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Erema Community: Onelga Council Boss Sacks CDC  Chairman, Benjamin Chilekwe

….Paramount Ruler, HRH, Eze  Georgewill  Hails Action

As a result of complaints and petition against Mr. Benjamin  Chilekwe, the former chairman, Community Development Committee (CDC) of  Erema town in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State over several cases of misconduct including in–house crisis between him and some of his members to which he pleaded guilty, and paid fine imposed on him by the community sometime, the Erema people on December 6, 2019 finally met at their ancestral playground “Anama Orji” Square and unanimously resolved to remove Mr. Chilekwe from office.

He was thereafter replaced with Mr. Douglas Singer of Umu-Akpa family from Abururu quarters, Erema town as the new CDC chairman.

The former CDC chairman's removal and replacement they said, was immediately announced in various media stations in the state. An official letter from the Erema community was also addressed to the Executive Chairman of Ogba /Egbema/Ndoni LGA  informing him of the development.

Records made available to the press indicate that Mr. Chilekwe's sack was duly endorsed by the Erema stakeholders, all family chiefs of Erema community including Erema Council Of Chiefs, Erema Council of Amalas, the Elites and the traditional government of Erema Community.

Those who endorsed the removal of the former chairman include, HRH, Eze  Azubuike Georgewill lll, the Eze Ali Erema –Ukwu, Paramount Ruler, Erema Town; Chief Elder  Zacheus E. Isabu (JP); Chief Apostle Richard Owerre (JP); Rev. Elder S.F. Obulor, Second Eldest man in Agbna community;  Elder Blacky Ojiji  Williams, Elder  Agbna Community; Mr. Ikechukwu Agi, Secretary Abururu Community Council;  Azubuike  Chuks, Chairman, Agbna Community Council; Elder Felix Oleanya Obulor, Head, Erema Council of Amalas/Owhor Holders; Eze Billy Ugochukwu Owah, Chairman, Obiedi community council and Mr. Castin Obulor, Secretary, Agbna Community Council.

Others are Chief Samuel O. Elenwa, Eze Obiedi (l) of Erema Town; HRH, Eze Alexander Ikeagwu Osah, Eze  Agbna ll of Agbna community; Elder Elu Oyibo Nwokoma, Amala Umu-Ayah family; Elder Ndubuisi Okpokiri, Secretary Erema Council of Amala/Owhor holders; Chief Essor Fred Ocha, Umu-Onwubi  family Chief; Elder ThankGod Akoku, Amala Umu-Nwaudu family; Elder Kingdom Oha,  Amala Umu-Ohali; Elder Zion Ike Okawune, Amala Umu-Okrakpo family; Deacon Onyebuchi  Uche, Secretary, Obiedi  Community Council; Chief Kelvin Ogunwa, secretary Erema Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs; Chief Monday Umeka, family Chief, Umu-Ayah family Chief; Elder Azubuike Williams, Amala  Umu-Olowu family; Chief  George Nwaerema, Umu-Nwaudu family chief; Elder Africa Alabi, Amala Umu-Ada ll family (Akpa); Elder Okocha Hope, Amala Umu Edegbe family; Elder Ukadike Abara, Amala Umu-Okiriorie family.

Some other dignitaries that endorsed the removal of Mr. Chilekwe as CDC Chairman include, Elder Happy Okuku, Amala Umu-Ahuiew family; High Chief Ikechi Dede, Paramount Chief, Abururu community council, Elder Vine Nwaisu, Erema community Elite; Chief Ume Odukwu, Umu-Akpa family chief; Chief Obulor Dike Ogwu, Umu-Osake family chief; HRH, Eze Ndubueze Isoma, Eze Uchi ll logbo of Ekpeye and Ogbaland community.

