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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Anambra Commissioner Clears the Air Over Nullification of Urum Town Union Election


By Izunna Okafor, Awka

The Anambra State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Tonycollins Nwabunwanne has debunked the media publications making the wave with various strings of alleging fired against him over his cancellation of the Town Union election of the Urum Development Union in Awka North Local Government Area of the State.

Recall that the media space was awash over the weekend with publications alleging that the election of Urum town union leadership that held in December 2023 was recently nullified by Commissioner Nwabunwanne over certain alleged reasons mentioned in the publications.

While the publications adjudged the said election as peaceful and free and fair, it also added that the reports from the media, and that of the officials of the Department of State Service (DSS), the Nigeria Police, and others who monitored the election attested to the success and violence-free status of the said election; hence wondering why Commissioner Nwabunwanne would come up to cancel it three months after he allegedly delayed presenting Certificate of Recognition to the purported winner of the election.

According to the contents of the reports, the Commissioner was being accused of having nullified the election because the members of the purported winner of the said election (Sir Felix Godwin) refused to “beg” and “appease” the purported loser, Mr. Chinedu Nduka, after he (the Commissioner) allegedly called and directed them to do so.

Commissioner Nwabunwanne was further accused, in the report, as saying that he nullified the because of the how the people of Urum in diaspora talked to him over the election matter. He was also accused of making U-turn later on to say that it was his principal, Governor Chukwuma Soludo, who directed the nullification of the election.

Addition, the reports also accused the Commissioner of “daring” the Urum community members and challenging them to do their worst after he nullified the election last Friday.

However, while speaking in an interview with this reporter, Izunna Okafor on Monday, Commissioner Nwabunwanne debunked all the allegations in the publications, describing them as false, witch-hunt, sponsored content and fabricated tissues of lies cooked up by the reporters and their pay masters, to tarnish his image and square up the people of Urum Community with him.

Going specific, the Commissioner explained that the election which held in December was marred with violence, to the extent that there were gunshots that culminated to someone losing his sight with one of his eyes due to weapon attacks and fights that cast doubts on the credibility of the election, against the weekend media publications alleging that the election was violence-free. While noting that the person who lost his sight is still currently receiving treatments in the hospital, among other injured persons, he further hinted that there was also destruction of properties at the election venue, including the canopies and other materials.

While the publications claimed that other positions in the election were unopposed, apart from the positions of the President General and the Vice which were contested; Commissioner explained that Town Union elections are not only conducted for PGs, but for all the Executive positions, adding that even in a case where there are unopposed persons for particular positions, the persons would be called out (starting from the least position to the highest executive post), presented and declared the winners/occupants of their respective positions in the presence of the community members, for them to know who occupies which position.

He therefore disagreed with those who claim that the election was violence-free and produced the PG and other unopposed persons, even as he also challenged them to publish the result sheet of the said election showing the winners and their scores as they claimed.

The Commissioner also recalled that the said election was even conducted two times that same day after violence erupted during the first one, which made the people to cancel it and re-conduct another one that same day, and which even sparked off more serious violence that led to the gunshots, to the extent that people panickingly fled the scene in search of safety and hiding places, for their dear lives.

While wondering why the election that was marred by gunshots would be adjudged violence-free; Commissioner Nwabunwanne also challenged the people to publish the said reports of the DSS, the police, and those of other observers of the election, as they were referencing.

He further debunked that allegation that he dared the people of Urum to do their worst after he nullified the election, even as he also challenged the persons who make such claims to publish their evidence, still wondering how he could ever imagine making such comment as a public servant. This, according to him, is nothing short of an amateur attempt by the reporters and their sponsors to square up the people of Urum with him.

Against the allegations in the media publications, the Commissioner also denied ever knowing or discussing anything with the people of Urum in Diaspora, let alone telling them that he cancelled the election because of the disrespectful way they talked to him about it.

When asked why it took him up to 3 months to nullify the election, as well as his response to the allegation that he cancelled the election because the purported winner refused to “beg” the purported loser as he directed him to do; the Commissioner denied ever asking anybody to beg anybody for anything. According to him, after the election and the various stories that accompanied it, he invited the people to his office, and after hearing from the both parties, he advised them to go and make peace.

He said: “If the people who contested the election went and made peace (as I advised them), then discussed and had an agreement with their community members and then came up to say that they were now presenting this person or that person as their President General or so so so exco; when that is confirmed, I wouldn’t have any reason to oppose it or order the re-conducting of the election, because it is their community.

“But they refused to even reconcile and restore peace among themselves in the community since after the election, let alone getting back to me on their resolution, until after the 3-month deadline I gave them. And so, I had to nullify the election for them to conduct a fresh one, because the community would not continue to be without PG.

“So, I am surprised to see all these allegations saying that I did this or did that. Let the people saying those things come up with their evidences to prove their claims and allegations to the public.”

Worried about how the publications also blamed and alleged that the election was nullified by Governor Soludo; Commissioner Nwabunwanne also warned the against attributing his decision to the Governor, emphasizing that he has the mandate to take some rational decisions on his own as the head of his Ministry and also execute same in the best interest of the State and towards actualizing the vision of the Solution Government for Ndị Anambra.

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