There is palpable tension in Nawfia Community, Njikoka Council Area of Anambra State following claims by two persons to the traditional stool of the community.
The seat of the monarch became vacant following the deposition of former traditional ruler, Igwe Chijioke Nwankwo by the state government over alleged misconduct.
One of the claimants to the stool, Dr Ogochukwu Obelle told reporters on Friday that he was the substantial occupant of the seat following a credible election on December 31, 2020 where he scored 95 votes and subsequent successful screening exercise by the Igwe Nawfia Selection Committee.
He said his rival, Dr Shedrack Moguluwa, who scored 3 votes in the election had emerged following a counter election contrary to the directive of the state government on March 26, 2021.
He said, “I assumed the position of Igwe-Elect since 9th January, 2021, but my installation was stalled by a cabal led by one Barr Beluolisa Nwofor and Sir Nathan Enemuo, President General of Nawfia Progressive Union (NPU) through manipulation of the 2013 constitution of the community.
“Instead of doing the right thing by carrying out the installation as required by law, Nwofor and Enemuo, on 26th March, 2021, organized a kangaroo, illegal election where Dr Shedrack Moguluwa was said to have defeated Sir Nonyelu Okoye with 111 to 102 votes.”
“The election contradicts section 19(11a) of the community’s 2013 constitution and Anambra State Chieftaincy law 2007 which spelt out that the election should involve all 10 villages and be observed by officials of the state Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters.”
Describing the development as an unmitigated assault and unwarranted affront on the people of the community, Obelle, a retired public servant and diplomat, said he was already in court to challenge the illegality, expressing optimism of victory at the end of the day.
He added, “It is pertinent to observe that it is very difficult for Barr. Nwafor and PG Nathan Enemuo to build something on nothing as they and their Igwe Nwofor are standing on shaky ground.
“We are not lawless people like them and we’ll continue to seek for enthronement of justice and the will of our people through every legal means and due process.”
On his part, Chairman of Urukpaleri, one of the five villages in the town, Mr Uche Aghamba, explained that the March 26 election was invalid as state government had issued a statement a day before to that effect.
While regretting that the leadership of Nawfia Progressive Union had been compromised, Aghamba urged the people of the community not to take laws into their hands, but to remain calm and law abiding to avert crisis in the area.