ECDA Leadership Berates Ikwo Council Boss Over Alleged Suspension

By Our Correspondent

The leadership of Ekawoke Community Development Association (ECDA) has berated the alleged suspension of its dully elected Executives by the Chairman of Ikwo Local Government Area, Barr Sunday Nwankwo, noting that his actions fall short of his personality and dictates of his office.

The people advised the Council Chairman not to yield to the dictates of the few greedy political jobber to plung Ekawoke, been the most peaceful Community in Ikwo to crises.

Dr Irem Collins Okechukwu who is the President General, Ekawoke Community Development Association, disclosed this to Journalist in Abakaliki on Saturday, in a press briefing.

In his words, “we wouldn’t have responded to the purported suspension by Ikwo Local Government Chairman because, the name on the publication is not my name. There, they said Mr Okey Irem and my name is not okey Irem.

“My name is Dr Collins Okechukwu Irem. On that, I would have declined responding to this, but along the line, I saw when they wrote Ekawoke Community, that was what attracted my attention and on this basis I think I would respond to this.

“Well, I am so much disappointed that the Local Government Chairman of Ikwo will act in such error. When I read it, the letter was too shallow, very baseless and has no focus. It was indefinite letter that has no ending.

“When he said security, I was expecting him as the chief security officer of the council to be definite, specific and tell the public the nature of insecurity the Community is witnessing.

“Well, I am not surprised because it is political. It has been a long time they have been looking for how to collapse other structures in our community to what they called ETF. It is on that basis that the Local Government Chairman is taking advantage of the majority that have refused to succumb to mere allegations and intimidation they are bringing to the community.

“I received a call on 4th of this month being April, 2024 from one of his aides, Mr Eze Ndubuisi (Escapee) that the Local Government Chairman would want to see me on the 5th of April along with secretary General of the Association and two other stakeholders.

“I was curious to know why because I have made every attempt to meet with the local Government Chairman after my election, to no avail. I evenwrote a courtesy call letter, requesting he grant the Community audience, I submitted the letter to his office on the 25th of March, he received the letter, acknowledged it, but up till today, he turned down the request and decided to call on me with the secretary and other two stakeholders of which I invited along side with me, Prof Joseph Afiukwa and Mr Daniel Ogiji who serves as his kitchen cabinet.

“When we got there, I made every effort to reach Mr Daniel Ogiji popularly known as DND but he was no where to be found. We were told that Chairman said that we should wait until the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Ikwo arives. In my mind I said, could this be civilian coup.

“We waited till the DPO arrived, the officer in charge of military base in Ikwo also arrived and we were invited to his office. There was no formal introduction anyways.

“The Chairman rose to say that he got a report that there was Insecurity issues in my Community and that we have started mining without his consent. He asked what have I to say about these issues. I was so embarrassed, so devastated that the person of his pedigree would just wake up to act that way.

“I was expecting if it was a petition to have served me or allow the security to do their work of investigation. I stood to tell him my view over the two allegations he said was submitted to him.

“I was able to tell him all efforts made since I was elected the national president, I went through the councilor who ordinarily supposed to have led the delegation to present the new elected Executive to the Chairman and due to their clannish politics, the councilor refused taking us to the Chairman, it didn’t end there, I met his kitchen cabinet DND, pleaded that he should take us to the Chairman, all to no avail until I wrote and chairman did not honor the letter for the community to meet with him.

“Be that as it may, to the best of my knowledge, there is no Insecurity issues in my Community, I told him that Ekawoke remains the most peaceful Community in Ikwo and Ebonyi at large. I go to the village and I get reports from the village chairmen and up till now there’s no issues Sir. For the issues of mining, I told him vehemently that as soon as I assumed office, I was briefed that the late Eze Dickland Ogalegu had given consent.

“I told him am not aware and I have never been part and I never gave consent, I never met with any company rather, the serving councilor, Clifford Igboji was petitioned by Egu Inyima village Chairman and the petition is before us and we have discussed that at Executive committe level and he was reported to have received bribe of two hundred thousand naira (200,000) from a company and the village Chairman also admitted to have received the sum of five hundred thousand naira (500,000) from the same company and the two families whose house were affected as a result of mining activities have also received the sum of two hundred thousand naira respectively.

“While there, I tendered the report from Egu Inyima village Chairman to the local Government Chairman and also went further to tender the consent signed by these two land owners with the village Chairman to tell the Local Government Chairman that the councilor has even admitted and has helped these people to even went to Federal Ministry in charge of mining in Abuja and registered the consent without my knowledge. I was expecting the Chairman as our father, as a role model to stand on the truth, probably, say okay, he has heard from the two parties because he was fed wrongly by one party.

“I was expecting him to balance whatever he has heard, but that did not happen, rather he asked the Councilor, if he has anything to say, he rose, but what surprised me most was that when he rose, he told the local Government Chairman that, yes he collected the sun of one hundred and twenty thousand naira (120,000) from the mining company, but he later refunded the money and this is his evidence, he printed his statement of account showing to the local Government Chairman where he refunded the money on the 27th of March.

