Buhari: Ohinoyi tackles Kogi govt, accuses Governor of lying to President

ebb dr ibrahim ado ohinoyi ebira land
ebb dr ibrahim ado ohinoyi ebira land

By Richard Elesho

Top Kogi traditional ruler and Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Dr Ado Ibrahim, has accused Governor Yahaya Bello of lying that he was ill during the recent visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to the state on a working visit.

The traditional ruler also said the Governor, who he had not seen for some time now also asked a person he did not know to represent his and read out a welcome speech which was not sanctioned by him on his behalf during the visit.

The traditional ruler said this in a response to the query issued to him by the Kogi government over his non participation in activities that took place during the president’s visit to Kogi State.

Governor Yahaya Bello led Kogi state government had in th query accused Ohinoyi of refusal to come out to welcome the President to Okene for the project commissioning.

Kogi State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs had in the query dated Jan. 5 given the respected monarch 48-hour ultimatum to explain his refusal to join in the programmes of the visit.

But in his reply, the Ohinoyi described allegation that he deliberately refused to come out to welcome President Buhari during the visit to Okene to commission projects as very unfortunate” and “unfair to his ripe age and experience.”

Rather, the traditional ruler blamed lack of proper briefing and information from government as well as the bomb blast that claimed the lives of three persons near his palace in the morning of the day of the President’s visit for his absence from the ceremony.

The 94-year-old traditional ruler who ascended the throne in 1997, in the reply to the query dated 6th January claimed he was not invited for the programmes.

On the contrary, he explained that the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs told him a night before Buhari’s visit, that the President would come to the palace for homage.

Ohinoyi said based on the information from the Commissioner he hurriedly made arrangements for a befitting homage and stayed put in the Palace expecting the presidential team.

He also lamented that the Governor never wrote of enquire about the bomb blast near his palace that claimed three lives on the day of the visit.

He lamented that “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 rancour within my domain.

“Nevertheless, I will continue to reign over the good people of Ebira land with good conscience and conviction, as I have done throughout my reign.”

He therefore described the allegations against him as very unfortunate” and “unfair to his ripe age and experience.”

The reply by Ohinoyi read in part: “There was no official letter informing me about the visit of His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, Commander-In-Chief of Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria regarding his visit on the 29th of December, 2022, to commission legacy projects executed by His Excellency Alh. Yahaya Bello, the Executive Governor of Kogi State.

“It was only on the night of 28th of December, 2022, you visited me at about 9:30pm 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.

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“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 crowned 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 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 Ebira 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 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 the 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 2nd 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 in the world internationally.

“It is worth mentioning to enforce gratitude to His Excellency Alh. Yahaya Bello, the Executive Governor of Kogi State, who I have not seen for some time 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.”

The monarch further regretted that in spite of all these, and 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 rancour within my domain.

“Nevertheless, I will continue to reign over the good people of Ebira land with good conscience and conviction, as I have done throughout my reign.”

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