Youths of Ahani-Achi community in Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State, Thursday, rejected what they called imposed leadership of youths in the community and accused a serving commissioner in the state of being behind the alleged imposition.
To register their grievance, the youths on the platform of National Association of Ahani Achi Youth Progress, NAAY, held a protest in Enugu, where they openly accused the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Manfred Tony Ezekwe, also an indigene of the community, of trying to sponsor crisis in the youths’ leadership in the community.
During the peaceful protest, they called on Governor Ugwuanyi to call Ezekwe to order and not to ignite crisis in the community. The youths accused Ezekwe of trying to sponsor a splinter group of youth leadership and constitute a parallel executive of the youth council in the community which they vowed to resist.
However, in a swift reaction, Ezekwe denied the accusation and dismissed it as “vague and nonsense.”
He said: “I am not aware of any problem as regards youths in my community. The Igwes sent me a letter to send staff of the Ministry to observe the youth’s election where Samuel Okefi emerged as the youth leader.”
He added: “I am surprised to hear that some people are protesting. There is no ulterior motive or interference with the village affairs. Any other allegation is strange to me.
“The Igwe wrote to our office that they want to have an election and the local government chairman and the police were there”, Nzekwe explained.
According to him, the aggrieved youths never complained to him and insisted that he was not aware of any problems in his community.
He, however, advised that any of them feels aggrieved should seek legal redress and not to embark on a protest.
The youths who marched through the major streets of Enugu, including the Government House, with placards with inscriptions as “Hon. Tony Manfred stop encouraging crisis in our community”, “Ahani Youths pass vote of no confidence on Tony Manfred”, “Enough is enough”, “Hon. Tony stop destabilizing your community”, “Hon Tony our future will no longer be toyed with”, among others, maintained that their authentic youth leader remains Harrison Onyefuru.
The letter they submitted to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and the State House of Assembly read in part: “We humbly write to submit a matter of grave concern to your elevated office for your routine efficient, dispassionate and proactive action.
“We do this in the hope that you will forestall impending unrest and communal violence amongst youths of Ahani Achi Autonomy Community, herein referred to as Ahani Community.
“We wish to bring to your notice an attempt by disgruntled members of the National Association of Ahani Achi Youth Progress (allegedly) sponsored by Hon. Tony Manfred Nzekwe to sow strife, instigate violence and unsettle the peace within Ahani Autonomous Community.
“We humbly request you to look into this report and call for a meeting to help resolve this issue amicably, so as to avoid civil unrest in Ahani Achi.
“Furthermore, we respectfully request you use the necessary government machinery to investigate the activities of Hon. Manfred Nzekwe and curb his excesses in the community because when a system is overplayed, it will definitely boomerang.”
They warned that if nothing was done quickly, the community might erupt into unimaginable crisis.