There was tension in Nguru Autonomous Community in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State as the people staged a protest against their traditional ruler, Igwe Linus Obayi, demanding his removal.
The protesters, in their numbers, accused the Igwe of working against the development of the community and called on governor of the state, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, to come to their rescue.
They carried placards with inscriptions such as: ‘Igwe Linus Obayi Must Go’; ‘We want Nguru Town Union or nothing’; ‘Obayi why are you against the development of Nguru community?’ among others.
South East Trust gathered that the protest came a few months after a similar one between the Amechi Awkunanaw Community in Enugu South LGA and their traditional ruler in 2021.
The friction between subjects and their ruler climaxed with the Enugu State government suspending the ruler indefinitely.
Amechi Awkunanaw is the community of Senator Jim Nwobodo, a former Governor of old Anambra State.
Leaders of the protest, who spoke with newsmen, said the demonstration was to show the community’s dissatisfaction over the stand of the native ruler that they would not have town union executives.
One of the leaders, a lecturer in the Department of Political Science, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), Prof. Tony Onyeishi, said the absence of town union had stagnated development and denied the community representation in many occasions in Nsukka Local Government and in Enugu State.
He also alleged that series of efforts to install town union executives had been scuttled and frustrated by the traditional ruler.
“Obayi did not allow the town union members that were elected by the community last year to function. He has vowed that there will be no town union in Nguru except he is allowed to select the union members himself.
“The community used the protest to pass vote of no confidence on the traditional ruler. Igwe Obayi should allow the will of the people to prevail,” he said.
Also, the Head of Department of Psychology, UNN, Prof. Ike Onyeishi, described Obayi’s alleged refusal to allow town union to operate in Nguru as an act against the will and wishes of the people.
According to him, other communities in Nsukka town like Achara, Umukashi, Nru, among others have town unions. “I don’t know why Nguru will be an exception.”
Commenting on the development, the President General Town Union-elect in Nguru community, Mr. Uchenna Ugwu, said since April last year, he and other members were elected but that Igwe Obayi had refused to recognize them.
Ugwu said that the constitution of Nguru community gives 10 villages and two satellite towns the power to elect two people that will represent them in Nguru town union.
“There is nowhere the constitution says the traditional ruler should select those that will be members of the town union,” he said.
He also accused Igwe Obayi of unilaterally selling some land owned by the community. “If after this protest there’s no positive change, the community will ask Enugu State government to remove the Igwe and give the community another traditional ruler,” he also said.
When contacted, Igwe Obayi declined comment on the allegations levelled against him. He told newsmen that he was not in the mood to speak on the issue. “I am not in the mood to speak on these allegations now, when I am ready, I will make my position known,” he said.