By Alaba Ajibade – The Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), a Yoruba socio-cultural group has urged Traditional rulers in Yorubaland to stop recognising the Eze Ndigbo title holders in their domain, warning that the obsession with having a crowned king in Yorubaland by the Igbos erodes the traditional institution and culture of the people of South West Nigeria .
The group directed all traditional institutions in Yoruba land to abrogate the Eze Ndigbo titles in their domains, reminding them that there could not be two kings in one kingdom.
The group’s Publicity Secretary, Kunle Famoriyo, said ARG’s position has been communicated to the Obas, adding that the situation is unacceptable.
The statement said just recent this anomalous situation still reared its ugly head again in Akure, the domain of one of the foremost Yoruba monarchs, the Deji of Akure.
In a statement released Weekend, Famoriyo said the title of Eze Ndigbo in Yorubaland is not backed by any customary law and is therefore considered alien.
According to ARG, “The evolution of this structure has forced us to consider it as an expansionist agenda as the structure is only rampant in Yorubaland,” the statement 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 organizations set up to discuss the welfare of their members,” the statement said.
“However, the manner this 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,” it added.
“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-recognize 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.