The people of Ochuche-Umuodu community in Ogbaru Local Government Area have protested alleged imposition of a traditional ruler on them by the state government.
Ochuche-Umuodu made a statement of their position when no fewer than 200 of them including chiefs, women and the youth besieged the Anambra Government House in a peaceful protest.
The posters from the riverine community bore placards with varying inscriptions as ‘Dr Stephen I. Akpati is Our Choice of Igwe’, ‘ANSG Can Not Impose Igwe On Us’, ‘Obiano Give Us Our Rightful King’, and ‘No Nepotism Against Our Custom and Tradition’.
Others are: ‘Ochuche-Umuodu Reject Osy Ijomah as Igwe’, ‘Obiano Recognise Stephen I.Akpati as our Igwe’, ‘Obiano Stop Politicking with Our Custom and Tradition, ‘We need Peace in Ochuche, ‘Oga Don’t Destroy Our Heritage”, among others.
Chief Frederick Aniche, an elder of Ochuche-Umuodu who addressed government officials said the they had come to protest alleged sacrilegious recognition of someone who was not ordained by the people to be their king.
Aniche who submitted their protest later said kingship in Ochuche-Umuodu was rotational and that the person that was recognised and issued certificate by the state government was from the same community as the immediate past monarch .
He described the recognition of HRH Osita Ijoma as an action done in error, calling for the withdrawal of the certificate issued to him as it was not in line with the common will of the people of the community.
He said Akpati met all the traditional criteria and was duly elected to be the traditional ruler of Ochuche-Umuodu and called on the state government to respect the wish of the people and recognise him.
“By this petition, we want to aver that you have been grossly ill advised on this matter, by a cabal working with the transitional chairman of Ogbaru Local Government, whose interest is to foist disorder in our community.
“The panel you set up, evidently from their predisposition, body language and haste seemed to have been empaneled to rubber stamp a premeditated outcome.
“Regrettably these action will only tarnish your legacy as a governor,” he said.
Also speaking, Chief Emeka Agba, another elder in the town, said Ochuche-Umuodu was already under threats of crisis from the youth loyal to the new monarch.
Agba said there was already scramble for the property handed over to some people by government and called the governor to intervene in the community before the situation degenerated.
Addressing the protesters, Mr Gerald Akaeze, an Aide to Obiano on Local Government Matters, said their message would be duly conveyed to the governor who he said was not in town.
Akaeze who commended their peaceful conduct urge them to be calm while assuring them that the government would look at their protest and its merit.
“I shall submit this protest letter for onward transmission to the governor, you know he is not in town.
“I assure you that it will receive due attention, “ he said. (NAN)