The gate of Anambra State Government House was on Thursday blocked by people of Ochuche Umuodu Community in Ogbaru Local Government Area of the state over alleged imposition of traditional ruler on the community by the state government.
The scores of protesters led by Chief Fredrick Aniche, said that they embarked on the protest to drive home their anger over the imposition of traditional ruler by the State Governor, Willie Obiano.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, he said that the people of Ochuche Umodu Community will not accept the imposition of any traditional ruler that is not appointed by the community.
He regretted state government’s unilateral decision to give a certificate of recognition to one Mr Vincent Osita Ijoma as the traditional ruler of Ochuche Umuodu on July 4 2019, despite against the community’s choice.
According to him, the community has three major villages and the the traditional stool is rotated among the the three villages saying that the community chose Chief Aniche Fredrick as its traditional ruler against Ijoma.
Aniche said, “We hereby serve notice to the state government that as law abiding citizens, we shall seek redress following due process and in the Court of law.
“In a democracy, the will of the people should prevail and cannot be subjugated to the will of the minority and even to the will of elected officials, who use executive fiats to orchestrate wrong and illegal decisions.
“By this petition, Your Excellency, we wish to aver that you have been grossly ill-advised on this matter, by a cabal, working with Mr Arinzechukwu Awogu, the Transitional Chairman of Ogbaru Local Government, whose interest is to foist disorder in our community with the support of external interests in and outside Ogbaru community”
“The Panel you set up, evidently from their predisposition, body language and haste, seemed to have been empanelled to rubber stamp a premeditated outcome. Regrettably, these actions will only tarnish your legacy as a State Governor.
“By practice and convention, the issue of the selection of an Igwe for our community resides fully and totally on “We the People of Ochuche Umuodu.
“And for the record, the majority of the law abiding people of our Community did not put forward, canvas or select Mr Vincent Osita Ijomah as our Igwe
The protesters carried placards with inscriptions like, “Obiano stop destroying our cultural heritage, Anambra cannot impose anybody on us, “We do not want Osita Ijoma, “We want Dr Steven Akpati, Obiano, we need peace and Obiano you must do the needful “. “ANSG cannot impose an If We on us”, “Osy Ijoma will never rule Ochuche community”, among others.
The spokesman further warned that if nothing is done to correct the anomaly, they would take laws into their hands
Addressing the protesters on behalf of the state government, a special adviser to the governor on Local Government matters, Hon Gerald Akaeze urged the protesters to remain peaceful and wait for the governor’s response to their petition.
He said, “in your speech, you said Ochuche people are peace loving people. I urge you to hold on to that peace. The Governor is currently out of the country and your petition will be presented to him as soon as he returns.
Akaeze assured the protesters that the governor will look into the issue and resolve it accordingly on his return.