Raymond Ozoji, Awka
The traditional ruler of Umueri kingdom in Anambra-east local government area of Anambra state, Igwe Sir Ben Izuchukwu Emeka (Okebo II) has urged the president–general of the community Chief Pius Ejimofor Okonkwo to set up electoral and audit committees respectively without further delay.
He said the committees were necessary to enable the town union to conduct fresh elections as well as audit the financial records of the incumbent leadership as it expires on 27 December this year.
The traditional ruler who reacted to an allegation that he purportedly denied the President-General the right to set up a certain 30-man committee, noted that such was a blatant lie and arrant falsehood as the said 30-man committee was jointly set up by both of them in his palace with pictures of the inaugural ceremony of the said committee where the President-General of the town union was conspicuously seen in the group photograph.
Igwe Emeka told journalists in his palace that his belief was that peace has returned to the town union and the community at large, but could not fathom the reason the President-General was still going about peddling alleged false information about him and his throne even though he said that the PG has allegedly refused to abide by the dictates of the peace pact both of them entered into before the Anambra state government.
He therefore noted that some of the provisions of the resolutions were that the President-General should set up electoral and audit committees to enable the town union to conduct fresh elections in September this year for the incoming executives of the town union as well as audit the financial books of the current executives.
The traditional ruler recalled that a particular section of the community wrote a letter asking the President-General to account for the money they allegedly gave him but he could not and his actions sparked off anger at the meeting they held on 27th April this year which according to him led to the motion for his removal from office as the President-General of Umueri General Assembly.
Igwe Emeka maintained that “the fact is that he was actually removed as the President-General on 27th April, 2019 as a result of not rendering account of some money that was given to him. And then I tried as much as I can to call a meeting of the entire town union to see how I can resolve the matter. Government called us and did some interventions. One of their interventions was for us to sign that document; myself and the PG signed it.
“After signing the document, I called another general meeting on 22nd July, 2019 and told the entire Umueri that we have resolved the crisis and I read out those peace agreement that we signed and then reinstated the PG and asked them to support him. So thereafter I believed that the crisis in the leadership of the town union was resolved as that time not knowing that the President-General still has other things in his mind.
“I don’t really know what he wants again because that document that we signed is what I believe will solve the crisis. One of the things we signed in that document is that he will not dissolve any of the 16 committees like the Otuocha Youths, the national youth body and that he will set up an electoral committee which will usher in a new executive. When you talk about the 30-man committee he mentioned, it is also part of the resolutions we signed. Both of us set up the committee but he later dissolved it after two days without referring back to me.
“So the genesis of the crisis is that Pius Okonkwo should set up an audit committee. So he should allow peace to rein in Umueri. Let him go and implement the peace pact and then conduct elections in September this year and then hand-over in December this year. Period!”
He also stated that the peace pact mandated the PG to set up an audit committee that would look into his financial records alleging that the PG sold so many lands at Okebo estate Umueri and that people were accusing him of embezzlement.
When contacted to debunk the allegations of embezzlement of funds realised from the sale of lands under his government as President-General of Umueri town union as well as his alleged refusal to implement the provisions of the peace accord signed by him and the traditional ruler before the commissioner for local government and chieftancy matters on behalf of the Anambra State Government, Chief Pius Ejimofor Okonkwo, the President-General, declined interview on the condition that he would not speak to the reporter but referred the reporter to his colleagues who had interviewed him, to obtain information on the issue from them.