Friday, July 24, 2009 They came with a mission. And when they were leaving after 48 hours in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, the Chairman of the South-East Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Dr. Cletus Ikechukwu Ilomuanya (Obi of Obinugwu) and his team of traditional rulers accomplished their task and mission.
They did not only have the backing of both their fellow monarchs in the state, but that of the state government to stop further installation or parade of any Igbo as Eze Ndigbo within the state. The royal fathers also lamented what they described as the desecration of the Igbo culture and tradition by Eze Ndigbo titles holders across the country.
The joint meeting of the South-Eastern Traditional Rulers and their counterparts in the state was led by the Chairman of the State Council of Traditional ruler, Oba Sikiru Adetona, who is also the paramount ruler of Ijebuland.
Ilomuanya spoke against the backdrop of the councilâ€™s directives to state governments in the South West zone of the country that they should cease to recognize the title which had been a contentious issue in recent time. His words: â€œA major desecration of the culture and tradition of Igbos in Nigeria is the rampant and illegitimate installation of Eze Ndigbo (meaning King of Igbo) in foreign land.
â€œThese groups of people are also found in Ogun State of Nigeria. They are neither recognized by the people of their home towns nor their state governments. Furthermore, the crises of Igbo residing in non-Igbo states are facing today are mainly due to the struggle for the illegitimate Eze Ndigbo stoolâ€.
According to him: â€œThese people have been restrained by the entire South Eastern State Governments, the Ohaneze Ndigbo as well as the South East Council of Traditional Rulers. No Community or Kingdom ever has two parallel Traditional Rulers anywhere in the worldâ€
But in a swift reaction, the Eze-Ndigbo of Ogun State, Willy Okwonko Ejimukonye described as unfortunate the unruly behaviours of some Eze Ndigbo describing the group in Ogun as very peace-loving and law abiding.
â€œOur traditional rulers have spoken. Who am I to say otherwise, but I must let people know we as a group in Ogun are very organized. We love one another. We donâ€™t have to counter what our royal fathers have said. I can tell you that there is peace in Ogun State just as Igbos here are law abiding and will continue to do soâ€.
The South-East monarch who led a score of other traditional rulers across the zone said their action had also received the support of all the governors in the zone as well as members of the National Assembly that are from the zone and all well meaning Igbo sons and daughters.
Eze Ilumouyan said they were in the state to rub minds with the State Council of Obas on some key issues bordering on security and the protection of the Igwe title, saying those seeking for such titles outside Igboland were denigrating the Igbo culture and should be rebukedâ€.
However, the royal father at the meeting requested that more protection and care be given to the lives and properties of the Igbo people in the state
Meanwhile, the Ogun State Executive Council has backed the steps taken by the South East Council of Traditional Rulers to ban the conferment of traditional title of Igwe on any of Igbo sons in non -Ibo States of the Federation..
The government decision, according to the Press Officer to the Governor, Mr Kehinde Onasanya followed a joint communiquÃ© on the ban, signed by the Chairman of the South-East Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze(Dr) Cletus Ikechuckeu Ilumounyan and the Chairman of the Ogun State Traditional Council and the Awujale of Ijebu-land, Oba (Dr) Sikiru Kayode Adetona which was presented to the Governor at the Executive Council Chambers of his office.
Daniel described the visit of the over 20 Igbo Traditional rulers to the state as quite symbolic, saying it would further cement the bond of unity between the two geo-political regions of the country.
He assured that his government would do everything possible to sustain the handshake of fellowship, pointing out that â€œthe unity of the country was very essential for its progressâ€.
The governor said: â€œThe Igbo people can be described as the Jews of this world and they are great people, the Igbo people in Ogun State are truly at home and our government made history by appointing an Igbo man as Special Adviser and member of the cabinetâ€, he said