A large number of men under the umbrella body of Igbeagu Improvement Union (IIU) Ebonyi State Chapter on Sunday 18th April 2021 chose its executive members during which Chief Michael Mbam emerged as the president who would pilot their affairs of the organization for the next three years.
The fifth president of the union, Chief (Engr.) Jonas Ogbonna Ibaki, in his brief history told newsmen in Abakaliki that IIU being a subsidiary of another bigger organization known as Igbeagu Development Union (IDU) was established around 1988 principally to oversee the affairs of indigenes of Igbeagu Autonomous Community in Diaspora.
He disclosed that the Union which its similar branches had spread across twenty five states of the federation usually serving as a medium by which the traditional institution passes messages to its subjects outside the community.
“This particular union is Ebonyi State branch, though everything started in Ebonyi State even as I am telling you, our National President is Chief Patrick Ogbodo Njoku, Ebonyi chapter was headed by Late Felix Mbam, shortly after its formation and since then, we have had about 9 presidents inclusive of Chief Michael Mbam while I was the 5th.
“The union is saddled with the responsibility of taking care of sons and daughters of Igbeagu Community in Diaspora, uniting the people and bringing improvement to the area” he narrated.
Chief Ibaki added that the members had contributed in giving sensitizations to many persons over the implication of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) at the hinterland and had enlightened and would continue to educate people about the state of insecurity confronting the country.
He expressed satisfaction over the manner which the exercise was conducted and optimism over the performance of the new leaders owing to the fact that Chief Michael Mbam being the president is endowed with enormous leadership qualities.
“Chief Michael Mbam is an able leader who had served people in various capacities, it was based on his antecedents that he was elected,” he said
He further urged them to always work as a team to enable them achieve their collective goal while praying for God’s strength and wisdom upon the leaders.
The immediate past president, Chief Sunday Nwangele, in his hand-over note added that the association is an offshoot of IDU which was formed and spread across other cities so that the welfare of Igbeagu indigenes in Diaspora would be taken care of.
“This association was formed to complement the efforts of our people who are residing at home mainly for the overall interest of the community, Igbeagu Development Union is the parent body of IIU and it is open to every indigene of the area provided the person is married” he explained.
Chief Nwangele while enumerating some of the achievements under his tenure disclosed that there was absolute peace among the members and reintegration of over 20 persons who had earlier felt aggrieved concerning the union.
“IIU has women wing and we have used the association and resolved many marital issues among us, we have equally amended the union constitution that has the potentials of running the affairs actively till the next ten years” he said.
He advised that the leaders should work hand in hand with the traditional institution of Igbeagu Autonomous Community, General Assembly, Igbeagu Graduate Council and other relevant bodies and also treat every member equal without sentiment.
He further charged that on no account should they allow the association to be politicalized.
Another staunch member, Hon Richard Idike described the election by which Chief Michael Mbam assumed the position of president as rigorous exercise in the sense that both the winner and his co-contestant, Chief Daniel Uzuka were popular candidates.
“On the first day of the election being Sunday 21st February 2021, both of them scored equal votes, during the second voting, they had equal scores.
“It was based on this development that we postponed the exercise till April 8th 2021, when Chief Mbam eventually emerged as the winner with a difference of three votes” he explained.
Concerning the significance of IIU to Igbeagu Community, Hon. Idike disclosed that the members have been supportive to the area both administratively and otherwise adding that the union equally is an advisory union to the traditional institution.
“I can recall that as Igbeagu is having crisis with our sister state Cross River through Ukelle Community, IIU members had assisted some internally displaced persons with relief materials and other related items.
“In every mater that concerns Igbeagu as a Community, IIU members normally make their contribution, though the union is not the authority of Igbeagu Community but the members usually assist in advising the traditional institution.
“Besides these, our members do bring idea to the area” he said.
In his piece of advice, he described the position as a big show and thereby charged the leaders to adjust their legs to match the footwear by performing their roles appropriately.
“Other people see Igbeagu as a role model because it is only in our community that Professor Emeritus and Professor (Mrs.) could be found as husband and wife.
“In Igbeagu Community, we have handful of other professors indicating that we have people who command influence among us.
“I am advising them to make us proud by ensuring that the association is taken to an enviable height” he said.
The incumbent president Chief Michael Mbam during his acceptance speech assured of all-inclusive – administration, prioritizing collective interest and sustaining cooperation among the members.
He further disclosed that they would work towards bringing permanent peace between Igbeagu and Ukelle people by attracting any relevant agency which would make a clear boundary demarcation in the area.
“We will ensure that other internal problems emanating from leadership commonly found in some villages are properly handled, we are still appealing to our youths to always engage themselves in legal activities as that will go a long way in sustaining peace in the Community” he said.
Chief Mbam expressed delight over both his victory and the conduct of the exercise and thereby appreciated the entire members over the intellectual maturity which they displayed during the election.
“The result of the first two votings can be described as No victory, No vanquish! but nevertheless, there was no rancor among the members.
“Even during the third voting, two months later through which I emerged the winner, my co-contestant, Chief Daniel Uzuka being a strong man filled with the spirit of sportsmanship, he admitted the defeat in good fate” he added.