People of Owelle community in Anambra West Council Area on Tuesday besieged the State Government House, Awka, in protest over the removal of their Traditional Ruler, Igwe Anthony Onyekwere by former governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano and the alleged imposition of Mr Raymond Onoja on them.
TNC correspondent in Anambra can confirm that Igwe Onyekwelu has been the traditional ruler of the community for over 15 years, until relationship got sour between him and the former governor.
It was gathered that problem started when the royal father joined others to accompany a multi-billionaire on an Abuja trip to see President Muhammadu Buhari.
The former governor had suspended the monarch for a year before going ahead to dethrone him.
At the Government House Awka yesterday, the protesters carried placards and chanted protest songs, calling for the removal of Mr Onoja, whom they described as an imposter.
The placards bore inscriptions such as “We demand for immediate withdrawal of certificate of recognition issued to Col Raymond Omoja in error”, “We want reinstatement of Igwe Sir Anthony Onyekwere, Owelle is going backwards”, Children are no longer going to School In Owelle town”, Igweship tenure is for lifetime”, Igwe Anthony is still alive and Igweship in Owelle is not political but by Appointment”.
Speaking during the protest, Chief Peter Udeora, a former president general of the community said they were surprised when one morning they heard over the news that their traditional ruler has been replaced without any crime being committed.
According to him, this is against their culture and tradition as the deposed traditional ruler and the people of the community have rejected Mr Onoja as he has not been to the community for over 15 years and not known to them.
“Since Igwe Onyekwere was destaffed, the community has been thrown into anarchy, schools closed down, children in the community living in abject poverty and no development.
“It clear that Igwe Anthony is the community’s choice and the Igweship title was bestowed on him using the original culture and tradition of Owelle Ancient Kingdom,” he stated.
Udeora called on Governor Chukwuma Soludo to come to stop the illegality perpetrated by his predecessor, by restoring the Certificate of Authority to their former Igwe.
“Igwe Anthony is still alive and has not committed any crime to deserve him to be dethroned.,” he concluded.
In their separate speeches, Chief Joseph Nnakwe, Chief Anthony Unubi, Mr Peter Ibechi and Iyom Joy Nnoruka, applealed to state government to re-instate Igwe Anthony for peace and progress of the town.
Responding to the protesters, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu assured that the state government will look into their demands to ensure that peace returns to their community.
Prof Chukwulobelu expressed satisfaction with the manner the protesters conducted themselves and assured them that state government will bring back lasting peace and stability in Owelle Ancient Kingdom.
“I also want advise you to submit necessary documents to the state government and as well submit to the Commissioner Collins Nwabunwanne of Ministry of Local Government Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, so that due process will be followed in attracting government’s intervention.
“The present administration of Governor Soludo is committed to ensuring that absolute peace and stability return to all communities in Anambra State,” he assured.