Why Ohanaeze Must Ban Eze Ndigbo Title Outside Igboland

National Summit of Ndigbo in Northern NigeriaThe Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress in Lagos State, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, has joined the call for the abolition of the Eze Ndigbo title outside Igbo land.

The Lagos APC spokesman said the craze for title by Igbo indigenes outside their states of origin was making a mockery of the Igbo tradition and culture.

Igbokwe, who said this in an article titled, ‘Eze Ndigbo title outside Igboland: A needless distraction’, on Sunday, advised the Ohaneze Ndigbo to end the embarrassment caused by the Ndigbo title by issuing a policy paper that compels the Igbo to abide by it.

He said it was unfortunate that politicians outside Igbo land exploit the Eze Ndigbo to their own advantage, especially to win elections.

He said, “A situation where drug kingpins, armed robbers, kidnappers, failed businessmen hide under the Eze Ndigbo title to continue to embarrass us calls for immediate attention and concrete actions. We cannot continue to pretend that all is well when these pretenders sow seeds of discord between our people and the host communities.

“We need to have the courage to do away with this dangerous trend which tends to cause disaffection between us and the host communities across Nigeria. Let us abolish this Eze Ndigbo title outside Igboland for peace to reign”.

Mr. Igbokwe’s statement follows the development in Ondo State, where the Deji of Akure, Oba Kole Aladetoyinbo, banned the Eze Ndigbo title in his domain after a disagreement with the holder of the title in Akure, Gregory Iloehike.

According to Igbokwe, the Deji of Akure and other Yoruba rulers see the holders of the Eze Ndigbo title as a threat to their sovereignty due to the way they “carry themselves about with noise and arrogance”.

Igbokwe said most of the Eze Ndigbo title holders were common traders who needed political power to raise their status both at home and outside Igbo land even as he said some of them were failed businessmen seeking to earn a living and political and economic patronage.

He said, “I suggest that Igbo leaders, especially the Ohaneze Ndigbo, move into action now and stop this nonsense forever. We must produce a paper on it and compel our people to abide by it.

“We must do the needful before it gets out of hand. Our people must care about the feelings of other Nigerians outside Igbo land where they do businesses and must be told in the strongest terms to respect the rules of engagement and rules of business anywhere they are.

“This craze for titles outside Igbo land is making a mockery of our tradition, culture and cherished ideals”.

7 COMMENTS

  1. THE EZENDIGBO OUTSIDE IGBOLAND SHOULD NOT BE POLITICIZED. WE HAVE THE SERIKI OF HAUSAS OUTSIDE HAUSALAND AND WE HAVE THE OBA OF YORUBAS OUTSIDE YORUBALAND. WHY SHOULDN’T NDIGBO HAVE THEIR EZES OUTSIDE IGBOLAND? THE TRUTH IS THAT EVERYTHING ABOUT NDIGBO IS OFTEN SENSITIZED AND BLOWN OUT OF PROPORTION. WHAT WE SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT IS HARMONIZATION OF THE EZENDIGBO TITLE AND STOP THE PROLIFERATION AND BASTERDIZATION OF THE TITLE. THERE SHOULD BE ONLY ONE EZENDIGBO IN EVERY STATE OF NIGERIA OUTSIDE IGBOLAND AND IN OTHER COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD WHERE NDIGBO RESIDE, NO MORE NO LESS. IF WE WANT TO BE SINCERE TO OURSELVES, WE IGBOS ARE LIVING WITH OUR PROBLEMS. EVEN THE OHANAEZE NDIGBO BEING MENTIONED IS COMPLETELY POLARIZED AND NEEDS TO BE TOTALLY OVERHAULED. EVERYBODY IS AFTER MONEY AND IF YOU DON’T HAVE YOUR MONEY, WHETHER YOU ARE STANDING ON THE PART OF THE TRUTH OR YOU SEE WHAT IS GOING WRONG AND WANTS TO DRAW THE ATTENTION OF OHANAEZE TO IT, NOBODY WILL LISTEN TO YOU. THIS IS THE CLEAR REASON WHY YOU SEE MONEY BAGS AND OTHER IGBO BIG WIGS WHO DON’T HAVE ANY CREDIT ATTACHED TO THEIR NAMES OCCUPYING THE TITLE TO SHIELD THEIR DIRTY WAYS OF LIFE. EZENDIGBO TITLE SHOULD BE RESERVED FOR MEN OF HIGH INTEGRITY AND NOT FOR SALE TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER. THE PRESENT OHANAEZE LEADERSHIP IS VERY MUCH GUILTY OF THIS AND SHOULD BE SANITIZED TO REPRESENT THE TRUE LEADERSHIP OF NDIGBO.

