By Ugochukwu Alaribe
ABA—Workers of Aba South and Aba North Local Government areas in Abia State were yesterday, shut out of their offices by coffins and youths protesting the appointment of transition committee, TC, chairmen for the two councils.
The protesters, on the platform of Aba-Ngwa Youths Congress, said they are against the appointments of Transition Committee chairmen: Mr. Nwachukwu Okoli for Aba South and Mr. Charles Esonu for Aba North, by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and would continue the protest until they are removed.
They barricaded the gates of the two councils with coffins and palm fronds, demanding the immediate removal of the two council chairmen.
Some of the placards on display read: “Aba-Ngwa Youths say no to Macro and Esonu;” “8th time TC-chairman is unfair in Aba South;” “Appoint indigenes for us as TC chairmen in Aba North and Aba South, among” others.
The youths described the appointment of Okoli who hails from Anambra State as a huge affront to the indigenes of the council, as his current appointment is the 8th time he will be serving as both TC and elected chairman in Aba South.
President of Aba Youth Congress, Engr. Greg Obinna, described the appointment of Esonu from Isiala-Ngwa North as another sign of total neglect and marginalisation of indigenes of the council, and vowed that the youths would no longer condone such.
He said: “Government should appoint an indigene or we shall continue to occupy this place until the needful is done. Enough is enough. Aba-Ngwa comprises Aba North and Aba South and we are here, peacefully protesting the appointments of Dr. N. C. Okoli and Charles Esonu as TC-chairmen for Aba South and Aba North, respectively.
“We are rejecting Okoli based on the fact that he has been chairman for the eighth time. We have people that can do this job. He’s not an indigene of Aba South and we, the indigenous people are very capable of handling our own local government affairs.
“They don’t consult us before appointments like this. Okoli is a medical practitioner who has a hospital and schools here. He should go back to his profession.
“With due respect to Esonu, we are saying no to his appointment. He’s from Isiala Ngwa North and Isiala Ngwa is like us here, because they have both Isiala Ngwa North and Isiala Ngwa South.”
President of Asa-Okpulo Autonomous Community in Aba North, Elijah Charles, urged Governor Ikpeazu to settle Okoli and Esonu with other available positions, but not as TC chairmen in the two Aba councils.
They said: “They have their people as TC chairmen and the appointment of Esonu makes them three TC chairmen from that axis, while Aba completely lost out with none of us deemed fit to represent our people.
“We want to represent ourselves just like the other 15 councils.When 17 council chairmen go for a meeting, you will not see a single Aba man there.”