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I’ll remain a philanthropist all through my life — Igwe Chukwuma, Ezeigbio Cote d’Ivoire

…Decries chieftaincy crisis in Anambra communities

By Nwabueze Okonkwo

ONITSHA – For eight consecutive years now, the people of Nkpolo village, Nnukwu Clan, Adazi-Nnukwu community in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State have always been in festive mood each time an illustrious son of the area, Ikechukwu Emmanuel Chukwuma, Igwe Adazi ji di Ebube celebrated his annual new yam festival in the area.

Chukwuma, fondly called Igwe Nwatayanachiyadinamma and currently the king of Ndigbo in Cote d’Ivoire (Ezeigbo Cote d’Ivoire) where he runs successful chains of businesses, had always made their festive mood a memorable one on each occasion, having embedded his philanthropic gestures into the festival.

Though his formal coronation as the traditional ruler of his community was stalled, Chukwuma is presently in Anambra state High court battling to recover his mandate as Adama 4th of Adazi-Nnukwu kingdom, having come first in the selection process to succeed the former monarch, late Igwe Michael Orjiakor (Adama the 3rd of Adazi Nnukwu).

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As usual, eminent personalities, including traditional rulers from different communities, friends, relatives, and business associates from Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and in diaspora are expected to converge on his palace today at Chief Nwata Avenue, Adazi Nnukwu, venue of this year’s new yam festival which is scheduled to kick off at noon with prayers and firing of gun shots.

Distribution of cash, vehicles, tricycles, motorcycles, material gifts and other forms of empowerment have been embedded in the ceremony since Chukwuma has for the past 15 years been involved in many community development, philanthropy and empowerment of his people at various times.

It is expected that immediately after the traditional breaking of kolanuts and cutting of the new yam with prayers and drinks, the empowerment programme would set in, after which he would use the opportunity to draw the attention of the state government to some burning issues in the community.

In his previous outings, including Christmas, Easter and New Yam festivities, Igwe Chukwuma had always prayed for God’s blessings and also spoke on various issues affecting governance and development both at the state and national levels. He usually called on the people to allow peace reign in the community as according to him, no meaningful development could take place in any community where there was rancour and disagreement.

He often bemoaned the discrimination in the sharing of both material and human resources in the country, saying that the denial of the Igbo of their rights and entitlements in the country could only be stopped when there is unity among the Igbo.

According to him, “There is no peace today in Adazi Nnukwu because few persons who feel they have connection in government circles have refused to speak the truth. They have murdered sleep in the community by submerging the wishes of the majority of the people of this town. I always stand by the truth and will die by truth”.

“Many communities in Anambra State are today enmeshed in chieftaincy tussles because government usually take sides, rather than listening to every side of the story before taking actions and this breeds disharmony, acrimony and rage in the communities. Brothers don’t talk to each other again because some people think they have the ears of the government, but they forget that injustice breeds agitations.

“Anambra is a pacesetter State and Adazi Nnukwu cannot continue to exist in a situation where some people arrogate to themselves the power that they are the owners of the town. In times of financial contributions and work, the entire community will be involved but in times of reaping, some selected few will corner the whole thing. This is injustice and this is the root of the crisis in our town”, he stated.

His elder brother, Chief Kenneth Chukwuma (Ichie Ezeudo) who is the President-General of Nigerian Union in Northern Cameroon, described new yam festival as a unification factor in Igbo land.

On the crisis bedeviling the community, he condemned the frivolous manner the rules and regulations of the community were altered at the whims and caprices of a few elite, even as he challenged elders of the community to stand up for the truth reminding them that if they failed to take the necessary step, the youths may be forced to take up the task of restoring peace.

The Patron of Adazi Nnukwu Progressive Union, APU, Dr. Theo Belonwu, in his own statement, noted that the town union took it as a challenge to fight intimidation and arbitrary imposition of fines in the community.

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Belonwu who gave an insight into the chieftaincy tussle tearing the community apart said: “Our people duly chose Chief Emmanuel Chukwuma as the next Igwe of our community. After we have done that, few people who have connection at the government house felt otherwise and started fighting the collective will of the people thus plunging the community into crisis. My take on this matter is simple; let the governor listen to all the parties involved in this matter, leading to the conduct of proper elections in all positions in the community. This is the only recipe for peace”.

An illustrious son of the area, Prince Emmanuel Okechukwu Ebunobi, who also spoke on the matter said, “I salute our people by saying that this year’s new yam festival will bring peace, unity and make our people see the truth and say it as it is because without saying the truth, development will not come. But if we see the truth and say it, we shall have development, unity and peace”

Ebunobi therefore urged well meaning citizens of Adazi-Nnukwu to work towards returning to the path of peace and harmony in the area and to channel all efforts towards liberating the town from bad leadership as according to him, “using the instrumentality of the town union to hound their perceived opponents will not bring development but if we are united and live in peace, development will surely come.

He lamented that since 2015 the town has been bedeviled with hatred and disunity, adding that any community with such problem cannot develop, even as he appealed to the state government to set up a committee which will take a holistic look at the scenario and come out with a lasting solution for peace and harmony.

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