“We weren’t able to achieve much as you know money answereth all things and considering the times we are in, but like I have mentioned earlier, our sources of revenue were blocked. I gave you a narrative of over four million naira (N4,000,000) annual rend from IMC/OPC that is running now into sixteen million Naira (N16,000,000) and over two million naira by Orewa farms. You know what that would have done for us”, the outgoing leadership of Nsukwa Development Union (NDU),, has said.
NDU ably led Comrade Martin Izukwe, however said during a press briefing with members of the Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria (OMPAN), that they managed to do some works with the little resources at their disposal.
“Nonetheless, the little we were able to generate went into the ongoing works in the Nsukwa magistrate court. We ensured the prompt and judicious payment of the allowances due to the community chiefs and elders and other designated community officers. In the area of security, we decided to be proactive.
“We realised that majority of the security challenges were occasioned by dubious sale of lands to unverified criminals, so we ensured that nothing of such happened. When some people for selfish reasons tried to do that, we protested and resisted, there was an instance that took the intervention of the state government through the Special Adviser to the Governor on peace building and conflict resolution Chief Edwin Uzor to quell.
“The truth is that there are selfish people within the community, who for selfish reasons don’t care if the community is burned to the ground, but by God’s grace we have kept them in check”.
Comrade Izukwe, pointed out that his executives are not power drunk by perpetrating themselves in office as the decision to remain in power lies with the people.
Hear him: “Let me say that our disposition and priority is not about our reelection, since that decision is entirely not up to us, but for the quarters and the electoral college to decide. Our efforts is geared towards ensuring a peaceful election and handing over to forestall a vacuum. If my quarter nominates me and the electoral college chooses me to lead, then I will be grateful.
“As for what my advise to the next exco should be; They should pursue peace with so much vigour, seek all encompassing peace and harmony in the community to ensure development.
“There can be no meaningful development without peace. As you can see, over twenty million naira due to the community is hanging outside for lack if peace and harmony, so the next elected government should make community harmony a central piece of their agenda”, he say..
Speaking on the perceived leadership tussle, Izukwe said, “The electoral process is transparent, people driven, credible and very acceptable to the people. Let me say that there is no power tussle because there is no conflict of roles between the NDU and the Palace of the traditional ruler. The duties are distinctive enough, both historically and evolutionarily. It is our duty to collect receivables unbehalf of the community and with collaboration with stakeholders fashion out developmental needs of the community.
“The NDU executive reports to the Traditional ruler but is not accountable to the traditional ruler, but is accountable to the people of the community from where it derives it’s mandate.
“The traditional ruler is of the community and the community leader at that. So there is actually no power tussle, because NDU cannot begin to perform the duties of the traditional ruler neither is the traditional ruler going to leave his glorified schedule and begin to perform the functions of NDU. The relationship could be consultative in outlook” disclosing that the community operates an unwritten constitution which has been a guide, and written “in our conscience”.
Aligning with the claims of the NDU leadership, Chief Samuel E Nwanokwai; a retired Senior Police Officer when asked about the allowances and entitlement said: “Because of the crises in the community occassioned by the traditional ruler who for instance wanted to sell the land of my quarter, of which I resisted and mobilised a protest, went to court and won, he has been eating my allowances and entitlements; 2016 he ate my N220, 000 the same thing happened in 2017.
“But when this present committee came on board, I have been getting all my entitlements. Is not just only me, but also other honorary chiefs, who are with him because no traditional chief is with him. Everyone is getting their allowances and entitlements; the chiefs, the diopkpas, the Adas and even the Okelegwes. So, to the best of my knowledge, the NDU have done their best according to what is at their disposal”.
Another respondent, Chief Innocent Okofu, a chartered accountant who spoke on the electoral process and its credibility said: “The process is as old as Nsukwa, the process is every credible because it goes to the root of the community. There are layers if leadership in the quarters; there are the youths, there are the Okwelegwes and there are the elders. The elders are the apex leadership of every quarter chaired by the Diokpa.
“The decisions that are reached by the elders are a collective interest of the quarter because there are representatives of every family that make up the quarter.
“If there are six families that make up a quarter, three representatives are needed by the quarter, it behoves on the elders to choose their modalities for selecting who is better to represent them either in rotation per term or as they might consider best for them, then the family equally meets to select who to represent the family in their quarter.
“Then the selected people are taken to the Diokpa’s palace for elders to finalise and ratify, then presented to the electoral committee/college. So, the process is distributive, it is authentic, it is representative and it is very transparent. It reaches out to all and it is an old process. Though there have been efforts to circumvent this process but has always been resisted”.
Also speaking, Prince Erasmus Odia a former secretary of NDU, disclosed that “The electoral process is not far fetched. The normal thing is that the Diokpas select the three representatives who now come to the public to elect their principal officers by way of electoral college. So, the process is about getting representatives of acceptable character to pilot the affairs of the community”.
Similarly, Hon Chief Michael Oloamiwe, a retired Military officer, former Deputy chairman of Aniocha South local government area and a former Chairman of NDU said:
“The process of selection begins from the quarters, I can say that the major part of the electoral process is in the quarters, where the elders in the quarters gets their best for effective representation. So in the day if the election proper, it is just for the representatives to vote to get their officers into the various portfolios.
“But it doesn’t end at that, they are enaugurated by the Obi who they keep close working relationship with. I have served as a chairman of the NDU in the 90s. But what gives me joy is the disposition of this outgoing government to announce that their tenure is expiring and ensuring that there is election to usher in the next government without leaving a vacuum”,