The face-off between the Kogi State Government and the Ohinoyi of Ebira land, Dr. Ado Ibrahim, has taken a bizarre dimension, with the government telling the octogenarian traditional ruler that it does not recognise the title Atta Ebira with which he signed off his response to the official query.
The government had queried the the royal father for absenting himself from the official visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Okene three weeks ago.
The government has asked him to resubmit his response with the appropriate title.
State Commissioner of Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs, Barr. Salami Deedat, gave the ruler 48 hours to re-submit, amid growing tension in Okene, the ancient heart land of Ebira people.
The government letter to Dr. Ibrahim reads: “I wish to refer to your letter Ref. No. ETC/CHI/35/VOL.II/33, dated 6th January, 2023, in respect of the above subject matter and to inform you that the said letter under reference, which ought to be your response to a letter of query was not conveyed with the appropriate title of your stool as recognized by the Kogi State Chieftaincy law 2006 and your letter of appointment.
“Your personal decision to use the title of Atta Ebira and not Ohinoyi of Ebiraland in your official communication is at variance with sections 19a, 27(2b), 33 and schedules II and V of Kogi State Chiefs (Appointment, Deposition and Establishment of Traditional Councils in Kogi State) Law, 2006 and your letter of appointment issued to you with Ref. No. GHLK/KGS/22 dated 2nd June, 1997. The title of Atta Ebira is alien to law and not recognized by Government. Therefore any correspondence with that title is unacceptable for official purpose.
“In view of the above, you are hereby requested to kindly re-submit your reply to the query with the appropriate title within 48hours to enable further necessary action to be taken.
“It is expected that Your Royal Majesty will respond accordingly, please.”
Below is a copy of the letter leaked to journalists:
Everyday.ng recalls that shortly after he became the Ohinoyi 26 years ago, the Ebira monarch had gone about with an insignia, even on his limousine that read Atta Ebira, but the people loudly frowned at it because it bore semblance to that of the Attah Igala, their eastern Igala neighbours. Many said it gave an impression he was a vassal to the Attah Igala, and also rubbed them of their unique identity.
At a point, it was resolved that he used the more tribal Ohinoyi Ebira, which his predecessor used, and was more acceptable to the people.
Below is the response by the Ohinoyi in which he signed off as Atta Ebira. His response was also leaked to journalists in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, last week:
Face-off: Kogi govt letter querying paramount ruler of Ebiraland angers residents
Ohinoyi of Ebiraland blames Kogi govt in reply to query over absence from President’s visit