A leadership crisis is brewing in the Ondo State chapter of the Igbo community over the use of ‘Eze Ndigbo’ title, as a group within the community, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said the title no longer exists in any area except in the South-East region.
This was contained in a statement issued and signed by its Secretary, Chief Ugo Okakof and Public Relations Officer (PRO), Chief Chuks Umeh.
The group said the authentic title of Igbo leaders outside Igboland is Onye Ndu Igbo, saying that any one who called or paraded himself as Eze Ndigbo had violated the February 20, 2008 resolution passed by the South-East Council of Traditional Rulers.
The group noted that the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi, who installed Chief Kingsley Chuckuma as the leader of Igbo in Ondo State, acted in accordance with the 2008 resolution.
It noted that “Oba Aladelusi has not committed any offence but only agreed to follow the proper procedure by recognising Chief Kingsley Chuckuma.”
The group said what the traditional ruler did was generally accepted by all Igbo residents in the state and national leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
The group condemned an attack on Deji of Akure over the installation of Chuckuma, saying “those sponsoring the attack are faceless and not member of Igbo community in Akure.”
The group said: “Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Ondo State, however, considers the story a deliberate and unconscionable attempt to desecrate the stool of the Deji of Akure kingdom by some unscrupulous individuals wearing the mask of an Igbo association.
“This is capable of causing disaffection between the peace-loving and decent Igbo people in the state and their host communities.”
But the Secretary of Igbo Community in the state, Chief Alloy Anolioyo, while reacting to the group’s statement, said “it is the duty of the Ndigbo to elect a leader for themselves and would not cede the duty to anybody else.”
Anolioyo said they would resist a situation where anybody would want to impose a leader on them, saying the leadership of Ndigbos in Akure, and Ondo State remained one.
According to him, the local governments are the primary units of Ohanaeze Ndigbo with headquarters in Akure. He said the person chosen by the Deji of Akure as leader cannot represent the Igbo community as he was not chosen from the local governments.
The secretary said the Igbo community had met with traditional chiefs in the town and had directed them to choose another title for their leader aside the title of Eze Ndigbo which they were ready to comply with.