ECONOMIC and social activities were paralysed at the weekend in some parts of Imo State by scores of rampaging Nekede community youths in Owerri-West Local Council over alleged plan by some persons to enthrone an unpopular monarch in their area.
Led by the President General of the community, Christopher Nkemakolam, his predecessor, Chidi Uneze and other elders and youths, the protesters expressed their anger by temporarily halting the free movement of vehicles and business activities to insist on the choice of their preferred candidate, Stephen Agumanu of Oguagwula Family. They also insisted that if there was an iota of doubt in their preferred candidate, a “true plebiscite” should be conducted to get the result once again clear rather than imposing a monarch on them.
The protesters headed to the Imo State House of Assembly where the Deputy Speaker, Donatus Ozoemena, received them on behalf of the Speaker, Benjamin Uwajimogu. They also protested to Chairman of the Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Samuel Ohiri.
Instruments of annoyance in Igbo land such as carrying of leaves, were displayed to the public. Residents could not move from one destination to the other due to the protest.
Meanwhile, a panel is looking into the situation in some communities in the state that have no monarch, based on the directive of Governor Rochas Okorocha.
Ozoemena, while receiving the protesters, promised to convey their grievances to the government. He reiterated the resolve of the government not to impose any person as monarch on any autonomous community without due process, transparency and the will of majority of the people of the given community.
Leader of the protesters said: “Nekede Ezeship stool is hereditary to the ruling house of Agumanu Oguagwula family, which produced Stephen Agumanu as our Eze-elect. What we need is love, unity, wisdom and a feeling of justice. The government should thoroughly investigate and fish out who this compromised traditional ruler is and take steps to penalise him because his action is capable of tarnishing the image of the rescue mission government, as well as plunging the state into chaos. This is because if Nekede is on fire, Imo State is on fire consequent upon its nearness to the state capital”.