Alhaji, Barrister, Prince Muhammed Ataba Sani-Omolori, Clerk of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was turbaned as Ciroma of Ebiraland by the Ohinoyi (paramount ruler) of Ebiraland, His Royal Majesty, Alhaji, Dr. Prince Ado Ibrahim, on February 9th 2013. The Ciroma, bestriding the traditional institution into which he was born, stepped out that day in royal splendor to receive the crown, amidst pomp and pageantry.
To mark his first year as Ciroma, Prince Muhammed Ataba shared his thoughts on how it has all been so far, to an international online news medium, Greenbarge Reporters at www.greenbreporters.com. He makes it clear that the burden he is carrying, of ensuring the totality of the forward march of Ebiraland towards an Eldorado, designed and packed by him, in the name of Allah (SWT), is heavy, but none-negotiable.
Here is the excerpt:
It is just a year since you were crowned as Ciroma of Ebiraland, how has it been all this while?
Alhamdulillahi! I can only give praise to Almighty Allah for bestowing on me, the privilege of being in a circumstance as to be conferred with such a title which gives me the urge to do more in furthering the cause of the Ebira people and nation.
What significant change has happened to your person and or personality as Ciroma in the past one year?
As far as I see it, being conferred with the title of Ciroma is a clear gesture of the love and confidence of the Ebira people in me. This past year has strengthened the consciousness in me to speak, act, support and promote all that concern Anebira, both at home, at the federal level and even internationally. It has made me very happy indeed, as I am sure that Anebira can only continue to make progress, be stronger as a people and be able to present the much needed united front, which, by the grace of Allah, we have been working tirelessly to institutionalize.
When crowning you last year, the Ohinoyi of Ebira land, Alhaji Dr. Ado Ibrahim was emphatic that the Ciroma title placed a heavier responsibility on you more than anyone might think, how heavy is such responsibility?
Oh! Very heavy: in fact, beyond your imagination. Within the context of my birth, my office and then the title, also considering the wisdom and foresight of HRM, the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland-when I weigh all these, I cannot but have an immutable resolve to do my best…not to talk of the level of expectations. The determination not to disappoint becomes even stronger and immeasurable. So, you can imagine the weight of responsibility. You stand firmly and act officially as a representative of the Ebira people and on behalf of the Ohinoyi, to champion the cause and case of Ebiraland and people at diverse forums and platforms, to bring about progress, growth, national recognition, peace, stability and unity. These tasks demand my constant attention, sensitiveness and rapid response at the shortest notice whenever the call to duty arises.
There is also the angle of the perception of the people, who, because hitherto, we have been around them, now even feel more at peace with us because you are now their Ciroma-so, all sorts of demands come to me on daily basis and one has to manage them, no matter how weighty they may seem, but Almighty Allah (SWT) who gave us these responsibilities, is helping us to manage them in conformity with His injunctions.
Governor Wada Ibrahim of Kogi state also thrust a challenge on you to use the opportunity to bring about peace in Ebira land and unity in the state as a whole, how far have you gone in this regard and how far can you go in the years ahead?
We have worked with all interest groups to lay aside grievances of any kind and forge a united front to embrace our brotherhood, to stand as one and to leave a legacy for our children and generations yet unborn.
Governor Wada’s challenge came to me as a welcome one, which I embraced and ran with. Though, it is too early for us to begin to clap for ourselves, but collective efforts over the past year have significantly reduced the rates of violence, disagreements or even confrontations, apart from the expected bickering every once in a while, which of course, is normal occurrences among any group of people, and even in families, but, Insha Allah, we will continue to work hard and pray to recover the past glory of love, peace and harmonious co-existence that our people were known for.
By what clearly has been a divine design, peace has reigned since becoming Ciroma of Ebiraland, what deliberate effort are you personally doing to ensure improved and sustained peace in the land?
It has taken the favour of Almighty Allah and the collective efforts of all interest groups with whom we have met at different occasions to chart a progressive course, and we are going to continuously work to sustain this very progressive direction that we have embraced.
There is no doubt that you have a package for the development of Ebiraland in your own way, would you like to share it with us?
Anyone that knows me well will tell you that I have a deep and profound love for my people. To see Anebira unified as one indivisible people, with an unshakable front is, for me, the bedrock upon which any meaningful development can be sustained.
My vision is to continue to assist in promoting education and health, generate poverty alleviation programmes and projects that will empower the average Ebira man on the street, so as to restore his self-worth, dignity and firm confidence in himself, as well as his responsibilities. I believe strongly that it is only when we are able to have this kind of security and spirit that we can proudly count ourselves as a force to be reckoned with. I am highly committed to this ideal and will not relent in my effort, for, as long as Allah permits me. Some practical details are being worked out to ensure the attainment of our vision and mission, and will be unfolded in the months ahead.
In fact, where is the Ciroma title leading you?
No human being can confidently tell you that he or she knows where he or she is headed. Today, I am the Ciroma of Ebiraland and Clerk of the Nigeria House of Representatives. My prayer is for Allah to grant me the much needed wisdom and guidance to carry out my present roles and duties in absolute and unshakable loyalty to HRH, Alhaji Dr. Ado Ibrahim, the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, as well as serve our people as best as I can and leave tomorrow to Almighty Allah!
Which do you prefer: traditional or political leadership?
(Laughs)…the answer is obvious. I am not a politician and have never nursed the ambition of becoming one, Insha Allah. I am a public servant whom Allah granted the privilege to be born in the family I was born into. By the fact of my birth and placing in life, I believe my role is already defined. We all cannot be (political) players; there must be umpires. It is greed, which is a factor that kills when any human being is not contented with, or does not realize where he should be. Do you imagine that I go into political contest with any Anebira today? (laughs). No! I am in the tradition and will remain there!
What word of advice do you have for Ebira politicians, youth and elders?
To put Allah first in all they do and to always remember that they serve a larger community rather than themselves. That they are first of all, Ebiras and whatever they do will reflect on all of us as a people. And I have said severally, please do your duties and roles without minding whether others do theirs or not.
As an Ebira man, a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, an uncle, an aunt, a brother, a sister etc…do your duties and play these roles well to the best of your ability and if others do theirs well too, the community will be the better for it.
Where do you want Ebira to be in terms of development in the next decade?
I want to see Ebira as a people that are a force to be reckoned with in the affairs of this nation called Nigeria; I want to see Ebira people that are respected worldwide and whose ways of doing things resonates in the true meaning of that word “EBIRA” which means CHARACTER-Good character.