Disturbed by the increasing clashes and misgivings between traditional rulers and Eze Ndigbo in the South-West states of the country, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has set up a committee to mediate in the crises.
In a statement by Chief Guy Ike Ikokwu (Omenife), Solicitor and Grand Patron Ohanaeze, Lagos State, Ohanaeze described the Eze Ndigbo issue as ‘’a misnomer.”
The statement read in part: ‘’We have read the statement issued in the media by the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) with regard to the installation of “Eze Ndi-Igbo” in places outside Igboland such as Lagos, Akure, Oyo, Abuja etc. There is a so-called face off between the Deji of Akure, whom we hold in high esteem and the “Eze Ndigbo” in Akure and the Mojere marketers in Akure metropolis.
“We understand that the Commissioner of Police is looking into the matter as well as Governor Olusegun Mimiko. The Apex Igbo organization in Nigeria, the Ohaneze Ndigbo is appealing to all parties and stakeholders to remain calm and for a peaceful resolution of the matter.
“Igbo communities or town associations all over the country are very peace loving, and developmental in nature and cater for the welfare of their members and neighbours.
“The Ohanaeze and other Igbo stakeholders have a committee presently looking into the cultural and traditional issue of so-called nomenclatures of title holders in order to obviate any clash of culture or usurpation of any traditional values such as may be perceived in the Nigerian Diaspora. It is not coming up for the first time.
In some cultures they have leaders called ‘Seriki’ outside their domain. Igbo cultural leaders have no territorial control outside Igboland.
“The issues of their regulation are very close to being concluded and ratified by the Apex body Ohanaeze but it has to be emphatically said right now that no Igbo cultural leader outside Igboland can use or be invested with the title of “His Royal Majesty or Highness” or such accolades. Ohanaeze will definitely define their functions, modus operandi and nomenclature very soon. They are cultural leaders and not traditional kings or royalty outside Igboland. They are not political appointees!
“For the Food Sellers Associations, Cattle herdsmen, cow/sheep and Garki market associations, adire clothing fabricators, electronic market associations, yam traders, Balogun traders associations and such like trading associations, it is their civic right and liberty to elect their own leaders for their own development and progress and welfare, and marketing strategy.
“However the civic, legal and constitutional rights of Igbo and other Nigerians in this country must be respected and preserved for peaceful coexistence and development, justice and equity. So let there be peace and harmonious coexistence and relations, for us all to be our brothers keeper, for our mutual welfare and development.”