“I laughed and I said that means this meeting was held somewhere and you were briefed that was why you are well armed and equiped to have even gone to bank to print a statement of account. I was looking at the Chairman when he stood to say that the duly constitutionally elected Executive of our dear Community is hereby dissolved.” He said .

Dr. Irem, who alleged that the Chairman ordered for his arrest, said the major interest of the Chairman and those working for him, was on the issue of who becomes the next Traditional ruler of the community.

“He ordered the arrest of myself and the secretary of the union and we proceeded to the police, at the end of the day we were granted bail and handed over to Prof. Afiukwa Joseph. The point here is that what is happening in my Community is a tussle of who becomes the traditional ruler.

“You know His Excellency, Rt Hon Builder Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru, who is ensuring that Ebonyi maintains and live in peace has given order that every community that does not have traditional rulers should do that and that is what we are trying to do and the selfish politicians who are working with the local Government Chairman are trying to impose a wrong Candidate on the community, and we are ressolate and firm that the wrong candidate will not emerge.

“Most at times they have even sworn publicly that we can not coronate a traditional ruler. what is playing now is two things to manipulate and install a traditional ruler in Ekawoke and ensure that there’s no body that will rise against the local Government Chairman in his second term bid.

“As it stands, the mandate given to me and other Executive of ECDA by our people is still very intact. He cannot stay at the local Government and say he has dissolved us. I was duly elected and there are constitutional procedures to removing an elected Executive if we err in our duties.

Like i told you, the legal adviser of the Association is here, he is in the position to tell you our next line of action, but as a loving and peaceful Community, and leaders we are, we shall make efforts to ensure that our community remains peaceful.”

The ECDÀ National President however, called on the State Governor, His Excellency Rt Hon. Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru and other stakeholders to the Chairman to order, stressing that the chairman’s desperate and illegal action may lead to crises if not addressed.

“We are appealing to the State Governor and other stakeholders to call the Chairman to order. Because, this is capable of breaching and causing insecurity in our community if not urgently handled. The community is already agitating because, we hold the mandate of the community. Calls have been coming asking if they have done anything contrary to the Constitution .

“As we speak, I am going home to inform them that everywhere is calm. Nobody should take laws into their hands. Our Governor, I know him, he is a peaceful Governor, he will quickly intervene. As it stands now, constitutionally, I am still the national president of Ekawoke Development Association, I was elected not appointed. we have our constitution and we were duly elected and and have barely spent four months into our administration. The Chairman cannot just wake up and dissolve us. There are procedures to that and as we speak there’s no letter from the Chairman to that effect. I have my certificate of return.

“The election that brought us was supervised under his leadership. He sent delegate, Mr Daniel Ogiji, the state Governor was there represented by his SA on security, Mr Desmond Edeke. He is aware of this but he is trying to play clannish politics that is capable of destroying and truncating peace,” he concluded.

Responding to the alleged dissolution of the Executive by the council Chairman, Legal Adviser of the Association, Barr. Philip Oshine Esq. Stressed that Ekawoke Community has remained and still the most peaceful Community in Ikwo accusing the Local Government Chairman, Barr Sunday Nwankwo of plotting to instigate Crisis in the peaceful Community.

“I’m an indigen of Ekawoke Community, born and brought up in Ekawoke. My president put call across to me yesterday on my back to the State because, I resident and practice in Anambra State, that Ikwo Local Government Chairman dissolved the Executive of Ekawoke Development Association. I asked him, what are his basis for doing that, he said that the Chairman said it is because of insecurity. I asked him among the five villages in Ekawoke, is there anyone that is having crises, the president said none.

” When the purported write up on WhatsApp, I red through it, I now said okay, the community Executive he had purportedly dissolved is Ekawoke Development Union but the community we are leading is Ekawoke Community Development Association and not Union. Therefore, that order ot directive is not applicable and can never be enforced on us. We remain the active leadership of Ekawoke Community Development Association.

“Based on that, going through the purported write up , I also discovered that he didn’t mentioned any of the village or any person that anybody have threatened may be with gun or any weapon or has been beaten up on any of the five villages. None of those things has been seen or heard and he said he is dissolving the Executive. It is unfortunate that my colleague, Barr Sunday Nwankwo is the one trying to pose security threat in our community and if you go to our platform, you will see comments of people.

“I was shocked and surprised when the Executive Chairman, Barr. Sunday Nwankwo failed to apply the principle of fair hearing from the both parties or hear from the entire Community. We have elders but few miscreants went to him and made such pronouncement.

“As it stands, the president and the entire Executive remains valid till tomorrow. We have a constitution. We have a specified offense if any of the Executive members commit that will warrant the person to be removed from his position and none of these offence have been committed by the national president, neither any of the Executives.

“If you read that write up, they did mention any offense at all. Infact, it is an incohent write up, and I am not concluding because it was not written with any letter headed paper from the local Government council or the Chairman, maybe. I assume some people decided to write it up. maybe, the miscreants. for now, I will advise my president to continue with his efforts to make sure that the peace that have been in Ekawoke community since we assume the leadership will continue to reign in the community.”, he concluded.

Meanwhile, some members of the said newly constituted caretaker Committee by the Chairman have reportedly resigned. Efforts to reach the Chairman for his reaction was not fruitful as at the time of this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *