The people of Udi community, in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State have pleaded with the Enugu State Government to accord recognition to a retired Controller of Custom, Chief Sam Aneke as their traditional ruler.
The appeal was made on Friday as hundreds of members of the community thronged Aneke’s residence at Udi town.
In a unanimous voice, they said Aneke was their choice to become the next traditional ruler, “Okwuluoha 4th of Udi ancient kingdom”.
The appeal was coming few years after the demise of Late monarch, HRH, Igwe Chris Ogakwu, the Okwuluoha 3rd of Udi ancient kingdom.
Speaking on behalf of the community, the Secretary of Igwe’s cabinet, Chief Simeon Eze said that the gathering was based on the decision of well meaning citizens of Udi town to elect their traditional ruler in a peaceful manner.
Chief Eze regretted that the previous election of traditional rulers ended up in a rancour which in turn caused underdevelopment in the community.
He, however, said that the community, after assessing all the eligible candidates, found Aneke worthy to occupy the vacant stool.
“We are here to pay homage and give honour to whom honour is due. In the annals of the community, something like this never happened. The elections of Okwuluoha 1, 2 and 3 have been competitive, troublesome and antagonistic. Most of the time it ends in law court probably 5, 6 years after the declaration of winner.
“But today, well meaning citizens of Udi town, the elderly, youths, women, members of Igwe’s cabinet and progressive unions, said we cannot continue electing our Igwe in a chaotic manner but to do the conduct peacefully. We had to search for somebody who is worthy and capable in character and learning to keep the ball rolling.
“So, that is why we have gathered here today. We have assessed all the eligible people and found Chief Sam Aneke worthy. We want to tell everybody that the gathering today is ordained by God. It’s ordained because in the history of traditional rulership in the Udi ancient kingdom, starting from 1976, we have never had it peaceful like this.
“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 around, Chief Aneke who is going to ascend the throne by our collective wish is a member of the traditional council; apart from being a member, he is a member of upper cabinet in Aborgu and a Prime minister. He is qualified, according to our constitution, because it’s the turn of his kinsmen to produce the next Igwe,” he said.
A former House of Representatives member, Hon. Tony Eneh also disclosed that the event was unique considering what transpired during the election of the previous traditional rulers, including his late father, who was the Okwuluoha 2 of Udi ancient kingdom.
He appealed to the Enugu State government to speed up the process and do the needful.
Also speaking, the women and youth leaders, Mrs Ngozi Agbo and Ikenna Chime, respectively, said that it was a new dawn in the Udi town community, stressing that they never had it so good in Udi town.
They declared their unalloyed support for Chief Aneke, adding that it is either him or nobody.
Responding, Chief Aneke, who is also the Prime minister of the community, expressed surprise, assuring them of his readiness to render service to the community.
While assuring to carry everybody along, he urged the community to work towards sustaining the peace God has given them.
He pledged to deliver quality leadership and uphold the custom of the Udi ancient kingdom.
“I am overwhelmed. This is a surprise to me. What you did today has never happened in the history of Udi town. God has restored peace. I will make sure we sustain the peace and speedy the development of our community.
“On behalf of my family, friends and relatives, I have accepted to serve you. Let us work on the peace God has given to us, let us join hands together to sustain it. Leadership is for everyone, not a one person thing. I can’t do it alone.
“By the will of God, I have no choice but to accept your wish and demand. Your approach and demand is for the good of Udi people.
“I will deliver quality leadership and as a custodian of culture, will uphold the culture of our community. I will carry everybody along and nothing will be resolved without the agreement of our people,” he assured.