By Ogochukwu Anioke, Abakaliki
Crisis is brewing at Amasiri in Afikpo North Local Government of Ebonyi State, as the council Chairman, Obiageri Oko Enyim and her predecessor and elder brother, Ogbonnaya Oko Enyim, are fighting over the body of their father, who died last year.
The crisis has caused the resignation of Mr. Oko Enyim from the Governor David Umahi administration, whom he accused of supporting his sister on the issue.The two siblings, it was gathered, have fixed dates for the burial of their father, Simon Oko Enyim, who died in February last year at 85.
When their father died last year, Mr. Oko Enyim was the council chairman seeking re-election and had already secured the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP’s) ticket to run for the election.
His sister was not popular in the political circle in the state at that time, but in a twist of fate, the election was postponed indefinitely by the state government following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.By the time the election was rescheduled in August 2020, Ogbonnaya lost the seat to his half-sister, Obiageri. It was gathered that he was forced to step down and relinquish the ticket to the younger sister, who went on to win the poll.
To compensate Ogbonnaya, Governor Umahi appointed him as his Special Assistant on School Monitoring for Afikpo North Local Government.But last week, he resigned the appointment in a letter he wrote to the governor.
Umahi defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) late last year and some of his aides had resigned, citing their unwillingness to defect with him.
But Ogbonnaya’s letter was different from others, as it cited the governor’s interference in the burial, which should be a family matter, as the reason for his resignation.
He said Umahi’s current disposition towards him has made him to realise that he has no place any longer in his government.
But Governor Umahi, in a statement by his media aide, Francis Nwaze, denied the allegations of interference in the burial of Oko Enyim.
Obiageri, in a statement, exonerated the governor from the allegation.She accused her elder brother of deliberately frustrating the plan the family is making to bury their father this year.
The former council chairman fixed the burial of his father for April 8, while Obiageri scheduled the burial for May 8.
The controversy has led to tension in Oko Enyim’s family, Amasiri community, Afikpo North Local Government and Ebonyi State.
A burial announcement released by Oko Enyim said there would be traditional wake and cultural service of songs at the deceased’s country home, Uhu Oka Ihie, Opi autonomous community on April 7 (yesterday).
But Obiageri yesterday warned against the burial of their father on April 8 (today) and vowed that law enforcement agencies will arrest and prosecute anyone planning to cause breach of peace by organising any burial for their father on any date other than her chosen date.
Ogbonnaya, however, vowed that nothing would stop him from holding the burial today.