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Crisis brews in Enugu community over village seniority

Crisis is brewing in Achara Community, Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State as one of the villages, Umuagwuene, says it is the oldest and will resist any attempt to change its traditional seniority position. Speaking with newsmen in Nsukka, after a general meeting of the village on Monday, Mr Micheal Ezugwu, the Eldest man in Achara Community, who is from Umuagwene village, maintained that his village is the oldest in the town. According to Ezugwu, represented by his son, Mr George Ezugwu, this is why the village square of Unuagwuene is used right from time immemorial for general meetings of Achara Community.

The eldest man condemned the alleged move to recognise Amaokpu as the oldest in place of Umuagwuene by some people in Achara. “Umuagwuene is the oldest village in Achara Community, that is why the village square is always used for Achara general meetings and other important activities of the community. “Even when we are in a gathering or meeting with other communities in Nsukka, it is Umuagwuene Village that takes kolanut on behalf of Achara community.

“ts unfortunate that some people want to place Amaokpu village as the oldest because the village swore before a deity; seniority is natural and cannot be obtained by taking an oath,” he said. He urged all Achara people to see one another as brothers and sisters as their forefathers did and avoid anything that could cause crisis in the community. Also speaking, Chief Aniebonam Ezugwu, a stakeholder in Umuagwuene, accused Chief Peter Okonkwo, the Commissioner for Local Governmt Affairs in Enugu State, and also the Chairman of Achara Constitution Review Committee, as the one who relegated Umuagwene to third oldest village in Achara. Ezeugwu, a former Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State on Market Matters, said the village was calling on local and state government to intervene in order to avert the looming crisis the anomaly might cause.

“The people of Umuagwuene are not happy that the constitution review committee deprived them of their natural right as the oldest village in order of seniority in Achara. “Its unfortunate that the committee now recognised Amaokpu Village in the constitution as the oldest village in Achara which is unacceptable. “If this constitution becomes a working document, my village has lost its natural right as the oldest village in Achara Community and it is capable causing civil unrest.

“I am surprised that someone, who should be a peace builder, is the one promoting rancour and disunity in Achara Community,” he said. He said that in spite of certified true copy of a document obtained from National Archives that placed Umuagwuene first among eight villages of Achara Community, the committee went ahead to alter the order of seniority in the community.

“Is this document from National Archives not enough to prove that Umuagwuene is the oldest village in Achara ommunity?” he asked. However, when contacted, Okonkwo said the decision to place Amaokpu as the oldest village and Umuagwuene as the third was not done by the constitution drafting committee members but the entire Achara Community. He explained that recently, in a general meeting of Achara Community, the two villages contesting seniority were given two weeks to bring one person each from their village to swear before a deity in Achara that they are the senior. “Amaokpu village brought one person who swore to prove its claim but Umuagwuene could not. “Thereafter, Achara Community agreed that Amaokpu Village should be placed as the oldest village in Achara.”

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