- Urge Governor Bello to implement judgement granting Uhuodo separate Ohi stool
BY BRIGHT JACOB
Prominent indigenes of Ebira land in Kogi State have flayed their traditional ruler, the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Ado Ibrahim, for allegedly disrespecting the offices of President Muhammadu Buhari and Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, saying that monarchs must respect constituted authority and should not play God.
They alleged that the monarch had snubbed Buhari and Bello when the President visited Kogi State on Thursday December 29, 2022 to commission some landmark projects executed by the current administration in the state.
The indigenes noted with disappointment how the current Ohinoyi had allegedly consistently assumed the position of a “permanent antagonist” to the current government in the state by words and actions, stressing that the monarch had totally derailed from the purviews of the assigned roles of his office by taking sides in politics in his words and deeds, instead of being neutral and playing father to all as a traditional ruler.
They made their positions public in a statement on Monday, titled: “Ohinoyi’s Query Is Perfectly In Order”, co-signed by Isa Ozi Salami, OFR, Ohiotenyete of Ebiraland and President, Nigeria Institute for Industrial Security; and HRH Salihu Abdullahi, Ajimasi Idu Eyire Uhuapa Ebiya and Secretary, Ebira Peoples Human Rights Defence, Okene.
While throwing their full weight behind a recent query given to the Ebiraland monarch for allegedly disrespecting the offices of the President and the Governor, the Ebira leaders noted that “there has been no regime in Kogi State that has not queried Alhaji Ado”.
According to them, the monarch’s activities have allegedly been rubbishing the exalted throne, which he occupies, unlike his forebears who had conducted themselves with grace, honour and dignity deserving of the exalted office they occupied.
The indigenes said this just as they called on the current administration in the state to implement the court judgement granting Uhuodo community autonomy and entitling them to a separate Ohi stool in Okehi Local Government, while urging the government to make eligibility to the Ohinoyi stool exclusive to Ohis only.
They specifically described the traditional ruler’s action against President Buhari and Governor Bello as “untenably reprehensible, to say the least.”
The Ebira indigenes have therefore asked the Kogi State Government to take necessary actions against the monarch should he fail to respond to the official query issued to him within the stipulated period, saying the government must not allow its sanctity of authority to be violated in such a brazen manner without consequences.
“However, should the Ohinoyi refuse to answer the official query issued to him within the stipulated time frame, we call on the state government not to hesitate to do the needful promptly, following due process. Heavens will not fall.
“If nothing is done to redress this situation, it means Alhaji Ado Ibrahim is above everybody, including the Government. Today, none of our six Ohis finds his private house safe and conducive to attend meetings or functions, yet he is reluctant to shift venues for meetings to the ultra-modern Ohinoyi’s Palace. We have no dynasty in Ebiraland and can never accept an imposition,” they stated.
OHINOYI’S QUERY IS PERFECTLY IN ORDER
Our attention has been drawn to a recent query sent to the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Dr. Ado Ibrahim.
First, we want to state clearly that in situations such as this, facts and not sentiments should be the benchmark of interrogation. It is a known fact that a state government, through the office of the Commissioner for Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs regulates the activities of monarchs throughout Nigeria and the latter are subject to the authorities of government that they are expected to collaborate with to ensure peace and smooth running of the society.
Monarchs at all levels are expected to be politically neutral by playing father to all and are never expected to be partisan in all their activities. But this has not been the case with the current Ohinoyi. We have closely watched his conduct for some time now and discovered that he has totally derailed from the assigned roles of his office.
His activities have been rubbishing the exalted throne which he occupies unlike his forebears who had conducted themselves with grace, honor and dignity deserving of the exalted office they occupied. They not only adhered to laid down traditional and government rules formulated to guide their duties, they also refrained from playing to the gallery and they did not position themselves as opposition to the state government needlessly.
Awwal Ibrahim, former elected Civilian Governor of Niger State; now Emir of Suleja; Gen. Abu Ali, former Military Governor of Bauchi State, now Etsu Bassa-Nge; Gen. Sani Sami, one time military governor of Bauchi State, now Emir of Zuru; and Gen Bashar, one time military governor of defunct Gongola State, now Emir of Gwandu, are good examples of those who sit in their current revered stools with grace and comportment.
