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Govt moves to settle Ihiala chieftaincy row

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 THERE are indications that that the protracted Ihiala chieftaincy dispute is about to be laid to rest as Anambra State Government has waded into the crisis.

Speaking at Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters Hall, Ihiala Local Government Council yesterday, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Gov Willie Obiano on Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Benjamin Umerah, stated that the government is intervening to ensure that peace continues to reign in Ihiala and elsewhere in the state.

According to Umerah, he was at Ihiala with a directive to sample and verify opinions on the issue and present his findings to Government for its final say and prompt action, adding that there will be a level playing ground for the two main contestants who were all present at the venue.

It was reliably gathered that the two contestants, Chief Thomas Obidiegwu and Chief Azuka Alagwu both from Umunnebogwu in Okohia Village, whose turn it is to ascend the throne. But for some intricate power plays among the seven Okpalas who are known as kingmakers, as well as other stakeholders, choosing a new traditional ruler for the town has snowballed into a lingering dispute since the burial of Late Igwe Cosmas Okechukwu.

There is also a hint of division among the Okpalas who mostly prop Alagwu for the Oluoha stool, while the Okpala of Umunnebogwu roots for Obidiegwu.

While those backing Obidiegwu argue that there has never been a time where two or more persons were presented by the Okpalas in any village whose turn it was to present an Oluoha, it has always been one eligible son at a time. They contend that this is the first time two people were being propped up for presentation in the community. But the other camp are saying that the constitution stipulated that the kindred whose turn to present the Oluoha to the town will present two or more people, from whom the seven Okpalas from Dioha Royal Family will screen and pick the best among them before presenting him to the town.

Efforts to harmonise their distinct positions has not yielded fruits but with government intervention yesterday, the imbroglio may be heading to a timely resolution, as those interviewed support the role being played by Umerah.

 

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