unuewvoro (traditional head) of the explosive Ekpan community, Chief Newton Agbofodoh, would have earned a hurtful sentence prior to his formal arraignment by the Police over series of criminal allegations, including killings, for which he was seized since June.
While police in the state, who arrested him in a joint raid of his home with military operatives, June 17, are yet to commence definite trial, a segment of his subjects marched through the streets of Ekpan July 15, demanding that the monarch depose him.
The ‘Newton-must-go’ revolt train, which forced closure of businesses in Ekpan berthed at the palace of the Ovie of Uvwie where the hundreds of protesters, mobilized by the Ekpan Integrity Group, asked the king to summarily strip Agbofodoh as Unuewvoro, the title which made him traditional head of Ekpan.
The monarch put aside the demand for summary stripping of Agbofodoh as Unuevworo, contending that until proven guilty or otherwise, he would not delve into a matter that was before the Police and the courts.
The protesters had alleged that peace has eluded Ekpan since the installation of Agbofodoh, years ago, as Unuevworo, imploring the Uvwie royal father to ensure that he never returns from his current run in with the law to re-assume traditional headship of Ekpan.
President, Ekpan Integrity Group, Innocent Akpototedja-Adjenughure, who led the protesters, declared that Chief Agbofodoh’s alleged dictatorial and tyrannical leadership plunged the community into the present crisis it was facing. “Agbofodoh unilaterally recommends his cronies for contracts and employment without due process. He amended the Ekpan Development Committee constitution without following laid down procedure.
“With that unilateral amendment, he handpicked the present committee boasting that ‘I am the Unuevworo. Anyone not satisfied with my action should wait until you are enthroned as Unuevworo. We are, therefore, demanding his removal as Unuevworo of Ekpan”, the protesters told the monarch.
Responding, the Uvwie monarch thanked the protesters for their peaceful disposition and appealed for calm and understanding, assuring that he would do everything necessary to ensure that peace returns to the kingdom.
He said if the court convicts Chief Agbofodoh, he and his chiefs would not hesitate to strip him of the chieftaincy title as requested by the people. Abe I noted that the crisis in Ekpan under his domain involves two factions and that he was doing everything within his power to bring the both sides together.