Yoruba group, the Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG, has condemned what it described as an unrelenting desecration of Yoruba culture by the obsession of Igbo communities in having a crowned king in Yoruba domains.
The socio-political group, in a statement issued on Friday, asserted that the title of Eze Ndigbo in Yorubaland is not backed by any customary law and should, therefore, be considered alien.
The ARG is speaking days after there was a report of 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 group’s Publicity Secretary, Kunle Famoriyo, said: “The evolution of this structure has forced us to consider it as an expansionist agenda as the structure is only rampant in Yorubaland.”
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 development unions and associations of Igbo people living in Yorubaland. Almost all Igbo community with a sizeable number of indigenes residing in Yorubaland has 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 extend this beautiful culture of Yorubas to the breaking point,” said Mr. Famoriyo.
“This is something that Yoruba people who are residing away from Yorubaland do not even think of, and we, therefore, see no reason migrants living in Yorubaland should not know their boundaries.”