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Proposed Grand Reception For Gov Soludo’s Chief of Staff, Ezeajughi, Not Awgbu Progress Union Event – Ezeanowi

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Awgbu Progress Union Disowns Proposed  Reception For Gov. Soludo’s Chief of Staff, Ezeajughi

The Awgbu Progress Union (APU), a town union of Awgbu Community in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State, has alerted the public that it is not in any way involved in the purported Grand Reception for Mr Ernest Nnama EZEAJUGHI (Chief of Staff to the Governor of Anambra tate, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo) purportedly scheduled for Saturday, 25th May, 2024 or at any other date at all.

In a release issued to the media on Thursday by the Awgbu Progress Union and signed by its President – General, Mr Johnpaul Ezeanow, the Union said Awgbu town cannot afford to host such event so soon in the mourning period of its revered traditional ruler, HRH Igwe M. C. Okechukwu (Ezedioramma II), Ezekanunu III, Igwe of Awgbu who joined the ancestors recently.

The Union therefore warned the general public to disregard any invitation to such unwholesome event and shun any person extending the invitation, “as such a person does not have the imprimatur of Awgbu town vide Awgbu Progress Union”.

Awgbu Progress Union further said in the release as follows:

“The said reception is considered by the leadership of Awgbu Progress Union as well as the well meaning Awgbu people as ill – timed by the organizers whose act is capable of destabilizing Awgbu town and belittling our late traditional ruler, HRH Igwe M. C. Okechukwu (Ezedioramma II), Ezekanunu III, Igwe of Awgbu.

“It is worth emphasizing that such event which other towns had since last two years (2022) held for their sons/daughters who benefited from the Governor’s appointments to political offices could not be held in Awgbu due to the avoidable political crisis in which Mr. Ernest Nnama Ezeajughi has been in the midst of the controversy.

“Moreover, the reception is ill timed at this critical moment for the town which is embroiled in controversy. It is common knowledge that Mr. Ernest Nnama Ezeajughi wasted the rare opportunity of utilizing his political position to resolve the two-year political crisis, as at the time he assumed office as Chief of Staff to the Governor of Anambra State, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo. He rather chose to take side by trying to use his political position to settle family scores; he tacitly encouraged substitution of his cousin with his elder brother in the leadership of Awgbu Progress Union in an illegal election of 14th May, 2022 against the Union’s Constitution and a subsisting court judgment in Suit No. AG/109/2021: MR. JOSEPH EZEAJUGHI V. JEO (JOSEPH) NDUBUISI ONWUCHEKWE & 3 ORS. delivered on 28th February, 2022 by Anambra State High Court, Aguata Judicial Division.

“Despite persistent pleas and admonitions from different stakeholders of Awgbu town (Elders Committee inclusive) for Mr. Ernest Nnama Ezeajughi to help resolve the political crisis, including calling his elder brother to order, he remained unyielding and kept giving support to him thereby aggravating the discord. It is noteworthy that it is the camp which he supports that is organizing the questionable reception as a way of appreciating their patron for promoting and protecting them, fraudulently using the name of Awgbu Progress Union (APU). Mr. Emmanuel Akidi is not the President General of Awgbu Progress Union to the knowledge of Mr. Ernest Nnama Ezeajughi, and Mr. Mark Anosike who claims to be Chairman of the Organizing Committee was never appointed by Awgbu Progress Union and could not have been so appointed as he has issues with the Union since the year 2020.

“Mr. Ernest Nnama Ezeajughi has been recalcitrant to the leadership of Awgbu Progress Union and gave deaf ear to the Union’s request for his support in the implementation of the Union’s Constitution as well as subsisting court judgments concerning Awgbu town.

” It happened that elections to the national offices of Awgbu Progress Union which fell due on 27th December, 2020 could not be conducted due to interim court order, made at the instance of one Mr. Emmanuel Akidi (a.k.a. Emma Akidi), temporarily stopping the electoral process which was ongoing at that time. When the court order elapsed, the Elders Committee of Awgbu Progress Union appointed a Caretaker Committee of the Union on 2nd January, 2022 in accordance with the Constitution of Awgbu Progress Union, 2017.

