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Traditional rulership and Igbo republicanism



HISTORY and developments revealed that Igbo race has from time immemorial, never been comfortable with literally worshipping human personage. In the hoary past, people grudgingly bow and kneel before kings due to the innate republican values.

 Consequently it was not surprising that in the 1940s, communities gradually eased off replacing their kings as they whole heartedly initiated “Town Development Unions”.

As Igbo are naturally emigrants, they ventured to the northern and western regions of Nigerian and formed Igbo Unions in the respective urban towns and metropolis. One could recall the famous developmental exploits of Igbo Union in Kano before the unfortunate Nigeria-Biafra war.

  To the chagrin of Igbo, the General Murtala Muhammed military regime in a bid to impose archaic and ultra-conservative values on the east of ethnic groups in Nigeria, compelled every community to install traditional ruler in line with what obtained in the northern part of the country. The internal revolt and smoldering discontent in Igbo land led to communal crises and endless litigations due to devious claims of hereditary kingship by certain kindred and villages, confirming a political scientist’s theory that “man is a political animal”.

  I was shocked to the marrow to see members of traditional ruler’s cabinet of an urban community in Anambra State bowing down and kneeling before the traditional ruler to usher a festival. It was to showcase the supposed “rich cultural heritage” of the urban community. The women contrary to cultural and religious norms, came to traditional ruler’s palace to present kola nuts without covering their heads.

  I felt sorry for some Igbo people who are still being enslaved by over ambitious traditional rulers in the feverish bid to showcase idolatrous and archaic traditions and customs even as they throw their weight about with scant regard for the rule of law and fundamental human rights of the people.

  It is improper for any traditional ruler in Igbo land to allow people to kneel down before them. Igbo are not Yoruba and Hause/Fulani races whose kings naively see themselves [and even their dressing] as powerful deities that take the glory of the creator even as they are the creature.

  A northern Muslim fiery cleric, Sheik Gumi, who granted interview with Sunday Sun, March 15, called for the abolition of traditional rulership because of the archaic posturing they brazenly exhibit. In the same edition, Raph Egbu, a columnist, equally called for the same measure since it is now out of sync with modernity and democratic institutions.

  The crises in many communities in Anambra State stem from a mixture of idolatry with Christian precepts. Consequently, some ‘money bags’ backed  by some “education miss roads” who are crazy with idolatrous practices in the name of being “our rich cultural heritage” sponsor crises against their traditional rulers who moderate the idolatrous and archaic burial and marriage ceremonies and festivals that bear close affinity with idolatry.

They claim that majority of the people want “real customs and traditions which were rooted in idolatrous practices of their forefathers.

  So in order to stop these primitive antics of some ambitious traditional rulers who delight in subjecting human beings in the 21st century to slavish public postures and conduct, traditional ruler-ship institution should be outrightly abolished in Igbo land to strengthen town development union.

Igbo people are republican by nature and never given to kneeling and bowing before human beings. Kings had long been abolished in Igbo land and democratic ethos nurtured where the leader of the community is elected for a specified period and quit.

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