By Chinenyeh Ozor
Four communities in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State out six new proposed communities, have divided into camps and groups over recent election of traditional rulers for the state government’s proposed autonomous communities in the locality, among others.
The state government had proposed to create more autonomous communities out of the existing ones to strike a balance in electoral wards across the state. In Nsukka LGA, results of the elections for the proposed autonomous communities held at different quarters of each community, were greeted with petitions and protests.
The proposed autonomous communities in Nsukka LGA include Umuoyo, Umakashi, Echera, Nguru, Owerre and Edem/Ezema communities. Among the six, elections took place without complaints in only two, Owerre and Edem/Ezema, while confusion, bitterness and complaints characterised the elections in Umuoyo, Nguru, Umakashi and Echera proposed automous communities.
Most of the four proposed autonomous communities have carried their protests to Enugu State Government House to register their disappointment over the conduct of the elections in their areas, alleging that winners of the elections were not the popular choice of each of the communities.
At Umuoyo proposed autonomous community, four candidates contested. They were Chief Agboeze Mathias, Chief Asadu Sylvanus, Chief Ejike Asadu and Chief Possible Paul Attanike. The conduct was peaceful as all the elders of the 16 villages that make up the community were in attendance to identify members of each village during accreditation.
The eldest man of Umuoyo, Edeoga Gabriel Omeje in an interview with journalists said that the said election was bungled and unfair. Edeoga Omeje said the election was not acceptable to Umuoyo community as the eldest man of Umuoyo and called on the state government to nullify the election and organise a more credible election that would be acceptable to the entire Umuoyo. At Nru Community Secondary School venue of the election, the 16 villages turned out en-masse and option A4 voting pattern was adopted, irrespective of complaints from different quarters of the 16 villages.
The results recorded at the venue of the election were as follows: Asadu Sylvanus scored 123 votes, Ejike Asadu – 11 votes, Agboeze Mathias – 376 votes and Possible Paul Attanike 668 votes.
Local govt result sheet
Announcing result of the election for the proposed Umuoyo autonomous community, Nsukka, the Deputy Chairman of the council, Mr. Cosmos Agbo who is the chairman of the electoral committee of the proposed autonomous communties said: “I have the mandate of the chief returning officer of the election of Igwe for the proposed Umuoyo community, Mrs Vera Emeihe to address journalists,” he said.
‘’I want to say the following: Today, Saturday May 5, 2018 election of Igwe of the proposed Umuoyo community in Nsukka Local Government Area, was held at Nru Boys Secondary School, Nsukka between 1200 hours and 1500 hours. The election was very peaceful and option A4 systerm of voting where the aspirant stands and his suporters queue behind him, was adopted. In this election, we have four Igweship candidates as follows: Asadu Ejike who scored 123 votes, Attanike Paul scored 545 votes, Asadu Sylvanus scored 11 votes and Agboeze Mathias U. scored 636 votes. By the letter of undertaking which they signed, they agreed that Igwe emerges by a simple majority, therefore, ladies and gentlemen, I want to affirm that Chief Mathias Agboeze by virtue of scoring the highest vote of 636, was elected and returned as the Igwe-elect of the proposed Umuoyo autonomous community in Nsukka Local Government Area,” he noted.
He said that the agents of the four candidates signed the result document, adding that he had the mandate of the chief returning officer who is the person from whom valid result will be received as the election was conducted by a 10-man electoral committee.
The deputy mayor of the council noted that after the counting of the votes, people moved from Asadu Ejike and Asadu Sylvanus to join the line of Attanike, stressing that the allegations that the electoral committee was not on ground to record the result of Attanike was baseless and unfounded as the committee was there from the beginning to the end of the election.
Chief Attanike Reacts
Chief Possible Paul Attanike while reacting to the result said that one of the candidates employed the services of students from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and neigbouring villages for the voting.
“Greater number of Umuoyo have moved to Enugu State Governor, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to register their disapointment over a stolen mandate.
“We expected that accreditation will be done but the returning officer refused on the grounds of the mandate to deliver one particular candidate who is a lecturer at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and did not resign his appointment to contest for the Igweship of the community. One of the candidates, Ejike Asadu stepped down for me but he was compelled to stand for the election, else my vote will be divided into two and he stood for the election.
“There was a guideline given to us as the guiding principle for the election which was never followed throghout the conduct of the election. The video clip of the election shows the naked truth and I challenge the authorities to watch it as the end justifies the means.
“The result is not acceptable to me and the 14 villages that stood by me out of the 16 villages that make up the community. The returning officer, Mrs Vera Emeihe requested the four of us to sign a blank document which she said was for attendance of the candidates, only to use it as the result sheet of the election,” Attanike lamented.
Other communities protest
Outside Umuoyo, Echera, Nguru and Umakashi proposed autonomous communities,other communities invilved have carried their protests to the Enugu State Government House to register their displeasure over the unfair results of the Igweship elections in their various communities.
At Nguru proposed autonomous community, Chief Christain Atajah is slugging it out with Chief Linus Obayi, the alleged winner of the election in the community while Patrick Ezugwu is contending with Chief Christopher Ezugwu, the alleged monarch-elect of the proposed Echera community. Each of the protesting communities claimed candidates were imposed on them against the popular choice of their various communities.
Meanwhile, the council chairman, Chief Patrick Omeje Jnr. while receiving the new tradtional rulers-elect for the proposed atutonomous communities presented to the council for recognition, advised them to carry everybody along in line with the developmental agenda of the state governor who bears the mantle of leadership with the fear of God. “As you have been presented to the council, ensure that absolute peace is maintained in your various communities as Nsukka Local Government remains an indivisible family to the glory of God.”