Obi of Obinugwu in Orlu LGA of Imo State and Chairman of South East Council of Traditional Rulers, HRM, Eze (Dr.) Cletus Ilomuanya, has strongly condemned what he termed “the continuous desecration of Igbo Culture, customs and values by the Imo State government”. Contending that the rate of desecration is alarming, he insisted that traditional rulers in the Igbo land and Ohaneze Ndigbo should completely condemn “the unrelentless abomination and debasement of Igbo culture with impunity in Imo State to save our culture from going into extinction or being ridiculed”.
In statement signed by Kennedy Eweama, media consultant to the monarch, Eze Ilomuanya was reacting to the recent conferment of another Chieftaincy title on the Liberian President, Mrs. Ellen Sieriff Johnson by the Imo State Government. According to the monarch”, it is an aberration in Igbo culture to confer chieftaincy title at about 11pm at night. It is never done. Only initiations into clandestine or cult groups are done at that time of the night”.
He regretted that in recent times, Imo State has constantly made a mockery of Igbo culture and traditional institution, pointing out that unless those knowledgeable on Igbo culture and the consequences of their desecration speak out, such an ugly trend might continue. “A few weeks back, it was Jacob Zuma and today, it’s the Librarian woman. Who even chose the bogus titles being conferred on them? What have they done to deserve the titles when Igbos and Nigerians are dying everyday in South African and Liberia? He queried.
Eze Ilomuanya argued that the visit of these Presidents to Imo State only creates the impression that Nigeria is now running a confederal system of government with Imo as an independent State within the confederation. “As far as I am concerned, these visits are for personal gains and have no socio-cultural or economic benefit or relevance of Imo people. Instead, our culture has become a foot-mat for foreigners to match on and trivialize. Imo has obviously become an independent component state within Nigeria. The whole thing is exasperating,” the monarch lamented.
The Obinugwu monarch, who is also Chancellor of Federal University, Birnin Kebbi, called on Ohanaeze Ndigbo, traditional rulers and well meaning Igbo leaders, to intervene in this matter to avoid portraying Igbo culture as being worthless, noting that Igbos are respected all over the world. “Culture is a symbol of our identity. If it is debased, desecrated and extinction, then we have also lost our identity as a people and therefore irrelevant too, he warned.