June 14, 2024

The Daily Vendor

Nigeria Digital Newspaper

Set up independent committee on Urum elections – Stakeholders urge Soludo

6 min read

Stakeholders of Urum Community in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State have asked Governor Chukwuma Soludo to set up an independent election review committee on Urum elections. 

The call followed public confirmation that Soludo did not ask Commisioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affiars, Hon TonyCollins Nwabunnwanne to cancel the December 30, 2023 election of the Community.

Rising from an emergency meeting after Nwabunnwanne announced March 30, 2024 to conduct fresh elections for the community, the Stakeholders requested the Governor to stop the Commissioner from intimidating the community, warning that such move was capable of igniting unimaginable crisis in the community. 

The Stakeholders spoke through Chairman, Urum in Diaspora, Chief Ignatius Nnaemeka, Chairman Urum Concerned Citizens, Chief Matthew Nwodo as well as Chairman Urum Elders Forum, Chief Ozo Loius Umegbolu. 

The Stakeholders insisted that the best option for Urum Community now is for a government review Committee answerable to the Governor to first understand the position of things, then brief the Governor before future directives. 

According to them, the committee shall be independent of the commisioner because he has been compromised on the matter. 

The Stakeholders believed that though they have all the evidence requested by Commissioner Nwabunnwanne, it will be inimical to the peace they wished in their community to start throwing evidence around since they trusted Governor Soludo shall set up a committee to investigate the Urum imbrogilo.

They insisted that since the commissioner came out to deny what he had earlier said that Soludo did not have hands in the election crises that erupted  during and after the election, it won’t be reasonable to push that line further but to call on Governor Soludo to set an unbiased committee to get all parties report of the election. 

The Stakeholders warned Nwabunnwanne to stop mobilizing Urum People to speak in favour of his planned elections as if the community is divided, but to do the needful as an uncompromised umpire. 

“This our position is because Urum as a community will not like to exchange words with our amiable Governor in public rather we are calling on Soludo to wield into the case by setting up an independent committee to investigate  all that transpired during and after the election and be convinced that we are justified by our demands”.

According to the Urum Stakeholders: ” We are shocked that the Governor was not aware of what happened in Urum and the claims by Commissioner Nwabunnwanne which led to cancellation of our election 3 months after. The Commissioner claimed that Governor Soludo cancelled the election only to recant that Governor Soludo wasn’t aware. 

” We are therefore calling on our capacity  Governor to set up a commission of inquiry where every evidence we have will be submitted because TonyCollins, the commisioner, was compromised.  We don’t see the possibility of getting Justice from him. 

“We are calling on the Governor to set up committee of inquiry for Urum  because if Urum community is in crises, Anambra State will also be in crises, no matter how small the community is, it should not be allowed even if from government agent.”

The Stakeholders informed Governor Soludo that his Commissioner has failed in his duty of maintaining peace in Urum Community. 

They restated their readiness to submit all the documents required because all the documents are in their disposal, noting that because Soludo’s government is a responsible Government, the community will not bring some private documents to the public.

Urum Stakeholders wondered why Commissioner Nwabunnwanne after receiving reports from a committee he sent to monitor the election immediately after the election,  did not cancel the election until 3 months after.

They insisted a winner was announced before the looser started fermenting crisis. 

The Stakeholders queried the power the Commissioner has to cancel a community’s election after almost 3 months. They challenged Tonycollins to provide the law that empowered him to cancel the election. 

They explained further: “Who gave him the  power? The law states that when  a town wants to conduct an election, the town will come up with electoral committee, notify the government to supervise the election. The law did not ask the government to come and conduct election. The ministry does not come to conduct election but to supervise. 

“You can only write what you saw  and when there are issues you call parties to mediate, you don’t go out later to cancel the election without informing both parties your findings and reasons. 

So, that announcement for a fresh election in Urum was a premeditated and compromised stance on the part of Commissioner TonyCollins Nwabunnwanne which is ill intended. That announcement is capable of destroying the peace in the community. 

The Stakeholders described his several lies in his press statement and mobilizing of some Urum sons to speak in his favour as childish and uncalled for as all his efforts were targeted at engineering crisis in Urum.

The community denied ever getting directives from the government or Commissioner Tonycollins to discuss the election outcome but a directive for the winner of the election with Stakeholders to go and beg the loser before he can issue certificate of recognition  which he had written to the winner. 

They wondered why an election with DSS report, Police report, report of the team Commissioner Tonycollins sent to monitor and other reports were submitted to a government agent and powerful Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs since December 30th, 2023, yet he has not deemed it fit to interrogate all those who participated in the election and initiate measures to punish those who perpetuated violence after the election against a peace accord signed, only to cancel the election, in the comfort of his office. 

“We have seen that the Commissioner is compromised. The winner of the election’s house was partially destroyed. The AVG chairman’s house destroyed and looted and some people were injured. What did the commissioner do to those that caused the crisis after announcement? The only thing he came out to do is to say that they will cancel the election”.

‘To us, we see it as deliberate action to cause crisis in Urum community  and we don’t want it, because, all these contestants are brothers. If he feels as an external person he can come and cause crises  in Urum , It will not work and he cannot make us to hate each other.

“Governor Soludo can call on DSS and police for their reports on the election. The Governor can also call on those that came from the ministry even if they will lie to His Excellency, We have evidence”.  

“We conducted our election based on our constitution and mind you, every community has it’s constitution. There is no uniformity of constitutions for communities in Anambra State”. 

“As he continues to peddle lies against our community,  mind you that there is no place in our constitution where electing those in small position comes first. We have been conducting elections over the years. What we do and announce to everybody is the positions that were unopposed which would be written and submitted and that was announced by returning officer and there was only two positions that were under contest. 

The Constitution is what guides us and he will not cancel Urum election just like that after 3 months and fix Match 30th as new date for election neglecting the position of Urum town union stand on dates of election. 

The Commissioner only invited Urum Community on February 29,2024  but because of exco meeting they had with Mr. Governor that day, it was moved to 1st day of March 2024. In that meeting he told us in the presence of everybody including Chinedu to beg Chinedu so that he will release certificate of recognition ro the winner. 

While saying all that, Chinedu started agitating and he advised us to go and beg him, that it was better to beg Chinedu than to have the election canceled.

“For the past two months after the election, Commissioner Nwabunwan never called us, instead we were the ones prevailing on him.

“Anyone saying the election was conducted twice was not speaking the truth. The election was not conducted twice. It was counting that was disrupted and continued, after which results were announced”, they concluded.

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