By Ononye VC
Dr Chris Nwabueze Ngige,the Nigerian Minister of Labour and Employment and former Executive Governor of Anambra State has taken a swipe on Anambra State Government saying that the continued recognition of Igwe McAnthony Elibe Okonkwo as the traditional ruler of Alor,his home town is a ploy to destabilise the community.
In an exclusive interview with Trinitas at his home town,Alor,Dr Ngige gave the genesis of the ascension to the igweship throne by Igwe McAnthony which he attributed to a carefully planned manipulation by the then government of Mr Peter Obi and other of his political opponents to fight him down with the aid of one Engr Emeka Ezeh.
According to him,instead of following the laid Constitution of Alor town and installing the right candidate from the correct kindred,the government of Obi aligned with some unpatriotic indigenes of the community by usurping the powers of the Constitution and imposed an “unqualified and irresponsible” candidate on the good people of Alor.
He pointed out that the process with which the Igwe was selected negated the Constitution of the town union such that the recent suspension clamped on Igwe McAnthony by the state government opened an opportunity to crown the widely accepted candidate from the right kindred in the person of Chief Collins Ebubechukwuuzo Chukwumesiri.
Dr Ngige said he was not surprised that Gov Obiano did not issue certificate of recognition to Chief Ebubechukwuuzo Onyemesiri when the opportunity knocked because it was part of governments coordinated plans to plant stooges in the various towns and villages to run town unions,markets and local governments with Caretaker Committees.
Ngige argued that non conduct of local government elections,use of Caretaker Committees in various towns is a deliberate attempt to destabilise the people and deprive them of genuine leadership and development.
While assessing the credibility or otherwise of the status of Igwe McAnthony Okonkwo, Dr Ngige described him as a fake wielding a wooden Mahogany staff prepared probably at Nkalagu and not the original Ofor staff handed down by Alor ancestors now handed over to Chief Collins Chukwumesiri widely accepted by the community as the new Igwe.
On the near one year strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) which was recently called off,Ngige confirmed that the necessary machinery has been set in motion meet all the demands of ASUU starting with a timeline for settlement of salaries and release of the N40 billion earned allowances.
He expressed regrets that as a parent,his three children at the various universities in Nigeria were affected and would wish that the situation doesn’t repeat itself.