By Stephanie Oziwo
The traditional ruler of Egwu Achi Community in Oji River Local Government Area, Igwe Victor Ezekwesili Meniru, in this interview spoke among others on why the South-East geo-political zone must be allowed to produce the president in 2023 and how Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has been developing Enugu State since he came power in 2015.
His assessment of the administration of Governor Ugwuanyi in the past four and half years
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Governor Ugwuanyi is one of the best governors Enugu State has produced. Since he assumed office, he has been redefining governance in the state. As part of his grassroots development initiatives, he gave N5million grant to each community in Enugu State. We are not talking about the roads he has built in Oji River and other parts of Enugu State.
( The governor has also tackled the security challenge in Enugu State. In each ward, he employed about 20 security vigilante members, who he is paying monthly and equipped them with security gadgets to tackle insecurity at the grassroots. ( Left for me, I will say Ugwuanyi should contest the presidency in 2023.(
Some Igbo leaders are clamouring for the South-East to produce the next Nigerian President in 2023, what is your take on that?
( We are one Nigeria, as they say. And the Igbo have been sidelined. The Igbo deserve the presidency in 2023 because we have been short-changed.
On his assessment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration
( I don’t want to talk about President Buhari’s administration because I am not a politician. I am a traditional ruler. But from the little I have seen on the Enugu-Port Harcourt road, I think he is doing a good work. The only thing we are still begging him to fix is the Enugu -Onitsha Expressway, which is in a very bad state. It will be good if the Federal Government can look into it urgently. (
On why some persons in his community, recently, led a protest to the Enugu Government House to protest his emergence as traditional ruler
Some time in 2010, my people elected me as the Igwe of Egwu Achi. The election was done peacefully in Nkwo Egwu Achi. I was presented to the local government. The chairman of Oji River local government at that time was Ozo Gab Onuzulike, who later forwarded my letter of presentation to the Ministry of Chieftaincy. The commissioner then was Architect JC Ude. Later, the then governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Iheanacho Chime approved my recommendation as the traditional ruler of Egwu Achi. ( Some sections of my community were not happy with my election; they took me to court, about 10 years ago. We were in court until March 2019, the court ruled in their favour and nullified my election as Igwe Egwu Achi and said we should go back for election.( Then another election was called up on May 31, 2019 at Nkwo Egwu Achi. The chairman of the local government, Harrison Okeke sent his team led by Chukwudi Ezenwa, who witnessed the election between me and Chief Donald Chede, Chief Raphael Mmadu, Chief Livinus Orji Emo, which I won.( Then on 1st of June, the chairman of Oji River local government, Harrison Okeke presented me to the executive governor of the state, Dr Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who received me at the Government House.( After about four months, the governor gave me a certificate of recognition as the traditional ruler of Egwu Achi community.( Some sections of the town led by a former President General of the town, went to Government House to complain about my certificate of recognition, for reasons best known to them. I won the election.
What efforts have you made to ensure that the issue is resolved?
I call them everyday; even the priest from our community has been calling them to come back home so that we can sit down and bring peace and development to our community. I have been reaching out to everyone.