By Foster Obi
National Chairman Obunaebere nkuma Development Union (ODU) in Eluama, Isuikwuato local government area of Abia State, Mr Ignatius Okoronkwo has raised issues with a recent action carried out by the traditional ruler of the community, HRH, Eze Faraday Chinekwe, accompanied by the Traditional Prime Minister, Chief Ukeje Udah and other cabinet members, who invaded an on-going convention of ODU National without prior notice and disrupted the peaceful proceedings of the convention, with the Eze insisting that he must be allowed to address the convention.
He therefore uses this opportunity “to invite the general public, particularly all the good people of Obunaebere nkuma autonomous community to: Call Eze Faraday Chinekwe and his cabinet to order and stop them from further destabilizing ODU national; interfering with the affairs of ODU and heating up the community with fragrant abuse of the collective rights of the people of Obunaebere nkuma autonomous community to freely associate and freely elect their leaders.”
In a press statement titled, “OBUNAEBERE NKUMA AUTONOMOUS COMMUNITY IN PERSPECTIVE: ABUSE OF POSITION AND BREACH OF PEACE, LAW AND ORDER BY HIS LOYAL HIGHNESS (HRH) EZE FARADAY CHINEKWE AND HIS CABINET,” Mr Okoronkwo gave a step by step detail of what transpired and the obvious backlash.
Obunaebere nkuma is an autonomous community in Eluama, Isuikwuato Local Government Area of Abia state, South East, Nigeria.
Obunaebere nkuma Development Union (ODU) National is an association of indigenes of Obu na ebere nkuma autonomous community worldwide. The association has its branches in many cities and towns in Nigeria, with good level of international participation by many of its people resident outside the country. The union has been in existence in its current form for over thirty two years, and has produced: Two traditional rulers with their respective cabinet, including the current one under the Ezeship of His Royal Highness, Eze Faraday Chinekwe; and Four (4) President Generals (now known and referred to as National Chairmen in Eluama) with their respective executive committees, including the current one led by Mr. Ignatius Okoronkwo.
The responsibilities of ODU National as an association, among other things, are focused on the development of the community through self help anchored on levies, fines, donations, and the contributions of well meaning people from within and outside the community. The people of Obunaebere nkuma autonomous community, like those from many other communities in South Eastern Nigeria, have a lot of expectations from her development union.
It is for the above reason that the Ezeship constitution of Obu na ebere nkuma autonomous community specifically provides in Section IX, under the “duties of the traditional ruler”, paragraph 5 that: “The traditional ruler shall in no circumstances dissolve the Obu Na Ebere Nkuma development union or the meetings of any or all of the five villages. Such act shall be null and void”.
In spite of the specific provisions of the Ezeship constitution, on 26th December, 2020, HRH, Eze Faraday Chinekwe, accompanied by the Traditional Prime Minister, Chief Ukeje Udah and other cabinet members, invaded an on-going convention of ODU National without prior notice and disrupted the peaceful proceedings of the convention, with the Eze insisting that he must be allowed to address the convention.
We had to break the discussions and stopped the reports from the various committees to accommodate this interregnum caused by our own Eze.
At this, Eze Faraday Chinekwe took over the proceedings of the convention from the National Chairman, Mr. Ignatius Okoronkwo, who was hitherto presiding over the convention peacefully and in a very orderly manner.
After taking contributions from a few people he personally allowed to speak, all of who extolled the leadership virtues and achievements of the National Chairman, the Eze, in total disregard to these opinions and the Ezeship constitution of Obunaebere nkuma autonomous community, announced the dissolution of the elected ODU National executive committee and unilaterally appointed an interim executive to take over the functions and responsibilities of running the affairs of Obu na ebere nkuma development union national.
This act by the Eze did not go down well with majority of the attendees many of who walked out on him from the hall while he was still delivering his address just to register their displeasure.
However, after the “royal interruption”, the Eze and his colleagues left the venue while the convention rallied and continued with its deliberations in the same December 2020 convention of Obunaebere nkuma Development Union (ODU) National that held at the Obu na ebere nkuma primary school, in line with the earlier published agenda. Therein the convention agreed and passed some far reaching resolutions including:
A vote of confidence on the elected National Chairman of ODU national, Mr. Ignatius Okoronkwo, and all the other elected executive committee members of ODU national requesting them to continue in office with the mandate given to them to work for the development of the Obunaebere nkuma community; To disregard the actions and pronouncements of Eze Faraday Chinkwe:
- Purporting to dissolve the ODU national executive committee;
- Purporting to constitute an interim ODU national executive committee;
- That Eze Faraday Chinekwe and his cabinet do not have the power or the authority:
- to unilaterally dissolve the elected national executive of ODU national;
- to unilaterally constitute an interim national executive to oversee the affairs of ODU national;
- to interfere with the affairs of ODU national.
- to infringe on the rights of the people of Obunaebere nkuma autonomous community as guaranteed by the Ezeship constitution of Obu nnaeberenkuma autonomous community and the constitution of the Federal Republic Nigeria including the right to freely associate and the right to freely elect their leaders.
Subsequently, and in spite of the resolutions agreed and passed in the December, 2020 convention, the Eze and his colleagues, approached:
- Some local radio stations and announced:
- The purported dissolution of the elected ODU National executive, and
- The purported constitution of an interim ODU national executive to take over the functions and responsibilities of the ODU national executive.
- The Police Area Command in Eluama, Isuikwuato and submited a written petition the content of which is still not clear as at the time of this report.
The public particularly the good people of Obunaebere nkuma autonomous community may wish to know among other things:
What is the motivation for Eze Faraday Chinekwe and his cabinet to knowingly contravene the Ezeship constitution of Obunabebere nkuma autonomous committee that brought him into office?
Pix: Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu