By Chidi Opara
Owerri, Aug. 15, 2020 The Umuezuo community in Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo has called on the state government to grant it the status of an autonomous community.
Mr Bede Anyanwu, the Spokesman for the concerned members of the community, on Saturday called on all members of the community to join hands to prevail on government to grant the community the status.
Anyanwu made the call in a statement made available to Journalists in Owerri.
He said that Umuezuo was created from Umuokirika Autonomous Community in Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Authority of Imo state.
Anyanwu said that with the establishment of Umuezuo Autonomous Community, a new traditional ruler (Eze), would be elected and presented to Ahiazu-Mbaise Local Government Chairman as detailed in the Imo State Traditional Rulers and Autonomous Community Law.
He said that having an autonomous community would also mean presenting the traditional ruler’s details to Imo State Government for a Staff and Certificate of Office.
Anyanwu expressed regret that Mr Eddie Anyanwu, the traditional head, had been an Eze-Elect for more than 15 years, the longest in Imo State.
“It is believed that powerful lobbies against him prevailed till January 2020 when a rushed coronation was carried out in the traditional rulers (Eze-elect’s) residence.
“Can this be considered a proper coronation carried out by the kingmakers of the villages that make up Umuezuo?
“Does Umuezuo Autonomous Community exist in Law? Has any of this been gazetted? These are questions from concerned citizens of Umuzeuo,” he said.
The spokesman called on leaders of Umuezuo and stakeholders to work together to get the autonomous community gazetted as soon as possible so that the benefits from Imo State Government could flow to the people who needed it greatly.
“Imo State is running many empowerment programmes based on autonomous communities and we are missing out.
“We are in August and can not celebrate New Yam Festival in the community. We have not participated in this unique Mbaise culture for so long that some of our childeren don’t even know that it is their culture,” Anyanwu said.
Another concerned member of the community, who wanted anonymity, said: “If the Eze Ezuo cannot attend meetings at the LGA, then Umuezuo is losing all its rights coming to Umuokirika Autonomous Community” .
“The people want the Umuezuo Autonomous Community, but condenmed the leadership tussle raising its head in the community,” he said.
When contacted, Mr Damian Anyanwu, Information Officer in the Ahiazu-Mbaise Local Government Information Officer, explained that the issue of automous community is a state affair and urged the people to follow the due process to obtain the recognition by the government.
According to him, where more than one person come out for the Eze stool, a plebiscite has to be conducted.