“By its terms of reference, the Caretaker Committee under the chairmanship of Hon. Anselm Ugo Ezeayom with Barr. Alphonsus Elui as the Secretary was mandated to take charge of the affairs of Awgbu Progress Union from the date of appointment and as well charged with the responsibility to ensure peace for smooth conduct of the suspended elections into the national offices of the Union and make sure that Awgbu moves forward during the subsistence of its tenure.

” The tenure of the Caretaker Committee was extended by the Union’s Elders Committee for three months each on three occasions, to wit: on 30/03/2022 with effect from 02/04/2022, subsequently on 01/07/2022 with effect from 02/07/2022 and later on 29/09/2022 with effect from 02/10/2022.

“When members of the Caretaker Committee assumed duty and took charge of the affairs (administration/leadership and properties) of Awgbu Progress Union, a group of impostors led by one Jeo (Joseph) Ndubuisi Onwuchekwe as Chairman with Hon. Ogechukwu Ezeajughi (the Chief of Staff’s eldest brother) as the Secretary started making intermittent incursions/ interferences in the affairs of Awgbu Progress Union, claiming that they were in charge of the Union’s affairs on the basis of letters purportedly from the Government of Anambra State.

“Aggrieved by the actions of the said Joseph Ndubuisi Onwuchekwe led group of impostors, the members of Awgbu Progress Union represented by Hon. Anselm Ugo Ezeayom and Barr. Alphonsus Elui (Chairman and Secretary respectively of the Union’s Caretaker Committee) filed a suit against Government of Anambra State; Attorney General of Anambra State; Commissioner for the Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affairs; Barr. Veraqueen Ebele Okonkwo (then Special Adviser to the Governor); and Incorporated Trustees of Anambra State Association of Town Unions, seeking reliefs aimed at nullifying the supposed appointment and authority of the impostors.

“Judgment in the said suit with number AG/69/2022: HON. ANSLEM UGO EZEAYOM & ANOR. V. GOVERNMENT OF ANAMBRA STATE & 4 ORS. was delivered on 23rd May, 2023 by Anambra State High Court, Aguata Judicial Division in favour of the Applicants therein – i.e. members of Awgbu Progress Union. The court, in the said judgment, declared among others that:
“Awgbu Progress Union is an association within the meaning and contemplation of Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), and as such members of the Union are free to determine the officers to administer the affairs of the Union in accordance with the Constitution of Awgbu Progress Union, 2017 and any subsequent amendment/review thereof.” See Pages 80 – 81.

“Having regard to Section 26 (1) and (3) of the Fund for Rural Development Law, Cap. 54, Revised Laws of Anambra State, 1991, all the letters signed and thus issued by the 4nd Respondent purportedly extending tenure of office of Awgbu Progress Union Caretaker Committee supposedly under the chairmanship of Jeo Ndubuisi Onwuchekwe with Hon. Ogechukwu Ezeajughi as secretary, especially the letters dated 27/04/2021, 27/10/2021 and 02/02/2022 are null and void, the same having not been predicated on any earlier appointment/establishment of Caretaker Committee or extension of tenure of office of Caretaker Committee validly or at all made as at the said dates.” See Page 81.

“Having regard to Article 1 (2) and Article 44 (2) of the Constitution of Awgbu Progress Union, 2017 a person or group of persons cannot validly assume or be authorized to assume the leadership and/or take control of the government/administration of Awgbu Progress Union by means other than in accordance with the provisions of Article 17 and 44 (4), (5), (6) and (7) of the Union’s extant Constitution.” See Pages 81 and 82.

“The Applicants are the proper persons to take charge of the affairs (including administration, leadership and properties) of Awgbu Progress Union until elections to the national offices of the Union are conducted or the Elders Committee of the Union decides otherwise in accordance with the Union’s Constitution.” See Page 82.

“In the said judgment, the court also made decisive finding of facts and held among others at Pages 66 and 79 respectively as follows:
“Having found that the Caretaker Committee led by Mr. Onwuchekwe that conducted the election that produced the said new executive members of Awgbu Progress Union does not exist in the eyes of the law as its establishment or constitution by the 1st respondent is null and void and of no effect, it follows that the touted new executive members of Awgbu Progress Union led by Hon. Emma Akidi also do not exist in the eyes of the law.”

