Piqued by a statement credited to the Iwo monarch in Osun State, the Oluwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi, that the Igbo race cannot be trusted with power, the highest Igbo socio-cultural group, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has cautioned the traditional ruler to caution his tongue.
Describing the statement as hate speech, the Ohanaeze advised Oba Akanbi to learn from experienced traditional rulers in the country on how to act with civility.
Ohanaeze in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alex Ogbonnia, made released in Owerri, Imo State, remarked that Oluwo’s remark that “Igbos cannot be trusted with power” came in bad faith.
“The attention of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has been drawn to a comment by the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi to the effect that the Igbo cannot be entrusted with the office of the Nigerian presidency.
“The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide led by Ambassador Professor George Obiozor is a civilized cultural organisation and by its prospectus, Ohanaeze has a profound respect for the culture and traditional rulers.
“We will therefore restrain from hoisting the monarch with his own petard, rather we advise that he should undergo some tutelage under some more experienced cosmopolitan urbane intelligent monarchs such as his neighbour, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the Oni of Ife.
“This is because it is self-evident that Nigeria is a beleaguered country that urgently needs nation-building; inflammatory and incendiary remarks from monarchs and the highly placed are antithetical to peace and unity of Nigeria. One of the qualities of a well-adjusted traditional ruler is to be open-minded towards all, especially people of other ethnic groups that may be found in his domain.
“One of the reasons the traditional rulers are insulated from partisan politics is to avoid an overdrive or the kind of overzealousness exhibited by Oba Akanbi to retire a gift from his candidate for the presidency in 2023. In promoting his preferred candidate, he has committed a fallacy of hasty generalization when he stated that ‘the style by south easterners is barbaric’; the Igbo cannot be trusted with power, etc.
“Surely, such prejudice, innuendo and vitriolic group vilifications against the entire Igbo nation is most unreflective of a royal father whose primary duty is to sow seeds of unity in his kingdom and beyond.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Igbo are adventurous nation builders; they are found in all parts of Nigeria and beyond. They make friends easily and also feel at home with their children in all parts of the world. Records across the world indicate that the Igbo are branded in Midas touch.
“They quickly learn the language and culture of the host community with a view to contribute-economic growth of the community. The people of other ethnic groups that had their National Service in Igbo Land can always attest to the Igbo friendliness and hospitality during their service years; some ended up marrying Igbo,” the Ohanaeze clarified.