A serving commissioner in the Abia State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ASOPADEC) and President of Ngwa Patriots Forum, Chief Uzoma Ihuka has been allegedly involved in a ritualistic oath-taking scandal in a bid to plant his loyalists as councilorship candidates in Isiala Ngwa North LGA in the forthcoming Abia State local government elections.
The allegation is contained in a petition tagged â€˜Complaint About Forced Oath Taking, Threat to Life and Anti-Party Activitiesâ€™, signed by Mr. Monday Alili and addressed to the Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Isiala Ngwa North LGA. A copy (attached) was made available to African Heritage Times.
In the said petition, Mr. Alili who identified himself as a councillorship aspirant in Umuoha Ward 9B, Isiala Ngwa North LGA, alleged that after initial attempts by some party leaders in his Ward to get him to step down failed, he was lured to the residence of Chief Uzoma Ihuka in Umuahia where he was subjected under duress to take an oath administered by Chief Ihuka, after which he was ordered to step down for his co-contestant, Mr. Chimaobi Alozu.
The petition reads in part: â€œAfter taking the oath, Chief Ihuka and Chief Onwutuebe asked the four of us (aspirants) to go out from the parlour. After about one hour, they called us back and eventually compelled Chinemezu Jonah to step down for Chibunna Udondi to become the Councilor of Ward 9A, and told Chinemezu that they will give him the sum of N150,000 (one hundred and fifty thousand naira) for the form he had already purchased, and make him a Supervisory Councilor or P.A. to Deputy Chairman Mr. Ogbonna Nwandinma, after the elections. They also ordered me to step down for my opponent, Chimaobi Alozu and promised to make me a T.C Councilor for the remaining two months before the elections, and further recommend my name to the Governor for appointment after the elections. Both myself and Chinemezu Jonah pretended to play along just to leave the environment.â€
The petition further reads: â€œI have reported this matter to our great party (PDP) through our Ward Leader, Hon. G.C. Iwuoha to investigate and sanction those involved. I respect the party authority but now I no longer feel safe. My life is threatened. My family is threatened. So I may have to instruct my lawyer to lodge complaints with the appropriate authorities if I do not get justice from the party.â€
When African Heritage Times contacted the Transition Committee Chairman of Isiala Ngwa North LGA, Chief Udo Y.O. Nwogwugwu on the issue, he confirmed receiving the petition and said that the party will investigate and take appropriate action. The Isiala Ngwa North PDP Chairman, Elder Sam Esindu, when contacted, also acknowledged receiving the petition and said that the matter would be handled within the party. On his part, the Umuoha Ward 9 Chairman of PDP, Chief Emmanuel E. Nwala when contacted, denied knowing the petitioner, Mr. Monday Alili. Chief Uzoma Ihuka refused to respond to the issue when contacted, but rather threatened this magazine with a libel suit. Similarly, Chief Anthony Onwutuebe said he was in a meeting at the time he was contacted, and promised to call back but he did not. The Abia State Chairman of PDP, Dr. Alwell Asiforo Okere was not available for comments as at the time of filing this report.