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Ebonyi: Dissolved Town Union Leadership Triggers Unrest

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A cloud of uncertainty descends on the Ekka community in Ebonyi State’s Ezza North Local Government Area, as Barrister Chika Igboke, Coordinator of Imoha Development Centre, shakes the foundation by dissolving the town union leadership, triggering tensions.

Reports suggest that the late Traditional Ruler of the community established the town union leadership around 38 years ago, with Elder Oketa Francis assuming leadership duties.

However, on March 7, 2024, Chika Igboke, a member of the community and the Coordinator of the Development Centre, took the decision to dissolve the leadership.

Expressing his discontent, Elder Oketa conveyed that Igboke’s action was unacceptable to the Ekka community, asserting that proper procedures were not adhered to in the dissolution.

He suggested that Igboke should have convened a meeting of the stakeholders and community members at the customary gathering place to deliberate on the matter and gather their opinions before making his decision.

According to him, Igboke’s decision was autocratic, unilateral and It’s against the wishes of the people.

Elder Oketa said: “I have been ruling Ekka for many years now. I have been in power for over 30 years peacefully. We have rules in this community on election and other matters. Whenever we want to do something in this community, we must discuss it in public, we must gather to deliberate on it and then take a decision but this was not done before the said dissolution of the town union which I am heading and that is why we are saying it’s not acceptable.

“If the people of the community decide that they want to remove me and the entire leadership, everybody must be aware of it, it must be discussed the way we normally do our thing. Coordinator of Imoha Development Centre who is our kinsman, didn’t consult anyone before dissolving the town union and we can’t accept it.

“You don’t wake and dissolve a town union leadership; you have to do it peacefully and orderly so that the person in power can thank the people for giving him the opportunity to serve them and the community can as well thank the person for his services to the people”.

Also speaking, a Youth Leader in the Community who doubles as the Supervisor for Agriculture, Ezza North LGA, Nwafor Celestine also condemned the dissolution of the town union executives by Igboke and called on the State Government to intervene.

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“We got a distress call from our people that the Coordinator of our Development Centre, Imoha Development Centre, who happens to be our brother here held a meeting at the Development Centre and dissolved our town union which he never instituted to create problems in our community.

“Ekka people had met and resolved after series of meeting that they will constitute a committee which will take care of election into the town union. Stakeholders of the community agreed to meet on Easter Tuesday for them to resolve on how to elect or appoint town union leadership of the Community since our President and his EXCO members have served very well and need to rest.

“We are appealing to the local government and the state government to wade into this matter because our youths are not happy. I know what I have passed through trying to calm them down. We are happy that our Governor Francis Nwifuru gave our brother the Coordinator of Imoha Development Centre but he should stop using the position against us, he shouldn’t destroy the peace our forefathers kept in this community through his anti-people’s action.

“Before you do anything in this community, the people must meet but the Coordinator didn’t allow the people to meet because he has political power to do anything he likes, he wants to impose leadership on the community so that if any other person from the community gets political position tomorrow, he will follow his footsteps.

“This is how problems starts in the community and the Coordinator should be called to order. The youths are not happen on his action, government should wade into this matter to avoid crisis. The community has been very peaceful, it is the most peaceful community in Ezza North and someone wants to set it on fire because of selfish interest”, he stated.

Igboke wasted no time in rejecting the allegations, insisting they were without merit, and urged the public to dismiss them outright.

He pointed out that he conducted meetings with all stakeholders within the community and consulted extensively with the populace before dissolving the town union executive.

Igboke voiced his belief that certain executives were already elderly and in need of retirement, highlighting that the town union was established by the late traditional ruler, Ekechi Chukwu, in the early 1980s.

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