Imo-Awka Festival Holds Amid Leadership Tussle | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Imo-Awka Festival Holds Amid Leadership Tussle

Posted: May 21, 2015 at 12:47 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Christian Emeka  – Awka


The greatest socio-cultural festival of Awka people, Imo-Awka, came to its climax at the weekend with hundreds of masquerades proceeding from Awka to Umuopku as customs demanded despite the confusion in the leadership of the community.

Thousands of indigenes returned home for the festival as they lined up the road watching masquerades and their followers exhibiting fun or madness as the situation warrants.

Meanwhile, as the crisis continues in the Town Union leadership of Awka, the Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, may have to act fast to save his host community from the imminent crisis which is about to explode over leadership tussle.

Stakeholders in the community have met having returned in grooves for the Imo-Awka festival and claimed that its President General, Tony Okechukwu’s tenure has elapsed. They alleged he is still hanging on based on his relationship with the state Governor.

A general assembly of the Awka community convened at Umuoranma Square by Awka Ambassadors Club, with prominent Awka sons as members and which was attended by titled men, elders of the community and all male adults at home and abroad, unanimously rejected the leadership of the President General, insisting that his tenure has long expired.

They accused him of amending the constitution of the town to suit his bid to return to power for a second term even though he knows that it was not right for him to return, as doing so will contravene the constitution which brought him to power.

Speaking, the former Deputy Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly, Mr. Keluo Molokwu, who was at the meeting, said: “Our 2008 constitution which brought Okechukwu to power stipulates one term each for a person, and a rotational six years to the two zones of the town; Ezi and Ifite.

“We as members of Awka Ambassadors Club decided to convene Izu Awka (general assembly) after meeting with the parties involved, and we have agreed that he will no longer be our leader. A fresh election will be conducted, but we already have a seven-man committee in his stead to steer the affairs of the community.”

Youths of the community who thronged the venue denounced Okechukwu, stating that his leadership has been a selfish one, and that for him to attempt to foist himself on them again against the constitution will be stoutly rejected.

Leader of the youths, Comrade Obi Ochije, appealed to the state Governor to distance himself from Okechukwu in order not to tarnish his image and the good work he is doing in Awka.

The Secretary of Awka Ambassadors Club, Chief Emmanuel Okafor, who was the convener of the meeting, said the club has visited the parties in the game, but was not satisfied with the response it got from Okechukwu, and concluded he was bent on setting aside the constitution to foist himself on the town.

The general assembly, after careful deliberation, announced through Ozo Eze Ndigwe, the leader of the titled men in the town, that the community has disowned the President General, and that henceforth, he was not permitted to parade himself as the leader since a caretaker committee has been set up.

On what the town will do if the former leader goes ahead to parade himself, Ozo Eze Ndigwe in an interview with our reporter, said “Okechukwu will dare not try it as the consequences are dire”.

When our reporter visited the compound of Okechukwu to hear his side of the story, it was obvious that there was trouble as youths loyal to him manned the gate to his house and refused everyone, including our reporter entry.