A community in Anambra State is currently boiling over the decision by some people in the community to change its name from Nkerehi to Umuchukwu.
The community which is in Orumba South Local Government Area has been in crisis since a referendum championed by one of its sons, Dr Godwin Maduka caused a change in the name of the community from Nkerehi to Umuchukwu. A part of the community has, however, insisted that it will continue to bear the old name.
Women from the community numbering over 200, on Thursday, beseeched the Anambra State government house in protest, calling on governor Obiano to wade into the crisis in the community, accusing Maduka of reigning terror on them.
The women who were all dressed in black wielded placards with various inscriptions, and banners, showing pictures of those who thugs allegedly loyal to maduka maimed.
Spokesperson of the women, Dr Mrs Maureen Igwike who addressed government officials on behalf of the women said, “we are Nkerehi people in Orumba South LGA. Dr Godwin Maduka has been using his brother, Kenneth Maduka to terrorize us.
“They killed my husband recently, and took the corpse away. The problem is that in 2007, they changed the name of our community, an many objected. Since then, they have been visiting the homes of some of us who insist we remain Nkerehi.”
Addressing the protesters, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Chieftaincy and Local Government Affairs, Mrs Vera Okonkwo commended the protesting women for coming to notify government of the anomaly happening in their community, instead of taking the laws into their hands.
She said, “I am here on behalf of Anambra government to receive you people, and to thank you for a peaceful protest. I know that whatever could make you people to be wailing like this is not a joke.
“I advise you to be calm, the governor is a calm man and does not allow intimidation, so he will not allow you to be intimidated by anyone, now that he knows. We have your petition, and the governor will look into it,” she said.
Meanwhile, Dr Godwin Maduka has denied being involved in any case of intimidation, harassment and molestation among women in his community, but rather described the protest as one sponsored to tarnish his image.
Mr Obinna Okafor, Special Adviser to Dr. Godwin Maduka on Media & Strategic Communications who reacted to inquiries from bioreports said, “The alleged cases of molestation, intimidation and harassment were untrue and non-existent. Such futile political blackmail could simply be described as hand of Esau, voice of Jacob.
“No doubt, Dr. Maduka’s (Okosisi Orumba) presence in politics has changed the narratives; a lot of desperate political merchants are uncomfortable with what he’s bringing to the table for Ndi Anambra. Hence, they continue to seek ways to smear the widespread grassroot support and towering reputation of the Umuchukwu born globally renowned medical expert.”
He insisted that due process of a referendum was followed in changing the name of the community, and the name was gazetted by the Anambra State Government, stating that the dissenting families were less than three and constituted those mobilized by political opponents for the protest.
Dr Maduka is an aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party in the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State.