Chief Obulor Uke, Elite Erema Community; Mr. Chinoye Dede (JP), Elite Erema Community; Fyneboy Uke, Elite Erema Community; Elder Newton Okuku, Amala Umu-Owubi family; Chief Moses Luck Umah, Erema Community Elite; Chief Lawson Uche, Umu-Ada ll family chief, (Akpa Kindred); Chief James Elechi, Umu –Ojum family chief; Chief Golden Chilekwe, Erema community Elite; Chief Egbuniwe Okirie, Umu-Iweh family chief; Chief  Kwema Albert Okpoekwe, Umu-Akoku family; Chief Eze Abel Isoma, Eze Umu – Okrakpo family chief; Elder Odu Akio, Amala Umu - Ojum family; Elder Iyke Okirie, Amala Umu-Iwie family and Elder Felix Uyah Mgbonu, Eldest man/Amala Umu-Eze Ali family.

Mr. Benjamin Chilekwe having been removed by the Erema Community reported the matter to the Executive Chairman of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni  Council, Hon. Victor Ifeanyi Odili, for intervention. The council boss,  after hearing from all the parties concerned on December 18, 2019 suspended Mr. Chilekwe as the Erema CDC chairman and replaced him with his Secretary, Mr. Udoma Ebeku Okawume as acting CDC chairman.

The information available to the press revealed that the council chairman refused to adopt Mr. Douglas Singer who was appointed by the Erema community to complete the tenure of the sacked chairman because according to him, he wanted to be neutral as well as to avoid pressure from highly placed Traditional Rulers and politicians to return Mr. Chilekwe who has been found guilty by Erema community of the offences  against him. And for the interest of peace in Erema community, the council chairman finally on January 15, 2020 reaffirmed his earlier decision and appointed Mr. Ebeku Udoma Okawume as the new Erema CDC chairman to complete the remaining one year tenure of his former boss, as provided in Erema Reviewed Constitution/By-laws 2018/2019.

Other members of the committee were not affected. However, before the chairman made his pronouncement to finally adopt Mr. Okawume as the CDC chairman, he had asked the mammoth crowd of Erema people present at his Executive chambers whether Erema community was in peace since the appointment of Mr. Okawume Udoma as acting chairman of the CDC and all the parties present echoed 'yes`!!.

The Onelga council boss repeated the question three times and the answer remained the same. It was thereafter he made his final pronouncement of Udoma as the CDC chairman and urged him to maintain the peace in Erema town. The chairman identified the root cause of the crisis in Erema community as the inability of a highly placed Traditional Ruler and prominent sons of Erema community to remain focused, stand by the truth and work in accordance with the custom and tradition of their people. The chairman informed the crowd that even up to that morning, he had been receiving several calls urging him to compromise his conscience but that as a God-fearing man who has love for his local government and particularly for Erema community decided to stand by the truth and played a centre role in order to bring peace in Erema community.

When newsmen asked the Paramount Ruler of Erema town, Eze Azubuike Georgewill lll his reaction on the decision of the Executive Chairman, he hailed the decision of the council boss, Hon Chief (Amb) Victor Ifeanyi Odili, adding that the decision was a victory for all the people of Erema community.

“It is indeed a case of No Victor, No Vanquished, but a progress for the people of Erema community”.  Eze Georgewill further urged all other Local Government chairmen in the state to follow the footsteps and good leadership of the Onelga boss in order to bring peace and unity in their domain and as well encourage development. He appealed to the people of Erema community to accept the decision of the chairman in good faith and support the new CDC headed by Ebeku Okawume Udoma to achieve set goals, for greater peace, unity and progress in Erema community. All effort as at press time to reach Prof. Anele Uzondu Nwokoma, Eze Egi lll for his comment or reaction over the decision of the council boss concerning the Erema CDC matter proved abortive.

It would be recalled that the Eze Egi was reported to have strongly fought for the retention of Mr. Benjamin Alex Chilekwe as Erema CDC chairman despite allegations of serious misconduct against him by the Erema community and the in-house fighting between him and his members, including several court cases between him and the Erema community.