Anikwe, Enugu Ex-Commissioner, Editor elected Community leader

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A former editor and development expert, Mazi Ogbuagu Anikwe, was yesterday, 23 March 2024, unanimously endorsed as president general of a town Union known as the Federation of Ihe Autonomous Communities (FIAC).

FIAC is a federation of three autonomous Communities created from the old Ihe Community in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State to manage common assets and pursue joint development aspirations..

At yesterday’s rescheduled election ordered by the Enugu State Government, two other contestants, Comrade Bethrand Nwankwo and Ogbuefi Chijioke Nwoye, stepped down to allow Anikwe to emerge as consensus president-elect.

Enugu State Commissioner for Rural Development, Chieftaincy Affairs and Local Government, Deacon Okey Ogbodo, ordered the new election after listening to complaints about how the original 30 December 2023 election was botched.

He also drafted his Ministry’s officials to witness yesterday’s rescheduled election.

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Delegates also elected Barrister Ephraim Chukwu unopposed as National Secretary, while Ogbuefi Chijioke Okeke and Pastor Ikechukwu Eko emerged as national vice presidents.

While congratulating Mr. Anikwe and his new team, the Representative of the Commissioner, a director in the Ministry, observed that women were not included in the new Executive.

She encouraged the new executive to ensure that the organisation becomes inclusive, as there is a lot that women could bring to the table to make the organisation more effective.

The new president assured that there is a plan to make the community based association more efficient, inclusive, and modern.

He commended “progressive minds” in Ihe, including former Executive under the leadership of Engr. Rufus Nwagu, for their honesty, patriotism, and fair mindedness.

Mr. Anikwe expressed gratitude to the Governor Peter Mbah administration, represented by the Honourable Commissioner Okey Ogbodo, for bringing to an end what was beginning to emerge as a crisis of leadership succession in their Community.

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The new President also sued for peace.

“I would like our people to see what has happened as a normal part of electioneering that ultimately sees one person emerging as a leader through due process and a popular election,” he said.

“There are no winners or losers today because Ihe is one and our goal for community development is the same.

“We want to see a new community working with government to attract the dividends of the current laudable policies and programmes of the Governor Mbah administration to our community.

“Incidentally, our three communities make up the Ihe (political) Ward which the governor has promised a Type 2 health centre and a smart school,” he said.

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“Many communities do not benefit from government, corporate organisations doing CSR, and international development organisations because they neither have the leadership capacity nor the expert knowledge of how to access and manage freely available development resources.

“We are confident that things will change for our community going forward, to support the selfless efforts of our leaders who have hitherto laboured under community development self-help.

“To borrow from our Governor’s mantra, the future development of the old Ihe Community is now here,” he said.

Anikwe, a former World Bank Communication Consultant, had a stellar career as a journalist and media manager in a number of print, online and radio organisations in Nigeria. He is also a former Commissioner for Information in Enugu State.

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