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2023 election fallout: Enugu community alleges intimidation, harassment

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Concerned citizens of Ishi-Ozalla community, in Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State, have appealed to Governor Peter Mbah to end the continuous harassment and intimidation of those that supported his candidacy during the 2023 general elections.

Pmnews.ng recalls that the people of Ishi-Ozalla had prior to the election, declared their support for Mbah against the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Mr Frank Nweke Jnr who is from the area.

They have now come out to allege cases of intimidation against them.

Addressing journalists in Enugu on Tuesday, they vowed to resist further intimidation and maltreatment of innocent citizens of the community for exercising their franchise.

The leader of the Concerned Citizens, home and abroad, Chief Ike Ogbodo said people should be able to know when politics is over and when to support the government in power for better development.

He recalled that “close to the 2023 general elections, our community was on the news over one issue or the other.

“The President General of Ishi-Ozalla community, Mr Obinna Nvene was purportedly and unconstitutionally suspended to pave way for the imposition of a traditional ruler in the area.

“Some villages were said to have been ostracized from the community and banned from participating in any activity, including wedding ceremony and burying their loved ones.

“When we noticed that it was no longer a joke, we cried out to then Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and protested at the Government House where the governor condemned what was going on in Ishi-Ozalla.

“After consultations with the relevant ministries, the governor said that the State government was not aware of any suspension of the PG of the town union and that he should be allowed to serve his tenure.

“We have this on record. It was on this premise, among other issues, that the imposed traditional ruler, Chief Sylvanus Okeke was suspended because due process was not followed in his election and some villages didn’t participate.”

“Now they are at it again, trying to impose a president General of the town Union when Mr Obinna Nvene, who was unanimously elected, was never allowed to serve.

“Imagine what could have become of us if Governor Peter Mbah didn’t win,” Mr Ogbodo said.

Also speaking, another member of the group, Mr Solomon Uchegbu wondered why the division in Ishi-Ozalla was more pronounced than any other part of Nkanu land.

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He appealed to Governor Mbah to call the APGA governorship candidate in the 2023 election, Chief Frank Nweke Jnr and his supporters to order.

He said, “You need to come to Ishi-Ozalla; we are backward in terms of development.

“No one would believe that we have produced a Minister and Chief of Staff to the Enugu State Government.

“It took the community years to agree to have another Igwe after the demise of our traditional ruler.

“Regrettably, someone was imposed on the people.

“Since 2021, the elected PG was not allowed to function because he refused to accept the ostracization of more than five villages in the community.

“Surprisingly, the PG, likewise myself, are not even from the alleged ostracized villages.

“So, I wonder why he should not be allowed to breathe. What is bad is bad. How would such a community move forward?”

The group called on the governor and the Ministry of Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Rural Development to constitute a panel of enquiry, where all parties involved would be invited to amicably resolve the issues.

They reiterated their unalloyed support to the administration of Governor Mbah, noting that his recent victory at the Supreme Court was a confirmation of the people’s mandate and roadmap to sustainable development in the State.

When contacted, the embattled President General of Ishi-Ozalla community, Mr Obinna Nvene said the last meeting he presided as PG was on the 20th of March, 2021.

He explained that he had to approach the court to seek justice and be allowed to function.

Nvene commended the recent move by the Ministry of Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Rural Development towards resolving the crisis and called on the citizens to remain law abiding and supportive to Governor Peter Mbah’s administration.

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