As tension continues to rise in Ifitedunu community, Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State, Governor Chukwuma Soludo-led government says all requisite laws would be applied towards the restoration of peace.
The community is torn apart over the position of President General, with both Chief Uchenna Nwoye and another prominent son of the community, Chief Vincent Udobi at the centre of it all.
Nwoye has already gone into hiding after he was beaten up by thugs.
Nwoye, in a viral video, was beaten up at the community’s market square, by men said to be loyal to Udobi who is insisting that he (Nwoye) has been removed as the President General.
He was said to have visited the market square to supervise some shops he was constructing for the community, when Udobi’s men pounced on him and beat him like a common criminal.
The video has caused huge outcry, with some members of the community accusing Udobi of taking laws into his hands.
Nwoye, who spoke to DAILY POST over the phone on his plight, lamented that he has gone into hiding, after Udobi vowed to deal with him.
Anambra State government, Anambra State Association of Town Unions and many stakeholders in the state have expressed unhappiness over the manhandling of Nwoye.
Nwoye said his problem started in 2017 when one Sam Nweke, the then President-General and Udobi planned to dethrone their monarch, Igwe Chukwuemeka Ilouno.
“Vincent Udobi and Sam Nweke had plotted to dethrone our monarch. They tried to co-opt me into their evil plot but I blatantly refused.
“They offered me N5million but I rejected it. I advised them to write to the State government if they felt the traditional ruler was not doing things right. Because of that, when I wanted to contest for President General, he vowed to work against me.
“It is because I did not support his evil plots that his thugs beat me up like a common criminal at Nkwo market.
“The State government on 28th of July, 2023, issued a letter to the community reaffirming me as the duly recognised President-General of Ifitedunu Town Union, but these people are still laying siege in my office with their thugs,” he said.
When DAILY POST visited Udobi in his home on Thursday, he insisted that Ifitedunu community has deposed Nwoye as the President General of the community after a recent court judgement allegedly convicted him.
“An ex-convict cannot be our President General. Nwoye was convicted by the court in a criminal matter, and the community has resolved that he cannot be our President General. Is that too hard to understand?
“Let me ask you, are there no laws that made it clear that an ex-convict cannot hold positions? That is why our people are saying no to him.
“The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Hon Collins Nwabunwanne is the one causing trouble in our community. He is insisting on foisting Nwoye on us because he is his friend. We are calling on Soludo to sack him,” he claimed.
Speaking on the video of people said to be loyal to him beating Nwoye in the market square, Udobi insisted that what was seen in the video was only a case of two gangs fighting each other.
Meanwhile, Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s administration has vowed to ensure peace in Ifitedunu.
The Governor, who spoke to DAILY POST through his Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Collins Nwabunwanne, acknowledged that many communities were in crisis, but said that the constitution of each of the communities was being utilised to ensure lasting solution.
He said: “Ifitedunu constitution stipulated conditions by which a PG could be removed from office. It requires a general meeting supported by two-third of those present and that has not happened.
“Udobi was wrong to stand against Nwoye because the community’s constitution was not violated in any way. As for Nwoye being an ex-convict, it may interest you to know that Nwoye appealed that judgement.
“We will not sit back and let money bags enthrone impunity in communities because they have money.”
He lamented that it was saddening to watch the video of the PG being beaten by touts, saying that Soludo’s government would not let such continue.
Speaking on the brutalization of Nwoye, National President of Anambra State Association of Town Union (ASATU), Barr Titus Akpudo lamented that six Presidents-General of communities in Anambra State have in the past been killed, despite the selfless community service they render.
“We will not let this continue. PGs of about six communities have been killed in the past, and here we are talking of a man who thinks he has money, recruiting thugs to beat up a community leader.
“We have lost PGs in Nimo (Njikoka LGA), Omor (Ayamelum LGA), Orom Etiti( Anambra West (LGA), Nanka (Orumba North) and Obosi (Idemili North LGA). This must not be allowed to continue. Udobi or whoever must stop,” he warned.
Also, an APGA chieftain, Chinedu Obigwe, who lent his voice to the crisis said: “Udobi or whoever he is should know that Soludo has dealt with more people in communities than himself.
“Let me remind Udobi that the likes of Uzu Awka toed the path he is following today in the past and was tamed by Governor Soludo.
“Governor Soludo is not someone he can threaten and he is not someone he can dictate for. Anambra has passed the stage of one man acting as if he is a law unto himself.
“If such happened in the past, it cannot happen again under Governor Soludo administration because the era of exhibition of rascality in Anambra is gone for good.”