by Ben Ezeamalu
A Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere Renewal Group, has denounced what it described as an unrelenting desecration of Yoruba culture by the Igbo communities’ obsession with having a crowned king in Yoruba domains.
In a statement on Friday, the group said 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 group’s position came days after a reported bickering between Aladelusi Aladetoyinbo, the Deji of Akure, and Gregory Iloehike, Eze Ndigbo in Akure, following claims of a plan by the former to dethrone the latter.
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”.
“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 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 group further stated that 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,” 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.”