Chief Emmanuel Ezenwenyi has been stripped of the controversial title of Eze Ndigbo in Cross River state by the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Ugoji Nwabueze who doubles as the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Cross River on Non Indigene Affairs NEGROIDHAVEN can report authoritatively.
This development is coming on the hills of the recent stoking of the age-long controversy surrounding the status of Eze Ndigbo (King of Igbo) in Cross River which is already home to an indigenous eminent traditional institution, the Obong of Calabar as a prominent Nigerian businessman of the Igbo extraction, Dr Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma the founder and CEO of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing, during the 34th convocation of University of Calabar was led to visit Ezenwenyi as King in Cross River instead of the Efik eminent traditional stool, the Obong.
Uwabueze while announcing the dethronement of Ezenwenyi as Eze Ndigbo in the state observed in a press release dated 28th March 2021 that, ‘The error of issuance of the Certificate of the title of Eze Ndi Igbo by me is accordingly regretted and any one parading himself as such remains an impostor and should be treated so by relevant authorities, especially security agents.’ In an earlier paragraph, Nwabueze said that ‘The South East Traditional Rulers Council has now mandated me to officially withdraw the said-Certificate I had issued in error. It is obvious I don’t have the capacity to install any one as such since my root did not draw strength from royalty. Since I can’t give what I don’t have, the Certificate signed by me is hereby withdrawn accordingly as its issuance has continued to jeopardise the smooth relationship among Ndi Igbo in Cross River and the State Traditional Rulers Council.’
See press release below for full details on this development:
PRESS STATEMENT: WITHDRAWAL OF THE TITLE OF ‘EZE NDI IGBO” CROSS RIVER STATE BASED ON INSTRUCTIONS FROM SOUTH EAST TRADITIONAL RULERS COUNCIL
The South East Traditional Rulers Council, after their meeting in early October, 2018 re-stated that the “Eze Ndigbo” title had become a contentious issue among Ndigbo in diaspora.
Through a well circulated newspaper advertorials, particularly Sun Newspapers, the South East Traditional Rulers Council had banned the use of the title of “Eze Ndi Igbo” in diaspora by any one.
It described the said title as “impositotry, malicious, vexatious, offensive and insulting to the traditional rulers in South East and the host traditional institutions in the communities where such exist”.
The South-East monarchs wondered how any sane man will want to become Eze (king) in another man’s kingdom. The council then advised those desiring to be coronated as EZE or IGWE to go back to their respective communities in the south east and aspire to such office and get coronated there.
The decision was reaffirmed at the last meeting of South East Traditional Rulers Council held at Enugu in November, 2020. According to Vanguard newspapers of November, 25, page 26, titled “Igbo Monarchs battle Eze Igbo in diaspora”, it quoted the chairman of Abia State Traditional Rulers Council as saying that the EZE IGBO title in diaspora is against Igbo tradition and should be abolished.
Also, a prominent monarch in Enugu State and the Traditional ruler of Obimo Autonomous Community, Igwe Spencer Ugwueke, condemned in strong terms the conferment of Eze Igbo in diaspora on Igbo indigenes. He asked if any one had ever heard of an Hausa man crowned Emir in Igbo land or any Yoruba man answering Oba in any Igbo state.
The said newspaper report noted with dismay that in spite of the ban on the title, some persons were still parading themselves as such and asked such persons to stop forthwith as such conduct and title were embarrassing to South East Traditional Rulers Council.
And Cross River state is not an exception as the controversy over the title has created frosty relationship among Ndi Igbo and the traditional institution in Cross River for decades now.
It is on record that the Cross River State Traditional Rulers Council over the years have been consistent in the rejection of the title.
In 2004, when the idea of the said-title was muted, the then Obong of Calabar was so angry that those who ever thought of the idea were punished as he stripped two of them the title of, “Ada Ida ke” conferred on both some years back. The Obong’s Council described such title as grossly disrespectful to the traditional Institutions in the State.
On October 20, 2018 during the OHANAEZE IGBO DAY, CROSS RIVER STATE, the coronation of Eze Ndi Igbo (KING OF THE IGBO) came up again.
The Cross River State Traditional Rulers Council upon hearing about the coming event issued a Press Statement reiterating its earlier opposition to the title and coronation as it were over the years. In protest, all stayed away from the event. It was on the ground of the opposition that the coronation of the said- Eze Igbo was cancelled.
However, a group of self-serving cartel among Ndigbo in the state insisted I must proceed with issuance of certificate of coronation in my capacity as President of OHANAEZE CROSS RIVER STATE even when I drew their attention to the earlier ban on the title by the South East Traditional Rulers Council.
The certificate was subsequently issued by me at Boki under duress, outside the eagle eyes of the State Traditional Rulers Council.
The South East Traditional Rulers Council has now mandated me to officially withdraw the said-Certificate I had issued in error. It is obvious I don’t have the capacity to install any one as such since my root did not draw strength from royalty.
Since I can’t give what I don’t have, the Certificate signed by me is hereby withdrawn accordingly as its issuance has continued to jeopardise the smooth relationship among Ndi Igbo in Cross River and the State Traditional Rulers Council.
It is regrettable that one man’s interest has continued to militate against the majority and general interest of Ndi Igbo in Cross River.
As an appointee of the Governor, I have the mandate to do what is right and what will promote the interest and well being of Ndi Igbo in the state and restore the confidence among our host communities.
The error of issuance of the Certificate of the title of Eze Ndi Igbo by me is accordingly regretted and any one parading himself as such remains an impostor and should be treated so by relevant authorities, especially security agents.
The arrogance of the claimant to the office has got to crescendo as it grossly showed disrespect to Ndi Igbo and the host communities, as depicted in a COMMUNIQUE issued and dated March 20, 2021
The illegal meeting was allegedly held at ‘Obi EzeIgbo, (private home of Chief Emmanuel Ezenwenyi), the so-called EZEIGBO. Perhaps, “king” of the Igbo in Cross River is above the law and a non-respecter of instructions, lawful orders and constituted authority.
We, therefore, enjoin the general public to take note of the recent development within the Igbo Community while urging all our people to remain calm and go about their normal business and legally.
Ugoji Nwabueze, Esq.
SENIOR SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE GOVERNOR ON NON INDIGENE AFFAIRS (IGBO) AND PRESIDENT OF OHANAEZE NDI IGBO, CROSS RIVER STATE.
28th of March 2021.
Chairman, South East Traditional Council,
Chairman, Cross River State Traditional Rulers Council,
The Permanent Secretary/SSO
The Obong of Calabar,
The Ndidem of Oquas,
The Commissioner of Police,