“In the instant case, the Elders Committee exercised their right under the Constitution of Awgbu Progress Union by appointing a five man Caretaker Committee on 2/1/2022 albeit one year after they ought to have done so. But it is better late than never and the remedy lies in their exercise of that right. Having exercised their right of appointing a five man Caretaker Committee to manage the affair of Awgbu Progress Union under the Constitution, their appointment of Caretaker Committee and the works of that Caretaker Committee are binding on all indigenes of Awgbu and the entire Awgbu Community as stipulated in Article 1 (2) of the Constitution of Awgbu Progress Union.”

“At the end, in the said judgment, the court made an order of perpetual injunction against the Respondents therein thus:
The 1st – 4th Respondents (i.e. Government of Anambra State; Attorney General of Anambra State; Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affairs; Barr. Veraqueen Ebele Okonkwo), acting either directly or through any servant, agent or whomsoever “are perpetually restrained from interfering or further interfering in the leadership, administration, functions and/or affairs of Awgbu Progress Union by way of appointment/establishment of Caretaker Committee or extension of tenure of office of Caretaker Committee, or in any other manner howsoever”.

“The 5th Respondent (i.e. Incorporated Trustees of Anambra State Association of Town Unions [ASATU]), acting either directly or through any servant, agent or whomsoever “is perpetually restrained from admitting or further admitting into any meeting/gathering of Anambra State Association of Town Unions (ASATU) any person who did not emerge leader of Awgbu Town Union in accordance with the Constitution of Awgbu Progress Union of the Applicants and from recognizing or further recognizing any such person”,

Progress Union said it is common knowledge that Emmanuel Akidi and his cohorts who are supported by Ernest Nnama Ezeajughi , being agents and servants of the 1st – 4th Respondents by virtue of a letter they got therefrom, are all caught up by the perpetual injunctive order of court quoted above which is clear in terms and obviously in favour of the members of Awgbu Progress Union.

The Union further said that it is also common knowledge that despite the said court judgment, Emmanuel Akidi, with encouragement from Ernest Nnama Ezeajughi, has been impersonating and parading himself as President General of Awgbu Progress Union, using every available means to harass, intimidate and frustrate the leadership of Awgbu progress Union as well as other members of the Union, and claiming to have been elected as number one national officer of Awgbu Progress Union on 14/05/2022 at a purported meeting convened by the Jeo Ndubuisi Onwuchekwe led purported Caretaker Committee which never existed in the eyes of the law according to the court’s finding of facts and holding as quoted hereinabove.

“It happened previously that when the said purported Caretaker Committee by the Jeo Ndubuisi Onwuchekwe attempted to alter/jettison the Union’s electoral process that was commenced in September, 2020 but was suspended by court order in December the same year, one Mr. Joseph Ezeajughi (Ernest Nnama Ezeajughi’s cousin) challenged the act in Suit No. AG/109/2021: MR. JOSEPH EZEAJUGHI V. JEO (JOSEPH) NDUBUISI ONWUCHEKWE & 3 ORS. in which judgment was delivered on 28th January, 2022 by Anambra State High Court, Aguata Judicial Division, declaring the status of the parties, defining the modalities for the conduct of the suspended elections and restraining breach of the Union’s Constitution in that regard.

“Elections to the national offices of Awgbu Progress Union which became due since 27th December, 2020 but could not be held as a result of series of court cases until after two years eventually held on 27th December, 2022 but could still not extend to the office of President General, as there were unresolved misgivings among the supporters of the candidates for the Union’s topmost office amidst a charged atmosphere; hence the Awgbu Progress Union Elders Committee appointed Hon. Anselm Ugo Ezeayom as Interim President General on 27th December, 2022 in accordance with the Constitution of Awgbu Progress Union, 2017 and subsequently appointed Mr. Johnpaul Ezeanowi as a replacement on 9th August, 2023, also in accordance with the Union’s extant Constitution.

“In the light of the foregoing, the general public is urged to disregard any invitation to such unwholesome event and shun any person extending the invitation, as such a person does not have the imprimatur of Awgbu town vide Awgbu Progress Union.

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