The paramount King, Ohinoyi of Ebira land, Dr. Ado Ibrahim has responded to a query issued to him by the Kogi State Government, complaining about how he was kept in the dark and dribbled on the issues surrounding the official visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to his domain on December 29, 2022, to commission legacy projects of the State Governor, Yahaya Bello.
In a letter which was addressed to the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, reference ETC/CHI/35/VOL 11/33, date January 6 and signed by the Ohinoyi himself, he said that there was no official letter informing him about the visit of President Buhari on December 29, 2022, to commission the governor’s legacy projects.
“It was only on the night of 28 December, 2022, you (referring to the State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs) visited me at about 9.10pm and informed me that Mr. President would be coming to Okene the following day to commission some projects, and that I should stay back in my Palace while the President will be coming to pay me a courtesy visit upon his arrival.
“On the 29th of December, 2022 at about 8.15am, I received an unofficial copy of the visit programme of Mr. President and I noted that Mr. President was meant to commission the Ohinoyi’s Palace at 10.10am. This observation implied that Mr. President was to commission another Palace other than my current Palace that I have been occupying since I was coroneted in 1997.
“It is worthy to note that as the Paramount Ruler of Ebiraland, I have not been officially informed of the existence of any new Palace. I therefore prepared in compliance to your instruction to receive Mr. President as it is customary in our Tradition in our traditional institution and I quickly put together a memorium to present to him to appreciate his 2nd visit to Okene since 1985, when he was received by HRH, the Late Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Alh. Sanni Omolori. I made an enlarged photocopy of the photograph of the visit close to the chair which I provided during the visit as attached.
“I had just concluded the preparations to receive Mr. President when I heard an earth moving bomb blast at the rear entrance to my Palace, close to the new Mosque across the street at 9.00am. While I was in the Palace ensuring that the casualties of the unfortunate incident were being attended to, I was informed that Mr. President had concluded his programme and departed to Lokoja. I also discovered that the main wall of the entrance to my Palace had been breached and all entrances to the Palace had been barricaded to make access to and fro impossible. I have been kept in the dark from the reception arrangements and necessary entertainment to welcome Mr. President on his second visit to Okene, and from extolling the pleasure of my dear people to receive him.
“I am not, and have no intention to “exhibit deliberate attitude and actions regarded as bringing Kogi State and Ebiraland in particular to grave disrepute and regarded therefore as quite unbecoming of a revered Royal Father of my status.”
“All allegations referred to in your letter, especially paragraphs 3 and 4 are very unfortunate and I regard the same unfair to my ripe experience and age, coupled to my candid Royal dignity, accepted here and in the world internationally.
“It is worth mentioning to enforce gratitude to His Excellency, Alh. Yahaya Bello, the Executive Governor of Kogi State, who have not seen me for sometimes now, to have informed Mr. President that I was unavoidably absent due to my ill health at his grand reception, while on the other hand a person unknown to me represented me and read out a welcome speech to Mr. President on my behalf, which was not sanctioned by me.
“Finally, in spite of the aforementioned points, it is noteworthy that since the unfortunate incident on the 29th of December 2022, this letter of Query is the first communication, written or otherwise from any official of the State to me, without any commiserations or enquiries about the unfortunate bomb blast that led to the intended disruption of Mr. President’s programme, loss of lives of innocent Ebira people, massive damages on my Palace and rancor within my domain.
“Never the less, I will continue to reign over the good people of Ebira land with good conscience and conviction, as I have done throughout my reign.”
When contacted after receiving an image of the letter of Ohinoyi via Whatsapp platform, a senior title holder in the Ohinoyi’s Council, who would not like his name mentioned, said he would not release the letter to the press because it was strictly official.
When he was told that an image of the letter was already trending in social media, he expressed surprise, saying that the image of the letter did not emanate from the Palace.
The senior Traditional title holder later called to say that the stamp showing receipt of the letter by the office of the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs was different from the one on the letter the Ohinoyi sent to the Commissioner.