But the current Ohinoyi has consistently played needless politics with the revered stool and has assumed the position of a permanent antagonist to the current government in the state by words and actions, the latest of which was the unprecedented disrespect to a sitting President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, when he visited the state on Thursday December 29, 2022 to commission landmark projects.
This is more telling as one of the landmark projects to be commissioned was the new, ultramodern palace built for the Ohinoyi.
But the monarch decided to snub the President and his host, the governor of the state, Governor Yahaya Bello. This is in spite of the fact that the entire Ebiraland had tried to swallow the fact that he has been ruling, absurdly, from his private residence for years.
Worse still, he expected the President to come to him in his private residence, as some of his apologists have ignorantly posited. This argument has only worsened his case as an arrogant ruler with little or no respect for a sitting President, much less the Governor.
The Ohinoyi’s action was untenably reprehensible, to say the least. The Ohinoyi must realize that nobody, including a monarch, is indispensable. Actions such as this by a monarch of his status are capable of leading to unpredictable consequences that may affect the peace and security of the state as disgruntled elements can draw from this example to embark on thoughtlessly aggressive activities that may impact negatively on Ebiraland and the state at large. Anyone that the society looks up to for guidance cannot afford to bring the historic throne he occupies to disrepute.
No responsible government or governor can tolerate such irresponsible and awful misconduct from any monarch under any guise.
That is why we unequivocally and unwaveringly support the query issued to the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Dr. Ado Ibrahim. There has been no regime in Kogi State that has not queried Alhaji Ado. In the case of Governor Yahaya Bello, this is his second query.
We are currently conversing with all well-meaning sons and daughters of Ebiraland, both at home and in the Diaspora, and will come up with a wider communiqué on the ugly development soon.
However, should the Ohinoyi refuse to answer the official query issued to him within the stipulated time frame, we call on the state government not to hesitate to do the needful promptly, following due process. Heavens will not fall.
If nothing is done to redress this situation, it means Alhaji Ado Ibrahim is above everybody, including the Government. Today, none of our six Ohis finds his private house safe and conducive to attend meetings or functions, yet he is reluctant to shift venues for meetings to the ultra-modern Ohinoyi’s Palace. We have no dynasty in Ebiraland and can never accept an imposition.
The sanctity of government authority must never be allowed to be violated in such a brazen manner without consequences. Monarchs must stay within their assigned roles without endeavoring to play God with reckless impunity.
They are custodians of culture and societal values. They must not be the ones to destroy those same values without recourse. We stand firmly with the state government on this particular incident and the steps it has taken so far. And we have spoken the minds of most genuine sons and daughters of Ebiraland, who overwhelmingly stand with the state government on this.
We implore our dynamic governor to kindly implement the court judgement granting Uhuodo community autonomy and entitling them to a separate Ohi stool in Okehi Local Government.
The government should amend the law to make eligibility to the stool of Ohinoyi exclusive to Ohis only, to exclude money bags from capturing our stool again. The stool should never be available to the highest bidder while doggedly sticking to the existing rotation order.
Wherever any local government harbours more than one Ohi, the chairmanship of the local government traditional council should rotate every two years among the Ohis. This will underscore our belief that clans are equal.
A kingmakers committee should be created for the Ohinoyi stool, consisting of equal nominees of each Ohi’s kingmaker’s council.
This will make ascension simple, all embracing and credible by sanitising the process.
The Ohinoyi as father figure should only chair the Area Traditional Council and not any local government traditional council.
The ban on traditional festivals should be abrogated so that local governments can control them and earn revenue accordingly, making their peaceful observance easier to monitor.
1. Isa Ozi Salami, OFR
Ohiotenyete of Ebiraland & President, Nigeria Institute for Industrial Security.
2. HRH Salihu Abdullahi, Ajimasi Idu Eyire Uhuapa Ebiya & Secretary, Ebira Peoples Human Rights Defence, Okene.