– As Ekechi dares Imo Govt, vows to bulldoze property, remove beacons
By Martin Opara
The Traditional Ruler of Dindi Ihiagwa autonomous community, HRH, Eze Kingsley Ezewunwa Odu, Agwa Ukwu I of Dindi, the President General of Dindi autonomous community, Chief Eugene Ohakwa JP, a retired Bank Manager, the chairman, Iriamogu Development Union (IDU) Care Taker Committee, Ichie Nze Harold Oparaugo, his Vice, Ichie Nze Jude Anah who was the chairman, of Ozuruke family where Festus Ekechi comes from, Barr Chukwuma Oparaigwe, a member of Iriamogu Development Union Care Taker Committee and other stake holders have called on the Imo state government and other relevant agencies to check the excesses of Chief Festus Ekechi who hails from Iriamogu one of the component villages that make up Dindi, a retired Director of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Company who has vowed to bulldoze the entire Dindi Ihiagwa GRA Housing Estate phases 1 and 2 that was acquired by the state government through the Imo state Housing corporation in 2018 and remove the beacons in the next one week.
They alleged that Chief Ekechi has been using the financial muscle he acquired while in office to harass, intimidate and fan the embers of confusion, disaffection and disunity in Iriamogu village, using some of the misinformed and disgruntled youths who he sponsors to disrespect, disregard and disdain constituted authority. “These youths now go about harassing, intimidating and terrorizing law abiding indigenes and residents, especially those who refuse to align with Chief Festus Ekechi’s antics and manipulative tendencies”
“For instance, our revered Monarch who ascended the throne in 1996 after many years of undented meritorious service, for security reasons and to douse tension in the community recently dissolved the exco of Iriamogu Development Union and appointed a Care Taker Committee.
“He also communicated the two kindreds that make up Iriamogu namely Okeoma/Adari and Iheshilam and told them that having forseen unpleasant circumstances that might lead to chaos, the meeting previously scheduled for 14th March 2021, has been postponed. The youths at the instance of their sponsor, Chief Ekechi, violated the Eze’s directive and still convened an illegal meeting on that day, where they purportedly dissolved the exco which the Eze had earlier dissolved and appointed a dissident electoral committee headed by Paul Oparake to conduct a kangaroo election scheduled for 28th March 2021.”
They further said, “Chief Festus Ekechi, determined to form a parallel government in the village, has said that forms for the kangaroo election to be conducted by the dissident electoral committee they formed, are free for those who wish to contest as he has paid the electoral committee for all the nomination forms just to slight constituted authority and cause trouble in Iriamogu village.”
They also condemned in very strong terms, the unruly attitude of Kelechi Oparaigwe, the dissident youth leader who was unilaterally installed by Ekechi for organizing his group of things who blocked the road and refused the contractors working for the Imo State Housing Corporation who brought electric poles to be installed in the estate in question entry. “Let it be on record that Iriamogu village is not part of the aggressive show of shame which we consider not only an affront on the state government but disrespect for constituted authority. If the youths are allowed to continue perpetrating all kinds of lawlessness because they believe that their alleged sponsor, Festus Ekechi can always press buttons to secure their release, there will be a time that things will fall apart because the centre can no longer hold, hence we urge the government to step in urgently and address the situation by calling Chief Ekechi to order. No individual no matter his social or financial status should be allowed to hold a village to ransom.”
The President General of the community, Chief Eugene Ohakwe told this reporter that, “I have severally advised Chief Ekechi to retrace his steps, and meet the Eze one on one for discussion of his grievances if any, instead of condescending to the level of instigating youths to cause trouble and heat up the polity in Iriamogu village but he refused to listen. I am surprised that he is raising dust about Okeohia and Okpo Ogoloshi. Though I don’t know much about that but from the information I got, he was part of the entire transaction and even publicly advised the beneficiaries on the day they were collecting their allocation papers not to sell the land but rather, keep them for their children. He ought to have complained then if there was need”.
Jude Anah present Vice Chairman of the Care Taker Committee of IDU, said, “ I was the chairman of Ozuruke family meeting where Festus Ekechi incidentally comes from. I collected the allocation papers for the four and half plots allocated to our family. All the 21 families in Iriamogu got four and half plots each, and signed relevant documents for the Attorney.”
“Chief Ekechi who said I should not collect our family’s allocation and sent one Victor Ekechi from Aba to collect it. When I eventually collected it he mounted pressure on me to hand them over to him and I refused. When the pressure became so much I gave the papers to the eldest man in the family and subsequently resigned as chairman. How is he now saying that the process is not clear to him. If that is so, why did he send somebody to collect our families allocation papers?”
When contracted, the Attorney of the village in respect of the land, otherwise known as Okeohia and Okpo Ogoloshi, Hon Chris Oguoma said, “ everything about the land transaction between the community and the government represented by Imo state housing corporation was peaceful.
I was told that the youths, the women, the 21 families, the past and present executives of Iriamogu Development Union and other stakeholders were given their due portions of the land. We worked harmoniously with the village security outfit that we paid N60,000 monthly in addition to the N3,000 we paid daily to the three personnel they sent while the youths also sent two persons that were paid N2,000 each, daily for the four months we worked there.”
Meanwhile, a Magistrate Court sitting in Ihiagwa, Owerri West LGA, presided over by Oby Amadi Esq on 24th March 2021, while ruling on an application filed by Ichie Nze Harold Oparaugo and 3 others, “restrained Paul Oparaeke and 4 others from molesting or disturbing the exco of Iriamogu Development Union in the performance of their duties, functions or responsibilities or conducting or purporting any election. The defendants are to be served by substituted service”.