Aba Ngwa Youths Congress on Wednesday shut down commercial activities in Aba North and South Local Government Secretariats to protest against Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu’s choice of Transition Committee (TC) chairmen for the two council areas.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governor appointed Dr. Christian Okoli, otherwise known as Macro, and Mr. Charles Esonu for the two councils, respectively.
The youths, comprising mainly the indigenous people of Aba, laid coffins and fresh palm fronds at the main entrance gates to the secretariats.
They disrupted official activities during the protest and demanded the immediate removal of the two chairmen.
They carried placards with different inscriptions that read: “Aba-Ngwa youths say no to Macro and Esonu,” “8th time TC chairman is unfair in Aba-South” and “Appoint indigenes as TC chairmen in Aba North and South.”
Mr. Greg Obinna, the President of the Congress, who spoke to newsmen, said that the protest would continue until Abia government removed the chairmen.
Obinna described Ikpeazu’s appointment of Okoli, who hailed from Anambra, as an affront on them.
Okoli would be holding the office for the eighth time both as elected and on appointment.
Obinna also described the appointment of Esonu, a legal practitioner from Isiala Ngwa North council area, as a sign of total neglect and marginalisation against Aba North and South people.
He said that the action was unacceptable to them and must stop.
He said: “Aba-Ngwa comprises Aba North and Aba South and we are here, peacefully protesting against the appointments of Okoli and Esonu as TC chairmen for the two council areas.
“We are rejecting Okoli based on the fact that he has been chairman of the council for the eight time. We have people that can do the job.
“We the indigenous people are saying we are very capable of handling our own local government affairs.
“They don’t consult us before appointments like this. The next thing you see is imposition of leaders which is unacceptable to us.
“Government should appoint an indigene or we shall continue to occupy this place until the needful is done. Enough is enough.
“With due respect to Esonu, we are saying ‘NO’ to his appointment.”
Obinna said that Esonu hailed from Isiala-Ngwa North, adding that “Isiala-Ngwa, like Aba Ngwa, has Isiala-Ngwa North and Isiala-Ngwa South LGAs.”
He said that Esonu’s appointment would increase the number of TC chairmen of Isiala Ngwa origin to three, while Aba Ngwa had no indigene as chairman in the two Aba LGAs.
He said Aba Ngwa people wanted their own people in Aba North and South like the other 15 LGAs, where the indigenes were appointed chairmen.
“When the 17 LGA Chairmen go for a meeting, you’ll not see an Aba man there so if we are talking of equity, let equity be equity and not a different thing when it concerns us.
“During the party primaries, they denied us ticket to represent ourselves in the House of Representatives”, he added.
Mr. Elijah Charles, President, Asa-Okpulo Autonomous Community in Aba North, said that Ikpeazu should settle Okoli and Esonu with any appointments.
Charles said they had protested the appointments on Monday at the State House of Assembly and submitted their letter for the house to look into.
He said they urged the lawmakers not to screen Okoli and Esonu and also stop the governor from inaugurating them.