Association of South West Igbo Town Unions (ASWITU) has elected Prince Erondu Uche as its first president-general, while Nze Emeka Enwereonye, the former president of Ohanaeze South West won the post of secretary-general.
ASWITU is a combination of all Igbo town unions, village meetings and associations in the South West, making it the most populous Igbo group in Yorubaland. The body, which has been in existence before Nigeria’s independence in 1960, operated in segments and at different rural and urban settlements where the Igbo lived. ASWITU, which was formed in June 2021 by leaders of Igbo town unions in the South West, held its election on November 28, 2021, in Oyo State to elect its first executive officers.
Addressing the press after the election, Uche noted that Igbo town unions form the basis of unity among Ndigbo. “ASWITU is not a new association but is as old as Igbos living in Yoruba land. Ndigbo living in Yoruba land and in other regions have town unions, associations, village meetings, women and youth meetings through which they relate, mainly for welfare purposes. When you hear that Igbos are united, love themselves, support and protect each other, it is the work of town unions. Some village meetings have many members and some have few, but the interesting thing is that everybody is known to his or her compound in the village”.
Prince Erondu debunked the rumor making round that Igbos are not united, stating that it is Politicians who disagree amongst themselves. “ Those who believe that Igbos are not united are wrong. It is only politicians who disagree amongst themselves like their counterparts around the world. Don’t rate Igbos based on the performance of politicians, just like every other tribe. Igbos are united. Igbos love and help themselves. It is only Igbos who lock their shops and businesses at different locations because of the death of an Igbo man or woman, and in most cases, attendance of such burial is made compulsory. Igbos train and empower themselves. In our village meetings, monetary contributions are made and given to members to boast their businesses.
The arrest of one Igbo man can cripple the business activities of a town, I have seen where Igbos locked their businesses in protest against unfair treatment given to a fellow Igbo man. You see, what they do is when they want to deny us our right as Igbos, they say they are not united. How do you expect politicians dragging once position to be united? How do you expect everybody to step down for one person? have you seen such in tribe? Don’t allow them to deceive you, Igbos are united. No matter how rich, no Igbo can say that he or she has hosted any party or event alone without the assistance of others. These assistance come whether you request for help or not”.
Reacting to his emergence as the Secretary General of ASWITU, Nze Emeka Enwereonye the former President of Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo Oyo state and Ohanaze Ndi-Igbo Southwest was full of thanks for the honour given to him to serve Ndigbo once again. He expressed his gratitude to the leaders of various unions for supporting the amalgamation of the various town unions into one regional body. “I wish to appreciate you, great Igbo leaders seated here today, your willingness and support for unity and progress is the reason we have Association of Southwest Igbo Town Unions (ASWITU) today. I am giving you the assurance that this executive will through your unalloyed support live up to expectation.
ASWITU is made up of all Igbo town unions, village meetings, associations, women and youth meetings in Ondo, Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti and Osun States. The body also holds local government and state meetings in all the member states.