The bad blood between the Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello and the paramount ruler of Ebiraland appears to be spiralling out of control with an official query from the state government to the Ohinoyi oofthe land, Dr. Ado Ibrahim, for snubbing last December’s visit of President Muhammadu Buhari.
There has been no love lost between Bello and the Ohinoyi, and the cause of the feud between them is not exactly traceable to a singular event; but the octogenarian ruler of the Ebira people, easily the second ethnic nationality in Kogi State, was known, a few weeks before President Buhari’s visit, to have received and endorsed Mrs. Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, the Peoples Democratic Party senatorial candidate, a known political foe of the governor. Both Bello and Natasha are traditional subjects of Dr. Ibrahim, a multimillionaire businessman with fingers in many business pies.
Dr. Ibrahim is believed to have kept away from Buhari’s visit because the palace built for him and meant to be inaugurated as one of the legacy projects of Bello, did not have his blessing.
Curiously, it was at the Ohinoyi’s preferred palace, where he stays, that a bomb went off, hours before the President’s chopper landed in the ancient town.
Interpretations, some wild, have been given to the bomb blast which killed three persons and left several injured.
Anger is already growing in Okene over the query issued the ruler, because many say he was traumatised by the bomb blast in his compound. “Was he expected at his age after the traumatic experience to pick himself up and go to the presidential event? Even then at his age, it was gathered that he offered to attend the event, but was restrained by his security operatives. By the way, since the bomb blast has he visited the place and scene where his own people died? Has he commiserated with the old man?”, a resident asked.
In the government letter to the prominent first class traditional ruler, signed by Enimola Eniola, Director of Chieftaincy Affairs, the the state government accused the Ohinoyi of exhibiting deliberate attitude and actions capable of bringing “Kogi State and Ebira land in particular to grave disrepute”.
The letter reads: “It has been observed with serious concern that you have exhibited deliberate attitude and actions capable of bringing Kogi State and Ebira land in particular to grave disrepute. These actions are quite unbecoming of a revered Royal Father of your status.
“Specifically, you were aware through many fora of the glorious visit of Mr. President and Commander-in-Chief of Nigerian Armed Forces, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari to Okene on 29th December, 2022 to commission land mark projects executed by our dear Governor, His Excellency, Alh. Yahaya Bello.
“In a flagrant disregard to the persons and high offices of the President and the Governor, you bluntly refused to come out and receive the President at the designated venue rightly approved by the Executive Governor of the State.
“It might interest you to note that official courtesy demands that when a personality of a President occupying the highest office in the land is visiting or even passing through the State, the Governor and top public officers including topmost Traditional Rulers are expected to receive him as a mark of respect for him and the Office he occupies. It is on record that in time past, Topmost Traditional Rulers including the President, Kogi State Council of Chiefs do receive the Governor of the State on his return from critical missions undertaken on behalf of the State. But, you have chosen to disdain the office of the Executive Governor, and this time, you did it with effrontery before the number one citizen of Nigeria.
“This action of yours is an act of insubordination and disloyalty to the President and Commander-in-Chief of Nigerian Armed Forces, the Executive Governor of Kogi State and the entire Ebira nation as a whole. It portends grave danger to the Security of the State and laying bad precedence for Traditional Institution of the State.
“In view of the above, I have been directed to request you to forward a written explanation within 48 hours why disciplinary action should not be taken against you for these acts of insubordination and disloyalty. Oral explanations may be required from you when a panel is set up to study your case. It is expected that you will accord priority to the content of this letter.”