From Chuks Moses, Awka
Elders and citizens of Ideani community in Idemili North Council of Anambra state have sent a desperate save-our-soul message to Gov Willie Obiano to save the sleepy community from the crisis creeping in over the unilateral introduction of a Caretaker executive to pilot the affairs of the community.
Leading the call on the state government to rescind its empaneling the caretaker leadership was the chairman of the community’s Igwe-in-Council cabinet, Chief Sylvester Okafor who addressed journalists present at the event.
The timely intervention of some elders and officers of the Department of State Services (DSS) saved what would have been an explosive situation when the community people were initially prevented from addressing the gathering by the new caretaker leadership.
The ding-dong crisis which held up normal proceedings started when the head of the Caretaker committee, Mr Remmy Okpoko, read out the letter from the state government which set up the committee; and prevented those who raised objections from speaking.
Okpoko hardly returned to his seat when questions started flying from different directions probing the source of the list of the caretaker members.
Chief Okafor, spoke on the stand of the Igwe’s cabinet when he said, “Ideani do not recognize the Caretaker committee. We were never consulted and didn’t make input to its membership. It’s like a list drawn by one or two faceless persons hence full of the wrong characters.
According to him, “the cabinet which I chair has been in-charge of Ideani since our Igwe joined his ancestors. We ought to vet and make input in the list. The state government should dissolve them and allow the community to nominate a robust team”.
Taken up on the protests over the constitution of the Caretaker Committee, its vice chairman, Chief Egbuna Atu-Okoye said the committee was a wise creation of the state government, adding that the tension and crisis was a misplaced suspicion that the committee would dabble into the knotty issue of selection of a new traditional ruler.
Another commentator, Chief Cletus Uwaezuoke assured the citizens that from experience and records, no caretaker team anywhere dabbles into the issue of selection of a new Igwe. He said that the Okpoko committee’s terms of reference was clear and unambiguous.
But another chief in the community, Ernest Enenwa, queried the motive behind the list of the committee members, advising that all segments of the community ought to have been involved and carried along every step of the way.
A group of citizens had earlier written the state government. They wrote: “We, the concerned Ideanians are terribly disturbed by the present development that we are seeing now and felt saddened that the Government stand appears to be an open invitation to crises, breakdown of law and order that could lead to colossal failure in restoring peace and tranquility in our town…”
They accused the state government of stoking crises in no fewer than twenty communities out of sheer arrogance of power and obstinacy and therefore appealed for caution in the Ideani matter.