Over 5000 indigenes of Irete Autonomous Community in Owerri West Local government ofImoStatewho last Wednesday converged at theCentralPrimary Schoolfield, Irete, to elect their traditional ruler, left the scene in disarray as the occasion ended in fiasco.
Problem seemed to have been sparked off by the address of the chairman of the election committee, Eze J.O. Muruako.
In the address, he noted that the community has not had a traditional ruler since it attained autonomous community status about 20 years ago and that his committee had been set up by government to conduct election to fill the vacant position.
Eze Muruako submitted that the constitution of the community was not duly signed hence, he said, government authorized the use of the autonomous community law to conduct the election.
He explained that the law stipulates that the eldest village should produce the first Eze before rotating it to the other 17 villages under such circumstances.
Eze Muruako then told the community that based on the above law, the election for that day was between two candidates from Umuelele village – Nze Dr Ben Elliot Ibe and Mazi J. Uzoma Ibe.
This did not go down well with many members of the community present who spontaneously walked away from the venue with some youths pulling down the canopies.
Christian Voice understood that they had expected that the election would be held among all interested candidates from every part of Irete, not only from Umuelele.
When it became obvious that the atmosphere was not conducive for the election, Eze Muruako and members of his committee including their security details had to leave the scene.
Speaking to Christian Voice later, the President-General of Irete community, Mr Kevin Unakalamba blamed the electoral committee for the ugly state of affairs as he claimed that the committee had earlier assured that the election would be conducted for six candidates from every village in Irete who had earlier indicated interest which he said was why he mobilized the entire community to participate in the election.
On the issue of the eldest village in Irete, Mr Unakalamba said that the matter was still under contention as another village is also claiming the position.
One of the two contestants for the election that never was, Mazi J. Uzoma Ibe, maintained that his village, Umuelele is the eldest in Irete and that the committee was right in their decision. He, however, assured that he would carry everybody along for peace and unity in his community if eventually he is elected the traditional ruler.