ELECTION OF EZE PROFESSOR MARK ODU AS ISHIOZO MBU AMOHURU


By Dr. Evans Osagimo (Chairman Eze Selection Committee)
Some intrigue made the organisation of an election of an Eze of Amohuru Community rather urgent. There was a plan to impose an Eze on Amohuru Community by a clique who called themselves ‘Stakeholders’ or ‘Concerned Citizens’ led by Nze Chukwuma Nwachukwu a retired permanent secretary. The former President-General of Amohuru Development Union, Mazi Jude Ezeakolam Osuji now Secretary of Community Government Council had to take the bull by the horns by letting government know that Amohuru Community at Aladimma had scheduled elections for 24 day of August 2013. This group of citizens of Amohuru had contrived to surreptitiously enthrone the immediate past president of Amohuru Development Union by hoodwinking the community and literally stealing the Ezeship. This was checkmated by a publication denouncing the plotters of rape of the common will of the community. Their plans failed.
Arrangements for elections started with nominations of two members each from the five villages making up Amohuru Clan. The Eze Selection Committee elected their chairman, the author of this report, and the committee secretary, Mazi Jude Ozichukwu Chukwu. Screening of candidates who had met the requirements for candidacy was done. Mazi Anthony Anyanwu, who was being prepared by rapists of the common will, fractured our community by appealing to sentiments of two villages in the five-village clan resulting in diminished participation from that part of Amohuru. He did not register to contest. He sold the impression to his people that he was being denied Ezeship which had been conferred on him since 2011. He had been put up by one retired permanent secretary as an un-ambitious man who would deliver the autonomous community after processes for acquisition of autonomy shall have been completed in accordance with the Ezeship Constitution of the community. His section of the clan bought the culprit’s appeal for undeserved sympathy and had their majority boycott screening and elections. The election became a straight battle between three giants of the community.
An international businessman, Chief Philip Eke, who had provided scholarship to students in the past, was a main contender. He had returned from the USA to contest. He was popular for two reasons. He was targeted by the section that wanted to steal Ezeship by tricks. He was massively supported to win so that another intrigue could be hatched to nullify his election.
Nze Professor M A C Odu was the second contender. He had heavy credentials for support to Amohuru Community in the past having pioneered water and power projects and at various times protected the name of the community from miscreants of all kinds. He was least favoured in the dissident section of the clan.
Duru Azubike Ugochukwu hails from the dissident section of the clan. He is a traditional healer and diviner with a record of fighting criminals who attempted to invade Amohuru in 2010. He had gone after them with his gun and sent them scampering out of Amohuru with a fatally injured member of the gang. His people did not think anything about disenfranchising themselves and reducing their own son’s chances of becoming Eze.
The venue of the elections was Community Primary School Amohuru. Time proposed for commencement of elections was 9 a.m. on Saturday 24th August 2013. By 9 o’clock men women and youth over 18 started congregating. By 11 a.m. elections were underway.
A voting paper had been prepared by the Ezeship Selection Committee manifesting the photographs of all three contenders in accordance with their agreed rules. Voters were to thumbprint against the photo of the candidate of their choices. Option A4 which is secret open balloting system was promulgated as the modality for election of the Eze. Thumb printing was to be done in secret within close watch of security personnel but without prompting of any type. The crowd was to stay distant from thumb printing spot. Voters would after thumb printing proceed to cast their votes into a basket placed in the centre of the arena.
At about 12.30 pm all voters had completed voting. Counting of votes was done in full view of all members of the community. Heaps were formed of votes for each and all of the contenders. After collating and sorting out defective votes (votes that were described as voided by wrong thumb printing) the votes were counted in the open and entered in a result sheet. Announcement was made with a public address system and Nze Professor M A C Odu was announced as the candidate with five hundred and twenty-five votes. Chief Philip Eke came a distant second with two hundred and thirty-five votes. Duru Azubike Ugochukwu came third with eighty five votes. There were 18 void votes. The announcement of the result stirred wild jubilation and merriment in the community. The selection committee was commended for a hitch free and credible election which should be emulated by other communities countrywide.
The community evidently qualifies for three polling booths during forthcoming elections and beyond. This is not counting our numerous citizens outside the village in other settlements in Nigeria and in the Diaspora.

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