· Dare Court, IMC Chairman
By Martin Opara
Tongues are presently wagging about the intrigues, manipulations and clandenstine moves and attempts by the President General of Emeabiam autonomous community, Chief Theophilus Iheakam, Dr Okey Ekeocha, Hon Luke Odoemena, Ogbonna Eze, Aham Ucheobi, among others to frustrate the emergence of Samuel Nduagwuike who is the preferred choice of the peopel as the traditional ruler of Emeabiam autonomous community in Owerri West LGA despite the pendency of Suit No: HOW/1140/2021, between Eze-Elect, Samuel Nduagwuike and Amaechi Theophilus Iheakam and others pending at the High Court in the Owerri Judicial Division.
Investigation by this reporter indicates that in a bid to achieve their ulterior motive, Chief Iheakam and his group unilaterally disqualified Samuel Nduagwuike from participating in the re-run election on the basis of a false and frivolous allegations that he claimed to possess a NABTEB certificate. This according to them is a concocted story aimed at giving a dog a bad name to hang it as the activities of the screening committee are on camera and can be verified.”
The disqualification of Nduagwuike, according to some Chiefs in the community is also contrary to the directive of the Interim Management Committee of Owerri West LGA as conveyed in a letter dated 15th July 2021, which he personally signed.”
The Chiefs who do not want his name in print further stated that, “prior to the election which was conducted on 31st March, 2021 the two contestants namely Samuel Nduagwuike and Obinna Nwalozie who paid the sum of N500,00 each to obtain the declaration of interest form were screened by a 13-man committee where they tendered all necessary documents including academic credentials which were thoroughly vetted. They also made verbal presentations before they were eventually cleared and election scheduled to hold on 31st March 2021. Nobody appealed against the outcome of the decision of the screening committee.”
“Sequel to the tension generated by the desperate attempts by the President General of the community Chief Theophilus Iheakam, Dr Okey Ekeocha, and group to truncate the outcome of the peaceful, transparent, free and fair Ezeship election held on 31st March, 2021 where the community gave its mandate to Samuel Nduagwike, the community in a letter dated 27th May, 2021 addressed to the IMC Chairman of Owerri West LGA, Hon Okey Enyioha faulted the disqualification of the winner of the election on the grounds of false, and unfounded allegations borne out of malice and mischief.”
The letter which was signed by leaders and stakeholders in the community namely, Chief Celestine Okoro, (Agu na eche mba I of Emeabiam), Oha Basil Iheagwam, Chairman, Ndi Oha Umuikea, Oha Chief Jonathan Opara, representing Okpuala Village, Oha Raymond Osuji of Umusoga and Ikoro Solomon Okereafor (Olokwu) reads, “The election was slated to take place on 31st March and non of the candidates appealed against the decision of screening committee. Surprisingly, Chief Theophilus Iheakam later informed us that one Ezenwa Ahaotu who did not contest the election appealed against the decision of screening committee. The elementary law the world over is that anyone who did not contest an election does not have the right to appeal Common sense also shows that Chief Theophilus Iheakam is bent on frustrating the will of the people of Emeabiam as expressed through the ballot box.”
“That Chief Theophilus Iheakam is already biased and is boasting that Samuel Nduagwuike will be disqualified from participating in the election. We are therefore vehemently opposed to him or his cronies conducting the election. That “the purported disqualification of Samuel Nduagwuike by the appeal committee is null and void because the person who instigated the appeal was never a candidate and therefore has no right to appeal against the decision of the screening committee. That the election should be reconducted for the two candidates mentioned above who had earlier paid the mandatory N500.000 (Five hundred thousand naira) to obtain their forms These two person’s having been screened and cleared to contest the election by the screening committee should be the only candidates to stand for the new election. That the decision of Appeal Committee collapses in the face of lack of jurisdiction to entertain the matter brought before it by a non contestant (Ezenwa Ahaotu) Moreso when the two contestants promised before Emeabiam people on 28th of March 2021 that any candidate who won will be congratulated by the other. They were satisfied with the decision of the screening committee.
“Responding to the letter addressed to him by leaders of Emeabiam autonomous community, the IMC Chairman of Owerri West LGA, Hon Okechukwu Enyioha in a letter he addressed to the President General of Emeabiam autonomous community dated 15th July 2021, with the caption “Ezeship Stool of Emeabiam Autonomous Community: The need to exercise fairness to all contestants that paid required fees for Ezeship election since 2020 and now” said, “We refer to the meeting we held with the Governor of our dear state. His Excellency, Senator Hope Uzodimma, where we were instructed among others that election should be conducted in Emeabiam Autonomous Community and winner presented to Owerri-West local government chairman without delay.
Please note and comply with the following:
That all contestants who had paid the required fees to Emeabiam Autonomous Community since 2020 till date must be allowed to contest.
That it is only the court of law that is competent to disqualify any candidate (s) and not any person or group of persons.
That all candidates must be given equal chance.
That you send to the Chairman of council the time table for the election.
That our Executive Governor expects you to maintain, decorum, peace and equity before, during and after the Ezeship Stool Election as this will justify your appointment as the President General of Emeabiam Autonomous Community.”