An 11-year-old communal feud between Umudike and Umudike-Ukwu communities in Abia State has been resolved. The theatres of war during the crisis were the law courts, following the carving out of Umudike-Ukwu in 2003 by former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu. Umudike opposed the excision of Umudike-Ukwu and sought the court’s help to stop it.
But all parties have now decided to embrace peace with the formal admission on Monday of the first traditional ruler of the new Umudike-Ukwu, Eze Ben Oriaku, into the Ikwuano Council of Traditional Rulers. The ceremony, which took place at the palace of the traditional ruler, was attended by all the traditional rulers in Ikwuano Local Government Area, including that of Umudike, Eze Onyekwe Anyaegbu.
In his speech, the Chairman of the council, Eze Godwin Chionye, urged the traditional rulers of the two-sister communities to bury the hatchet and collaborate to move their communities forward. While describing the affected communities as one, Chionye admonished them to initiate actions and measures that would promote peace, unity, understanding and cooperation between them.
Other traditional rulers, who took turns to advise the communities, included the immediate past chairman of the council, Eze Joseph Obaji, who said that the creation of autonomous communities was meant to bring development to rural communities. They urged the two communities to see themselves an entity, bury the 11-year-old dispute and work harmoniously to achieve rapid development in their area. Responding, Oriaku said that he had already initiated peace moves with the Umudike community by visiting his colleague (Anyaegbu), who, he referred to as his “father’’ and “business associate’’.
“I have always respected Eze Anyaegbu, who I regard as my father, we are not quarrelling and we cannot quarrel and many people do not know that we are business associates. Umudike Kingdom remains one, the carving out of Umudike-Ukwu, notwithstanding,’’ Oriaku was quoted by a newspaper. He assured the people that he would cooperate with members of his cabinet to bring rapid transformation to the area.
On why the trouble started Oriaku said that trouble back in 2003, when former Gov. Kalu carved out Umudike-Ukwu from Umudike Community. He added that the creation of the new autonomous community was challenged in an Umuahia High Court and the Appeal Court, Owerri, respectively, by Umudike, but expressed joy that the two judgments were in favour of Umudike-Ukwu. On his part, Eze Anyaegbu said that he would cooperate with Oriaku for the development of their communities, pointing out that they were still one entity under Umudike ancient Kingdom.