Obiano, Igbakwu and unfinished projects
By Maduka Nweke
Igbakwu Community in Ayamelum Local Government Area of Anambra State will always have history to visit with the Governor, Chief Willie Obiano. The history will always revolve around who Obiano is to Igbakwu and how his personality has impacted the people of Igbakwu. Igbakwu is a small community in Ayamelum though nature endowed it with landed property that made it the envy of neighbouring communities.
The town has an arable land good for coco, water and all the yam productions, rice production, maize, cassava, piegeon pie, millet numbering in their hundreds including both cash and food crops.
The town, due to the land endowment and envy, had a protracted legal battle that lasted more than 80 years just to mention so with the people of Omor, a nearby town. The Omor town has its advantages in the area of human population. And because of their population, they feel they must intimidate, annihilate, coarse and annex the other towns in the surrounding environment to satisfy the quest to match their population with landed property.
This crude method resulted in series of communal clashes with neighbouring towns that has become a perennial occurrence especially during farming seasons. Lives have been lost in their hundreds during such clashes not to talk of landed property, massive investments that were concomitantly razed down in order to make the land fallow for their illicit occupation.
Since the Omor people out-number the people of Igbakwu, the Igbakwu people always resort to the use of law, legal battle to fight their case during such provocations. And because, the facts are there and clear, the people of Igbakwu had always won in the law court. All the judgments always go in Igbakwu favour hence the use of violence by Omor people to achieve their aims.
The document of facts are already presented to government agencies for which if government still wants could be resubmitted on demand. Always, not the Judge that gave the judgment that enforces implementation, so the arms of Government in this regards have their constitutional duties. The judiciary acted in declaring judgment, the executive arm which should take the implementation with the enforcement is still dilly dallying on the issue.
It is therefore not palatable that since the historical judgments, Government has not had the will to enforce implementation of the various court judgments thereby creating volatility each time farming season sets. Various representations, supplications and submissions to Government of Anambra State of all the various judgment declarations to enable Government see facts and figures upon which they will lay claim in order to implement the judgment have always been neglected.
In 1998 to be precise, the two communities engulfed themselves in communal war. During the war, the Omor people unleashed their population against the people of Igbakwu, killing their people, burning down all standing blocks both habited or ongoing projects, maimed the people, abused their women, girls and chased the whole people out of their town. The clips of all these were presented to subsequent governments for them to see reasons the two towns should have a government enacted boundary.
All these are happening because, the Igbakwu Community though, is small in population eschewed all illegal methods and toed the line of peace. Israel is the smallest among all its neighbouring countries, yet when they decided to end it all, they first started by guerrilla warfare. Today, size is nothing to think about when we talk of Israel. Igbakwu community is a law abiding citizens who never anyday wanted to take laws into their hands and compound the already complex security problems in the country in general and the state in particular. Igbakwu people are already being apprehensive because tensions are already building in the area because the people are predominantly peasant farmers who depended on what they harvested from the land in dispute for daily needs.
However, it seems that Government prefers to come in when war has already broken so that those who will make requisition will have substantial amounts to quote. But some people fail to know that history will always recall its files. By that time the unfinished project between Obiano and Igbakwu will be highlighted. No one wants to be remembered for something he would not have done because by that time posterity will all be there for judgment. It will be a thing of joy, if Obiano will add the boundary demarcation between Igbakwu and Omor to the good projects he has done in the state. In order to make this possible, Obiano Government could attract Federal Government agency to be established in the restive area. No government will like to create a hot bed or sustain one in his domain. If he does, the projects that took him years to build could be demolished within a twinkling of an eye.
A little intro into how the history of Igbakwu affects Obiano runs short like this: Igbakwu, history has it that the town traced its origin to Ivite Aguleri. Of course, I can still remember when my late father used to go to Umungalagu in current day Ivite Aguleri for cultures relating to Ozo title and other traditional celebrations. The town Igbakwu has always been taken by Aguleri to be their toddler hence the cultural, language, deity, festival, marital similarities tying the people together. It is believed that the large community has a way of protecting the smaller communities. But in the case of Omor and Igbakwu, it is total annihilation because Omor which is large do not want to see eye to eye with its neighbouring communities that are smaller in population compared to their neighbouring towns let alone protecting them.
Igbakwu as a town has done all that is required of it to do with respect to securing its land but the government has not lived up to its own expectations in making sure that peace is given a chance. Igbakwu people are not asking Chief Willie Obiano to invoke his powers as one having patrimony with Igbakwu but to invoke the aspects of Government policy that relates to enforcement or implementation of judgments already declared by court of law. This is what they want. That’s all.
In the most recent past, Obiano administration created and set up a panel of enquiries to find the remote and immediate causes of breakdown of law and disorder in that axis of the state. The people of Igbakwu rose in jubilation that the thorn that choked them in the neck for decades would soon be removed. Little did they know that all that glitters is eventually not gold. This is because, since the inauguration of that Panel and subsequent Committee set up to look into what the Panel did including resubmission of facts of claims by the feuding communities, the matter seemed to have been kept in abeyance.
The town has became very apprehensive that as the farming season is approaching, hostilities will again start. More apprehensive in the fact that the Omor people will come to Igbakwu land destroy the farm of the Igbakwu man and still get a Police to arrest the Igbakwu man. Everything said by the Igbakwu man will not be taken by the Police. Whether the Police fear that since they are resident in Omor, there could be after effects. If Igbakwu clear their bush to cultivate it, the Omor people will rise, if they clear Igbakwu cultivated land, they will still rise. Igbakwu people are no longer comfortable over the issue, hence the call for government to expedite action before it is late.
The people of Igbakwu are therefore appealing to the good Government of Chief Willie Obiano of Anambra State to expedite action on the boundary demarcation between Igbakwu and Omor. Igbakwu people will remain appreciative to Chief Obiano if within this his administration as governor, he facilitated this singular act of enforcing the decades of court judgments with regards to the disputed land. It will be an unfinished project if Obiano will finish his administration and hand over to a successor without tying a knot around the boundary matter between these two communities. It will be nice to make hay while the sun shines because a stitch in time they say, saves nine.