To ensure harmonious co-existence between Igbo in Diaspora and their host communities as well as reduce the misunderstanding relating the use of Igbo words and culture, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has banned Igbo people from acting as traditional rulers outside Igboland.
They can function as cultural leaders but on no account should they use ‘His Royal Majesty, HRM, His Royal Highness, HRH or such other traditional rulers’ appellations.
These were part of the guidelines issued by the Ohanaeze Committee raised to investigate and provide guidelines for the installation of the Igbo Cultural Leaders outside Igboland. Chaired by Second Republic politician, Chief Guy Ikokwu with Chief John Uche as secretary, the committee, which was raised in May 2015, and the new guidelines were hammered out at a meeting held in Lagos on February 22 and 23, 2016.
The meeting, attended by various cultural leaders from Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, Republic of Benin and Ghana was presided over by the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Enwo Igariwey. In a joint statement, Ikokwu and Uche said the meeting came up with far reaching decisions on the issues.
The decisions include: ‘’No Igbo Cultural Leader in any local government area, State or community should be referred to as traditional ruler and none of them should as a prefix to their names use the words His Royal Majesty, His Royal Highness, or such other traditional ruler appellations. But any Ndi Igbo cultural leader anywhere in Diaspora can be made traditional ruler by the Government Traditional Council at the state or country in keeping with their custom and tradition with prior endorsement of the apex Ohanaeze body.
‘’A Council of Eze Ndi Igbo is now established for Lagos State, with a Council of 12 Eze Ndi Igbo from which council a Chairman of Eze Ndi Igbo Lagos State was chosen in the person of Eze H.N. Ohazuluike as chairman. Eze Ndi Igbo Eze Anthony Chigbo Elui was designated as Deputy Chairman, Eze Ndi Igbo John Nwosu designated Secretary, Eze Ndi Igbo Uche C. I. Dimgba as designated Treasurer, Eze Ndi Igbo Pat Eneh as Financial Secretary, Eze Ndi Igbo Christian U. Nwachukwu was designated as member of the committee.’’
The meeting also considered the regulations which will be adopted by Ohanaeze for the verification and certification of any Ndi Igbo cultural leaders in the Diaspora who want to be known as Eze Igbo (cultural leader) or Eze Udo (Peace maker).