Campaign of calumny against Imo House of Assembly – Part 2
It is disheartening that since February 28, 2017 when IMHA passed the resolution, rather than take steps to comply with the Hon. House’s mandate that would lead to peace in Owu, Eze Ben Nwaneri, fired by his cohorts like Mr. Ogunedo, has been doing everything possible to rubbish the resolution. Mr. Ogunedo and his co-travellers have been instigating Eze Ben Nwaneri not to obey the Hon. House. They have spread their tentacles and have been meeting every possible high profile politician in Imo State and beyond seeking to have such VIPs prevail on the Imo State House of Assembly to reverse its resolution on Owu-Amakohia.
Worse still, Eze Ben Nwaneri and his cronies have been presenting the Imo State House of Assembly in bad light. They have been insinuating that the House was compromised for it to pass the resolution on Owu-Amakohia. Painting the House black amounts to campaign of calumny, indeed, outright blackmail. The setting up of a fresh ad-hoc committee to review the matter is consequent upon the blackmail. But the House should not succumb to blackmail.
At this juncture, I would like to puncture the blatant lies and fabrications Mr. Ogunedo dished out in his submission. Mr. Ogunedo chided the Hon. House by saying that the document signed by Hon. Arthur Egwim (Chairman) is undated. What an insult! Again, it is denigrating to the Hon. House for Mr. Ogunedo to say that the House relied on what he called “tissues” to carry out investigation and issued a report. This is an affront against the House.
Hon. Speaker, Owu people are ordinary village folks like others in rural Nigeria. There is nothing like influence-welding sponsors working to mislead the House. Instead, it is Mr. Ogunedo who is flaunting his Maj. General rank everywhere in the hope that having long leg with powerful connections will solve his problem. Mr. Ogunedo thinks that his Maj. General rank is a magic wand that can change white into black and truth into lies.
It is blatant lies for Mr. Ogunedo to say that personal biases and animosity against Eze Nwaneri is at the heart of the petition. What is at the heart of Owu’s petition is the arbitrary change of name by the troublesome Eze Nwaneri. As a matter of fact, if there is any bias, Mr. Ogunedo is the guilty party for blindly backing and defending Eze Nwaneri simply because he is his in-law.
With regard to the purported name change, the truth has been laid bare that Imo State Government Gazette No. 4 of 2003 under the Achike Udenwa administration was for granting of autonomous community and not for change of name. How Owubinubi entered into the Gazette whereas the application for autonomous community was made with the name Owu is what Eze Nwaneri and his cronies must answer. The Gazette has been wrongly cited as the basis for the change of name.
Different authorities in Imo State have refused to recognise the charade Eze Nwaneri calls Owubinubi. First, he claimed that the Imo State Government changed the name by virtue of granting of autonomous community status to Owu. But the State Government has clarified that it did not change the name of any autonomous community. Second, the Eze approached the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Most Rev. Anthony J.V. Obinna, to give credence to his falsehood by adopting Owubinubi for the St. John Bosco Catholic Church, Owu. But Archbishop Obinna refused and stated that the name Owu-Amakohia existed before the church came to the area and as such he can’t change the name except there is valid legal documents to that effect which the Eze could not provide. The Eze then went to the authorities of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), asking them to change the sign posts in the schools in Owu to Owubinubi to which SUBEB countered that it had no authority to change the name in their records except there are legal documents to that effect which are not available.
If Owubinubi is a legally binding name, why haven’t different authorities in Imo State recognised it more than 14 years after the purported name change? The authorities know that giving undue recognition to the Owubinubi falsehood, a selfish project of Eze Nwaneri, would be tantamount to fomenting trouble in the community; hence, they washed their hands off the fraud.
Clearly, the entire submission of Ogunedo is baseless and meaningless and should be trashed. Ogunedo merely expressed a belated personal opinion that is of no consequence.
It is callous for Ogunedo to have cited a hurriedly-authored booklet titled, The Origin & History of Owubinubi (Up to 2007), written by Obi George as a valid evidence for changing Owu-Amakohia to Owubinubi. The booklet was published in 2008 at the height of the turmoil in Owu generated by Eze Nwaneri and as such, the author was biased and not in his right frame of mind at the time. Whatever information was contained in that booklet has been overtaken by events.
I had stated in this column that the title of the booklet is a misnomer. It distorts history and so is unreliable. Mr. Obi George is still alive and has since recanted on the misleading title of the booklet and may soon release a new edition that will erase the distortion. Mr. Obi has stated that he was misled and deceived into writing the booklet when he was hobnobbing with Eze Nwaneri, hence, the booklet was based on the wrong information he received.
Around November 2010, during the pulling out parade of Mr. Ogunedo as Maj. General, his citation read by the army authorities at the parade ground showed that all his official records in the army identified him as a native of Owu-Amakohia. Has Mr. Ogunedo changed his contact address with the military authorities or is he still receiving his pension as a native of Owu-Amakohia while parading himself as hailing from Owubinubi? The military authorities should investigate this matter.
I must use this opportunity to thank the Imo State House of Assembly for doing a good job, and more especially, for the harmony that exists between it and the Executive. The diligent investigation conducted by the Ad-hoc Committee chaired by Hon. Arthur Egwim is highly appreciated. Owu people are confident that the new committee will reaffirm the truth and not fall to the cheap blackmail of Eze Nwaneri and his cronnies.