Reporter : UCHE NDEKE
Communities in Anambra State have been advised to maintain peace and unity while going about electing their leaders.
The State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr. Greg Obi, made the call while addressing some indigenes of Abacha Community, who came to appeal for the reinstatement of their traditional ruler, Igwe Godwin Mbakwe, at the government house, Awka.
There have been growing concerns in some communities in Anambra State about traditional rulership and election of Presidents-General.
This followed the suspension of some traditional rulers, the reinstatement of some and dethronement of others, which had also led some communities to have parallel traditional rulers and town unions leaders.
The traditional ruler of Abacha in Idemili North Local Government Area, was one of those who were earlier suspended and later dethroned by the Anambra State Government, leading to the installation of a new ruler within two weeks, against the six months period stipulated by the Constitution of Abacha for the replacement of a traditional ruler.
This, Radio Nigeria gathered, prompted the people to come in their numbers to appeal to the state government for the reinstatement of their traditional ruler of over twenty years.
One of them, Chief Ezechukwu Mbakwe, said the community was supportive of the Obiano led administration, which had brought about development at the grassroots.
He noted that reinstating the traditional ruler would go a long way in sustaining the peace of the community, which had suffered great set back in recent times.
Another resident, Dr. Chukwujekwu Odiegwu, said government had the right to suspend whoever it wished to but appealed that due process must be followed in the selection of a new traditional ruler if need be.
One of the spokespersons, Mr. Emeka Onwuka, explained that some people who had been skimming to remove the traditional ruler in the community saw the suspension as an opportunity to install someone else against the interest of the whole community.
Addressing the protesters, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr. Greg Obi, who was represented by the Public Relations Officer of the ministry, Mr. Henry Nwasike, commended them for their peaceful conduct and promised that government would look into their complaints with a view to bringing lasting peace to the area.
The people carried placards with various inscriptions: “Abacha Community wants Igwe GC Mbakwe Reinstated,” “Governor please forgive our Igwe,” “detractors should stop distracting our Igwe and the entire Abacha Community,” “We are solidly behind Igwe GC Mbakwe,” among other inscriptions as they presented their position letter to the state government.