In from Ahmed Boulor . . .
The crisis between the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi and the leader of the Igbo community, also referred to Eze Ndi Igbo, which means “king of the Igbo people” of Akure, Gregory Iloehike, has assumed another dimension with the Ondo monarch, banning the use of the title of ‘Eze Ndi Igbo’ in Akureland and ordered it should be replaced with an honorary title.
This ruling is one of the conditions which must be met before Igbo traders in the area would be allowed to continue doing businesses in the community.
The altercation between Oba Aladelusi and Iloehike prompted Igbo traders to shut down major markets in the town in order to forestall any spillover by the feuding parties.
Oba Adelusi also ordered that the Igbo leader should stop wearing any form of crown and must comply with all the directives of the palace.
The Deji of Akure also ordered the Igbo leader to write a letter of apology to the monarch and the Deji-in-Council, and apologise for his alleged unruly behaviour in at least three national dailies and broadcast stations.
In a bid to foster peace and settle the rift between both parties, the governor of Ondo, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko intervened in the face-off with a call on all non-indigenes in the state to respect the culture and tradition of host communities.
The governor who reportedly met with the two leaders separately on Tuesday evening at his office, pleaded with the Akure traditional ruler to forgive the embattled Igbo leader.
Governor Mimiko maintained at the meeting that the Igbo leader went against the tradition and custom of the land by challenging the authority of Oba Adelusi and that there was no constitutional basis for his behaviour.
He however, thanked the youths of the town, praising them for their maturity and peaceful disposition towards the matter.
The latest development follows a recent statement by Afenifere (a Yoruba socio-political group) denouncing what it described as an unrelenting desecration of Yoruba culture by the Igbo communities’ obsession with having a crowned king in Yoruba domains.
In the statement released last Friday, Afenifere informed that the title of Eze Ndigbo in Yorubaland is not backed by any customary law and is therefore considered alien.
“The evolution of this structure has forced us to consider it as an expansionist agenda as the structure is only rampant in Yorubaland,” said Kunle Famoriyo, its Publicity Secretary.
The Afenifere group said that its earlier communication to the Igbo leadership of the unacceptability of Igbo kings in Yoruba lands “fell on deaf ears”.
Read also: Marginalization: Ndigbo seek divine intervention
”In Akure, the ‘Eze’ believes he now has the power to invest people with chieftaincy titles that are traditional to Yoruba kingship system,” Mr. Famoriyo said.
“In Lagos State, there is an Eze Ndigbo of Lagos, as well as for each of the 57 local government areas. There are reports that we now even have Eze Ndigbo of some neighbourhoods in Lagos.
“What used to be mere development unions and associations of Igbo people living in Yorubaland. Almost all Igbo community with sizeable number of indigenes living in Yorubaland have a development union or association. These associations are welcome and supported, being organisations set up to discuss the welfare of their members.”
The group further stated that the idea of ‘Eze Ndigbo’ sprouting and spreading connotes territorial influence and even ownership.
“This practice has continued to stretch the tolerant nature of Yoruba people to the limit and it appears the eventual aim of its perpetrators is to stretch this beautiful culture of Yorubas to the breaking point,” said Mr. Famoriyo.
“This is something that Yoruba people living away from Yorubaland do not even think of, and we therefore see no reason why migrants living in Yorubaland should not know their boundaries.
“Consequently, ARG calls on all Yoruba traditional rulers and the executive heads of government at state and local levels governors to de-recognise all customary titles that are not backed by our customs, particularly those that they did not confer, and we enjoin those parading themselves as holders of such titles to drop them in the spirit of peaceful coexistence.
“It is globally accepted that there cannot be two kings in the same domain as there cannot be two captains in the same boat.”
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