The crisis over the title of Eze Ndigbo in Akure, Ondo state took a new turn as the paramount Deji of Akureland Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi said weekend that the title remained banned and that the removal of the title owner Gregory Iloehika stands.
Some concern Igbo leaders in Akure raised an alarm last week that the Oba was planning to install a rival Eze Ndigbo which may disrupt the existing peace between the Igbo community and the people of Akure, their host.
The Oba however insisted yesterday in a statement that the conferment of any honorary title on anyone (indigene and non-indigene) within Akure Kingdom, remains the sole right and prerogative of Oba Aladelusi.
It will be recalled that last year the Oba had a running battle with the owner of the title, Ileohika over alleged act of insubordination which eventually culminated to his removal and ban of the title.
In what looked like a hit back, the Oba was alleged to have agreed with some pockets of Igbo leaders to factionalized the group by raising a rival leader to cut Ileohika to size.
Although the statement issued yesterday by the Chief Press Secretary to the Oba Michael Adeyeye in Akure said the Oba had no intention to install a rival but in another breath said the Igbo is at liberty to present any leader to the Oba if they so desired.
According to the the statement “it remains within the purview of the Igbo community to choose its own leadership and it is at liberty to present a leader from among itself if it so desires
“It is important to reiterate that the title of Eze Ndigbo does not exist anywhere in Akure or Ondo state. Therefore, there could not have been any move to install anyone with such tittle.
“Hence, it remains a figment of the imagination and mere wishful thinking for anyone who claims such.
“An earlier act of insubordination to the Yoruba monarchy and culture by one Mr. Gregory Iloehika, has been deplored by all and sundry, in all its ramifications, as against the traditional norms and practice of the Yoruba people.
“This led to his removal and subsequent ban of the title of Eze Ndigbo in Akure Kingdom and the entire Ondo State.
“It remains a fact that the Deji & Paramount Ruler of Akure Kingdom, Oba Ogunlade Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi is a peace-loving monarch who sees all his subjects as one, irrespective of their religious or ethnic affinity.
” Oba Aladetoyinbo has, therefore, reaffirmed the ban on such title in Akure Kingdom and by extension, in Ondo State, as agreed on by the Ondo State Council of Traditional Rulers.
” For the benefit of doubt, Oba Aladetoyinbo has no intention to install any leader for the Igbo community as being speculated.
“However, it remains within the purview of the Igbo community to choose its own leadership and it is at liberty to present a Leader from among itself if it so desires.
“The palace will deal decisively with anyone trying to fan the ember of discord through this means, thereby creating unnecessary panic and misinformation in Akure and Ondo state at large.
The palace according to the Oba “wishes to state that it will continue to maintain peaceful cordial relationship between it and all non-indigenes resident in Akure. Vanguard