  2. Joe Igbokwe is a sold Sheep and never at any time protecting the interest of his own Tribe. What do u expect from such a hungry beggar like him who will always want to entice his paymasters. During the period Igbos were deported from Lagos. This lost Sheep keep making careless statements against the Igbos. useless man

  3. Joe Igbokwe, u are the biggest fool on earth. Imbecile, ewu-mpi, ajonwa si owelle ba nneya afo. Anumpam. God will punish ur rotten mouth.

  4. Joe Igbokwe alias saboteur is not in any sound mind nor position to advise or contribute on any issue concerning the Igbos. I even wonder why he is calling on ohaneze while he never believed on ohaneze, I thought he goes to afenifere meetings why bother about how Igbos conduct their affairs.In any case, I trust that with time that issue would be resolved, surely Igbos can have Eze Ndi Igbo in states same way hausa have their seriki.The Enugu Seriki is a close friend of my father for all the time he was alive, I don’t know how yorubas operate theirs but nothing is wrong in having a unifying Eze Ndi Igbo in states or even towns but it should be restricted to some areas and supervised by the council of Ezes/Igwes/traditional rulers from the Igboland.

  5. I disagree with Joe Igbokwe on his conclusions. There are two different issues at play here and his failure to separate them will also lend anyone else to draw similar conclusions. The majority of Igbo citizens in other parts of Nigeria are predominantly traders and unskilled workers with minimal or no education at all. Their wealth or livelihood is acquired by apprenticeship or the wheeling and dealing in goods and services to their host communities. I do agree that we need to curd the natural tendency that is human nature that empty vessels will make the loudest noise. What we see is a human reaction that when you achieve beyond even your own potentials and imaginations, you tend to blow the trumpet a little too loudly to alert the neighbors that you have arrived … Most of us become flamboyant and also want to display a trophy … a big car, a big house and yes, our favorite trophy; a chieftancy title.

    Like everyone else, I am disgusted with the trophy displays but it is a mistake to jump from this disgrace and call for a ban on the age-long tradition of Eze Igbo. You have heard that “Igbo enweghi Eze” which is usually misinterpreted. This phrase originally and should continue to mean our cherished democratic process of debates and decision making where no one, including the Eze can impose his will on another. But the Igbos love and cherish their traditional Rulers, elders and titled men. The Nze and Ozo’s are also highly regarded as custodians of our great traditions and way of life. To deny our brothers in far away land the opportunity and ability to crown their Eze is tantamount to denying them the God given right in self determination and governance. One could argue that they need the protection and conflict resolution powers endowed in that Office more than anyone else. A few recent examples are the incidence of the Oba of Lagos threatening to drown all Igbos in the lagoon unless they vote his candidate of choice. We all saw the Eze Igbos champion the resolution of that untamed hatred that would have consumed Igbos in Lagos. The recent decree by Oba of Akure disbanding the Eze Igbo there tells me the process of self governance and Unity of purpose generated by a visible Ruler of a large group of people is highly effective. Agreed, this may be a direct threat to the Obas portfolio but the Eze Igbos position is to checkmate onerous impositions on just this one group of people. There should be no clashes of interests unless the host communities are requiring of the Igbos processes and compliances that affect their dignity or livelihood. History has shown that Igbos will do over and above even host citizens in developing, protecting and improving the places where they live and work.

    The task is to figure out how Igbos can better elect honorable men to lead them. I will even concede that these Eze’s should not be offering Chieftancy titles and the like. In fact, my strict opinion is that the award of any chieftancy should be the exclusive reserve of the Eze in the immediate community of origin of all Igbos. The current practice that allow anyone to go to the chief in another clan or kingdom and buy a title for any reason should be dishonored. I personally do not revere any title that is not awarded by your own kinsmen, your Home Eze. They should know you better than anyone else. If we do this alone, we will stop the current masquerading of so many unmerited Chief this; Chief that; Double Chief this … etc. With time, our brothers will figure out ‘Onye wu onye’ and only allow people the honor of Eze Igbo purely on account of their services and dedication to their community. They deserve an effort in self governance like everyone else. Like everywhere else, it is not a perfect science. Just because the process is not perfect does not mean we should do away with it; nor can we. Everyone or group is entitled to their own system of governance. Let’s not forget that your government is a direct mirror of who you are. The Igbos, Nigerians and indeed all people should always strive for better governance. The problem is always with us, not those in power. When we demand for better, our government will get there with us or become irrelevant. We should make things better, not discard them because it does not meet our standards. Imposing a standard from afar is a disservice. We ought to help make the process work better for them and all of us.

    Charles Abiahu.

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