Members of Amaechi-Awkwunanu autonomous community have restated that the parcel of land housing the now rested Satellite newspapers at Garriki area of Enugu South metropolis was a gift the community gave to Chief Jim Nwobodo in 1981 when he was Governor of old Anambra state.
Dispute over the land had recently arisen with a section of the community asking for retake of the premises, a crisis that resulted in the suspension of the traditional ruler of the community, HRH Igwe Ogbodo Okorie, last week.
But speaking on behalf of the Amaechi community, the administrator of Enugu South-West Development Center, Hon. Harry-Chuks Egbonnaji said that “Satellite is a portion of land from old road, given to Jim Nwobodo jointly by Amagu-Ugwu that comprises Amaechi-uno and Amaechi. There was a dispute over the land and Jim helped to broker peace. So when he became Governor, in 1981 the same Amagu-Ugwu searched for what they would use to appreciate him and they gave him the satellite premises. He never asked for it and there was no attachment to it. The greater Amagu-Ugwu people made up of Amaechi and Amaechi-uno are about to have a reunion, a general assembly to reaffirm that satellite premises was a gift given to Jim.”
Egbonnaji disclosed that when the land was given to Nwobodo, the suspended Igwe Ogbodo Okorie was among the persons that became caretakers of the land, noting that when Jim established Satellite newspapers on the land, the late Justice Eddy Onyia was the first secretary of the Satellite newspaper.
“Jim used that place to bring up our people in terms of employment. Nobody contested it, there was no controversy about it and those who gave it to him are still alive. So, these people who suddenly have aroused contest of the land have no locus standi because it was not Amaechi as a community that gave it to Jim, it was Amagu-Ugwu that comprises two communities that gave it to Jim in 1981. They had never contested the land until 2019 when the tenure of Amaechi town union executive led by John Egbo as the then President General expired and he refused that another election will not be conducted. That was how they ganged up, including Eddy Onyia, Dan Agbo and the suspended Igwe Anthony Ogbodo Okorie and others who insisted that there won’t be a new election but we said no, if you want to continue, come to the field and prove yourself in a level playing ground,” Egbonnaji narrated.
He recalled that all the efforts that Jim Nwobodo made to ensure that there was a free and fair town union election did not amount to anything to them but instead they went to conduct a parallel election in Igwe’s palace which he said was how the trouble started on November 6 2020.
“After the election they said that Jim took sides and accused him that he acquired satellite premises by force. At another instance they said that Jim did not follow the purpose clause which they said was that the land was given to him to do the newspaper business but now that the newspaper is not working, that they will take it back, but all these things are false.
“The reason why Igwe was suspended is that after the election, apart from every other thing that we considered as gross misconduct by him, the major thing is that he formed a parallel government in the community, leaving the government-recognized elected town union executive. The Governor asked Igwe to come with the President General but the Igwe went and picked John Egbo who was no longer the President General in defiance of the government directive.
“Whenever we are having a general assembly, he will form a parallel one, he instigated people who cause mayhem in the community such as in the case of Chidiebere Nnamani that was butchered and whose matter is still in court. Nobody had rest in our place and in a general assembly somebody moved a motion for his suspension and it was overwhelmingly agreed that he will be suspended. A communiqué was raised, the governor was notified and that was why we asked the government to intervene and the Igwe was suspended. So the suspension was not by the Governor, it was the protest our people presented to the Governor.”