Chief Francis Chikezie becomes Igwe-elect of Azia community

Chief Francis Chikezie

Umudiopkara village in Azia, Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State on Saturday elected from among themselves an Igweship candidate for the approval of the entire Azia community after nearly a decade the stool was vacant.

 Contestants to the stool from Umudiokpara whose turn it is to produce the next traditional ruler of Azia were Chief Francis Chikezie; Chief Felix Ifeanyimuo; Chief Azu Arinze and Chief Francis Okoye.

Some members of the electoral committee

In the keenly contested election, Chief Francis Chikezie polled a total of 380 votes to beat Chief Ifeanyimuo who got 273 votes while Chief Arinze and Okoye polled 168 and 77, respectively.

By that result, Chief Chikezie was declared winner of the election.

Members of Azia community

Announcement of the result generated thunderous jubilation, an indication that the choice of the majority of the locals won the election.

 The winner of the Saturday election would be presented to the entire Azia community or Azia general in a yet to be determined date in line with the provisions of the community’s constitution.

Azia community has five villages of Umudansu, Umudiopkara, Abam, Ukwakwa and Ifite.

The Chairman of the electoral committee, Ohachosim Ikem, a Chartered Accountant said he had made a promise to himself and the community that his committee would conduct a free, fair and credible election to produce the next Igwe of the community. He thanked the contestants for their peaceful disposition before, during and after the election.

“The outcome of the Saturday election was a manifestation of the diligent and transparent approach of the electoral body that worked round the clock to ensure a successful outing.

“All the contenders are qualified to contest for the throne, based on the 1976 Azia constitution. We cannot screen anyone of them out and that is why the village, Umudiokpara, whose turn it is to produce the next Igwe had to do the election and present the winner to the entire community.

“The government actually ordered the election to elect the most popular person among the royal aspirants and I say with all satisfaction that Umundiokpara village has spoken, the election was free and fair, I am an Accountant and accountability is our watchword all through the process from the beginning to the end,” he said.

The President General (PG) of Azia, Dr Nwabueze Tonna at the end of the exercise thanked Umundiokpala village for their peaceful conduct during and after the election, adding that the actual winner of the election is Azia community.

In his comment, the Episcopal Vicar of Ozubulu region of the Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, Very Rev Fr Hygi Aghulor expressed satisfaction at the peaceful conduct of the election and thanked the contestants for their show of maturity at the election. He scored the electoral committee and the contestants high, saying that Azia community was the winner. He called on all concerned to come together for the overall progress and development of Azia.

“The electoral committee performed excellently, the process was very transparent. If Nigeria elections are conducted in this way, nobody will be complaining, as you can see nobody is agitating.

“The agents of the persons who did not make it voluntarily and willingly signed the result forms because it was evident, from the accreditation that started yesterday, people filed on the line peacefully, and all through the election process today, there was neither violence nor acrimony. It’s a positive development for Azia.

“You can see people singing, dancing and rejoicing, you don’t see them talking down about anybody. This phase has ended, the next phase is getting people together to move Azia forward, we don’t have another place we can call our own,” he concluded.

Officials from Anambra State, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters were on ground as observers during proceedings. Security was impregnable as a detachment from Nigerian Army was also on ground to prevent security breach.

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