Following a recent squabble between Akure youths and the Eze Ndigbo in the Ondo state capital over an alleged insult to the Deji of Akure, the Afenifere Renewal Group has said that the evolution of the Igbo king in Yorubaland is considered to be an expansionist agenda by the south easterners residing in the state.
Deji of Akure
The Yoruba socio-political group in a statement on Friday, October 16, denounced what it described as an unrelenting desecration of Yoruba culture by the Igbo communities’ obsession with having a crowned king in Yoruba domains.
Speaking through its publicity secretary, Kunle Famoriyo, the group said that the title of Eze Ndigbo in Yorubaland is not backed by any customary law and is therefore considered alien.
Famoriyo said: “In Akure, the ‘Eze’ believes he now has the power to invest people with chieftaincy titles that are traditional to Yoruba kingship system.
“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 were 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 idea of ‘Eze Ndigbo’ sprouted and started 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.
“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.”
The group stressed that it is globally accepted that there cannot be two kings in the same domain as there cannot be two captains in the same boat.
However, the group had made this position after Gregory Iloehike, the Eze Ndigbo in Akure, reportedly had a clash with the youths for allegedly being rude to Aladelusi Aladetoyinbo, the Deji of Akure.
The youths were furious over the manner the Eze Ndigbo of Akure, Gregory Iloehike, allegedly addressed the Deji in his palace when he (Iloehike) was invited.
Reports disclosed that the monarch had been upset over the instatement of an Igbo as a chairman of a market in Akure noting that it was a taboo for an Igbo man to rule over a market in the Ondo state capital.