By Dennis Agbo
The people of the Udi community in the Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State have begged the government of Enugu State to grant recognition to a retired comptroller of custom, Chief Sam Aneke, as their traditional ruler.
The call was made on Friday as hundreds of community members crowded into Aneke’s home in the town of Udi.
In a unanimous vote, they said Aneke was their choice to become the next traditional ruler, “Okwuluoha 4th of the ancient kingdom of Udi”.
The appeal came several years after the demise of the late monarch, HRH, Igwe Chris Ogakwu, the Okwuluoha 3rd of the Old Kingdom of Udi.
Igwe Cabinet Secretary Chief Simeon Eze said on behalf of the community that the meeting was based on the decision of well-meaning citizens of Udi town to choose their traditional ruler peacefully.
Chief Eze lamented that the previous election of traditional rulers ended in a grudge which in turn led to underdevelopment in the community.
However, he said that after reviewing all eligible candidates, the community deemed Aneke worthy to fill the vacant seat.
“We are here to pay tribute and give honor to whom honor is due. Nothing like this has ever happened in the annals of the community. Okwuluoha 1, 2 and 3 elections were competitive, difficult and hostile. Usually it ends up in court, probably 5, 6 years after the announcement of the winner.
“But today well-meaning citizens of Udi city, elderly, youth, women, members of Igwe cabinet and progressive unions said that we cannot continue to choose our Igwe in a chaotic manner, but we must behave peacefully. We needed to find someone who is dignified and capable in character and learns to keep the ball rolling.
“So that is why we have gathered here today. We have reviewed all eligible people and found them worthy of Chief Sam Aneke. We want to tell everyone that today’s meeting was ordained by God. It is set because in the history of traditional rule in the ancient kingdom of Udi, from 1976, we have never had it so peaceful.
“The Okwuluoha 2 was never a cabinet member of Okwuluoha 1 and Okwuluoha 3, was never a cabinet member of Okwuluoha 2, but this time Chief Aneke, who is to ascend the throne by our collective wish, is a member of the traditional council; besides being a member, he is a member of the senior cabinet in Aborgu and Prime Minister. He is qualified, according to our bylaws, because it is his kin’s turn to produce the next Igwe,’ he said.
A former member of the United States House of Representatives, Hon. Tony Eneh also revealed that the event was unique considering what happened during the election of the previous traditional rulers, including his late father, who was the Okwuluoha 2 of the ancient kingdom of Udi.
He appealed to the Enugu State Government to speed up the process and take the necessary steps.
The women’s and youth leaders, Ms. Ngozi Agbo and Ikenna Chime respectively, also said it was a new dawn in the Udi city community, emphasizing that they had never had it better in Udi city.
They expressed their undivided support for chef Aneke and added that it’s him or no one.
Chief Aneke, who is also the community’s prime minister, reacted with surprise and assured them of his willingness to serve the community.
As he assured to take everyone with him, he urged the community to work to maintain the peace God has given them.
He pledged to deliver quality leadership and uphold the custom of the ancient kingdom of Udi.
“I am overwhelmed. This is a surprise to me. What you did today has never happened in the history of the city of Udi. God has restored peace. I will make sure we keep the peace and the development of our community speed up.
“On behalf of my family, friends and relatives, I have accepted to serve you. Let’s work for the peace that God has given us, let’s join hands together to support it. Leadership is for everyone, not for one person. I can not do it alone.
“By the will of God, I have no choice but to accept your wish and demand. Your approach and question is for the good of the Udi people.
“I will provide quality leadership and uphold the culture of our community as a custodian of culture. I will carry everyone and nothing will be resolved without the consent of our people,” he assured.
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