The Enugu State Government has finally intervened in the intractable crisis that has faced Nguru Nsukka community for years.
DAILY POST reports that a group, Nguru Concerned Citizens (NCC) has been in a running battle with the traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Linus Obayi, who they have been accusing of refusal to constitute town union executives.
There have been a series of protests by the group.
The commissioner for rural development in Enugu State, Hon Emeka Mamah has now kick-started the process for the constitution of a town union executive in the community, with the successful verification of delegates for the town union election.
Addressing members of the community before the take-off of the event, at the Igwe’s palace, Mamah said his visit to the community was on Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s directive to conclude the town union election within the month.
‘’You know that our journey did not start today. Since my appointment as the commissioner for rural development, I have not been to any community more than once.
“This is the only community I have visited up to three times, if not four times. I have been preaching peace; if I had wanted the crisis to escalate, I would have done that already, but I would not be in this position and incite violence. I would not do that.
“I thank you very much for this maturity, let it be something that will enthrone peace in the Nguru community.
“The journey we have embarked upon today is on the Governor’s directive to conclude this town union election within this month,’’ he stated.
Explaining the modalities for the verification exercise, Hon Mamah said “we also agreed that the election process has no issue. I am a bit reasonable and mature.
“This is what we agreed that we will do and I have not deviated a bit from it and I will not.
“What I want is for us to carry out that which all Nguru people have agreed to do. Thereafter, we come together and present it to the people who will then select those who will be their executives.
‘‘So, what we are going to the villages and satellite settlements to do is simple: it is for the Onyishi (Eldest man) and his secretary who are going to talk and make statement to any question that may be asked; in a situation the Onyishi is incapacitated to talk by the virtue of his health, the secretary will speak on his behalf. I am not going to listen to any side talk’’.
He also issued warning to those who were not from those villages to be visited to desist from going there or fomenting any trouble that may mar the event.
Earlier in his speech, Igwe Obayi urged the people to remain organized and maintain civility.
He expressed his satisfaction with the efforts of the Enugu State Government towards restoring normalcy to the community.
“You can see that the Hon commissioner has come to our place for peace; you can see we had a closed-door briefing before now. We deliberated well and extensively. We understood ourselves well. Hence we agreed that he will visit the four villages in contention where there are still issues,” the monarch noted.
Our correspondent reports that the verification exercise took the Hon commissioner and officials of the ministry to four villages comprising Amagu Uwani, Uwaligbo,Ogbagu and Agbani.
At the various villages, the eldest man (Onyishi) of each village was given the privilege to nominate two delegates each as follows: Amagu Uwani village (Dr Okwudili Obayi and Obinna Herbert Obute), Uwaligbo Village (Mr Godwin Onyishi and Ikenna Asadu), Ogbagu village (Sylvester Onyishi and Titus Ezema), and Agbani village (Ikechukwu Ugwu and Emmanuel Otti).
In chat with journalists, the commissioner expressed satisfaction with the successful conduct of the exercise.
“We prefer a situation where everybody is in agreement on who is representing them. It is not just a one person affair,’’ he said.
He further expressed optimism on the amicable resolution of the crisis soon.
“Hopefully, it is very possible that it shall be settled, there is nothing impossible. We believe that we are going to get it settled and restore peace to the community”, he assured.
On his part, Igwe Obayi disclosed that “we have started the process of bringing back peace to the community.”
Barr Joseph Ogbuka, a prominent son and legal adviser to the community, noted that the coast was now clear for the community to have its town union executives.
“Today, these doubts have been cleared, the coast is clear; we can move simply to the election, provided they will honour the voices of these elders.
“What will provoke us is where they will change it and that is why we have asked the Hon commissioner to live up to the people’s expectation. The elders have spoken, so let us honour them,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Dr Okwudili Obayi, a prominent son of the town and medical practitioner, has continued to plead with the warring factions to give peace a chance.