From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Ondo State has kicked against the alleged imposition of Mr Titus Umenweke as the Asiwaju of Igbo community in the state by the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade.
Igbo people under the aegis of Association of Ndieze in Diaspora, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, have alleged that Oba Ogunlade appointed Umenweke as the head of Igbo community in the state in contravention of the laid down rules guiding Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
In a statement jointly signed Chief Cyril Anyaku, Onowu of Ndigbo, and Chief Ikechukwu Anoliefo, Secretary of the association, the group rejected the allleged imposition.
The organisation urged the monarch to withdraw the chieftaincy title, warning that it could strain the existing peaceful co-existence among the Igbo and the Yoruba people in the state.
According to the statement, ‘the Deji of Akure allegedly imposed and installed one Mr Titus Umenweke as the Asiwaju of Igbo in the state after he had lost out in a peaceful election conducted by the association.
‘This same Umenweke contested with Eze Gregory Iloherika, the current Ndigbo and lost. Since 2011 he has not attended any Igbo meeting in Ondo State.
‘Our constitution provides election for the leadership of Eze Ndigbo and the constitutional provisions were followed to the letter in the election of Iloherika. Eze Gregory Iloherika enjoys the support of the entire Igbos in Ondo State and he should be allowed to be.
‘It is, therefore, strange and unacceptable that Deji would impose a leader on us. The imposition of someone who contested and lost election can cause rift and destroy the relationship between Igbo and Yoruba in the state. This is a time-bomb that will do no one good,’ the group stated.
The group said the local ruler should allow them choose their leader just like other ethnic associations had done in the town.
‘According to the rules guiding Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the installation and removal could only be carried out by the people as stated in relevant sections of the rules and regulations guiding the Ohanaeze (Igbo Community) in Ondo State,’ it added.