The Egwu-Achi community of Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State has known no peace with self imposed traditional ruler, Mr. Victor Meniru.
The war lingered until March 4th this year when an Enugu High Court in a judgment delivered by justice Nwobo deposed Meniru describing his rise to the throne as fraudulent.
The court agreed with the town union that there was no election in Egwu-Achi ab initio. Therefore, that the process which brought Mr Victor Meniru as the Igwe of Egwu-Achi is fraudulent and remained null and void.
End of an unpopular traditional ruler and envisaged start to an era and hope for return of peace.
The court further gave an order that the plaintiffs be allowed to organize and conduct election to elect an Igwe within 90 days. It went further to mention the plaintiffs, Mr Okechukwu Onwuka, Barr, Mmadu Ako and three others. And within that time the election was conducted with the permission of commissioner of police.
Mr. Okechukwu Onwuka, the Town Union President recalls; “We wrote him for protection which he obliged and after the election, Chief Donald Ede won the election and crowned according to the tradition and a certificate of return was presented to him by the president general of the community.
With a popular Igwe on ground the atmosphere of peace was established and the people were happy. For the first time in more than a decade Egwu-Achi community was calm and peaceful.
But that was short lived as the Enugu State commissioner for Chieftaincy Matters Charles Egumgbe re-ignited the settled chieftaincy tussle through a radio announcement imposing the unpopular and deposed traditional ruler Victor Meniru against the court judgment and popular opinion.
According to Onwuka, “we heard an announcement on Radio that certificate of return has been presented to the same Victor by the commissioner for Chieftaincy and Victor sent me some pictures claiming that he has received certificate of return.
“The security in our community is in shambles since the announcement. People cannot sleep; there are gun shots and fighting everywhere and we have been calling on all the leaders in the community to curtail these excesses but they are telling us that if they can do that now what about the festive period that people are coming home to celebrate? That there is no way they can guaranty security.”
Consequently, the villagers stormed government house Enugu in protest over imposition of traditional ruler.
The aggrieved members of the community who accused the commissioner of imposing a candidate against their wish insisted that the court decision must be obeyed.
The people marched from the community to government house Enugu with placards that reads; We say no to imposition of Mr Victor Meniru as our Igwe, Akalusi cannot impose Victor Meniru on Egwu-Achi people, Victor Meniru is not our Igwe as announced on Radio, Court decision must be obeyed, the court verdict said and still saying that Mr Meniru came through fraudulent means.
Others are, Chief Donald Ede is our Igwe duly elected by the people, His excellency should come to the aids of Egwu-Achi autonomous community, Nobody can steal the throne of Egwu-Achi, Oji River local government chairman should leave Egwu-Achi alone with the Igwe issue.
Addressing the crowd at the government house, 78-year-old Chief Raymond Onwuekwe, expressed sadness over the radio announcement of certificate of return to Mr Victor Meniru who secured 2 votes in election that brought Chief Donald Chede as the Igwe of Egwu-Achi autonomous community.
Chief Onwuekwe, appealed for governor Ugwuanyi’s intervention on the issue to restore peace and calmness in the community, adding that elders have been trying to control the youths since the announcement was made but it will become worrisome during this forthcoming yuletide.
“We didn’t elect Victor Meniru to be our traditional ruler. He failed when election was conducted. He got only 2 votes. Chief Donald Chede won the election and as tradition demands, we crowned him and sets plan to bring him to government for certificate of return.”