Aguluzigbo Youths Protest Alleged Victor Umeh Intimidation
By Lawrence Nwimo
Aguluizogbo youths, Tuesday, staged a peaceful protest in Awka over an alleged plan by former National Chairman of All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Victor Umeh to impose his preferred candidate on the people of the community.
The youths numbering over 100 were at the government house to protest intimidation and denial of rights to vote in the traditional ruler of their community.
The group alleged that Victor Umeh, who was the immediate past Senator that represented Anambra Central Senatorial district, and his group has declined from using the existing constitution of the town in electing its traditional ruler and called on the state government to intervene to avert the crisis in the community.
The group which surrounded the front gate of the State government house, Tuesday, carrying placards with inscriptions such as ‘Aguluzigbo is APGA community, but Victor Umeh is bent in breeding crisis in the town’, ‘Aguluzigbo constitution says 18 years and above to vote in Igweship election’, ‘Igwe Aguluzigbo is not for sale by Sen. Victor Umeh’.
Other inscriptions read, ‘Victor Umeh should not destroy Aguluzigbo’, ‘Igweship election must follow the Aguluzigbo constitution’, ‘Payment of levy can never be a condition to vote in Igweship election’, and ‘Victor Umeh should leave Aguluizogbo alone’, among many others.
In a document signed by its coordinator, Mr. Chike Adogu, Chairman, Ikechukwu Enyiuche, Secretary-General, Chukwuma Umeh and Izuchukwu Ezejiofor, the group said: “the Igweship election scheduled on 28th December 2020 was aborted because the President-General and his paymaster insisted that only those who paid 2020 annual dues will be allowed to vote as against the advice of the two legal Advisers of the union and other legal luminaries in the town”
They said that the majority of the indigenes who had wished to take part massively in the election of their new king were disappointed as the then aborted election was fixed to hold on January 15th when all must have returned to their base.
Speaking to newsmen, one of the youth leaders of the Aguluizigbo community, Chuma Adilieje said that the reason for the protest was the plan by some elements in the community to impose an Igwe on the people of the community.
Also speaking, Chike Adogu said that the community has experienced a similar leadership issue in the past adding that people of the community has resolved not to allow such a trend to continue. ” We have been in turmoil for about twelve to fourteen years now, but it continued because some people are reluctant to come out and join issues with Victor Umeh.
” when the Igwe of a thing came up, we now felt that this is an everlasting issue unlike the president – General that comes every four years. Because of that term, ‘everlasting, until he dies,’ we now said we must react because Igwe represents both the spiritual and physical leader of the town. “
Chike Adogu who is the coordinator of the group said that the Igweship stool is rotational among villages in the town. He also claimed that Victor Umeh earlier pledged to be neutral in the said Igweship election but allegedly reversed his statement in an emergency general assembly of the town which according to him clearly showed his allegiance to one of the aspirants who according to Adogu is a businessman at the Onitsha Main Market.
Adogu claimed that the election which was initially planned to hold on 28 November 2021 with the constitution stipulating that no levy will be used as a condition to vote was reversed by an influenced authority who later adopted such levies to disenfranchise the people of the town from voting.
Also speaking, Chinedu Okoye said that the reason for the protest is that the youths of the town are peace-loving but appealed to the governor to intervene in their plight because according to him, Senator Victor Umeh is holding the town hostage.
Stating that the group outrightly rejects January 15th which is the new fixed date of the election, he urged governor Obiano to call Victor Umeh to order to avert any form of bloodshed or anarchy in the town.
Addressing the protesters on behalf of the governor, Henry Nwasike from the Ministry of local government, Chieftaincy and Community Affairs thanked the group for ensuring that the protest was peaceful and assured that government will critically look into the matter as well as see how possible to address the issue.