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Governor fingered in alleged delisting of Ortom’s former commissioner in honour’s list

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Above; Och’Idoma; Below: Governor Hyacinth Alia.

Idomaland divided; Olofu’s role in finances of Benue queried

The Benue State government has been implicated in the removal of Mr. David Olofu from the list of prominent Idoma citizens slated for honours Saturday June 29, 2024.  The state’s chief executive officer, Fr. Hyacinth Alia, is believed to have a hand in the move.

The removal, it was gathered on Thursday, has sharply divided the Idoma people, across political and other lines. A committee is said to have been emplaced to study the situation and report to the king of the land, known as the Och’Idoma.

The king and prominent ruler of Idoma land, Och’Idoma, Agabaidu Elaigwu Odogbo Obagaji John, had included Olofu who served as finance commissioner in the administration of former governor Samuel Ortom, on a broad-based list of deserving honorees at the forthcoming event. Alia, a Catholic priest, and his deputy, Samuel Ode, are also on the list. Godwin Obla, reputed to be the first Senior Advocate of Nigeria, (SAN) from Idomaland, is equally on the 17-man list. The Idoma speaking people of about 3.5 million are found in Taraba, Cross Rivers, Enugu, Kogi, and Nasarawa States. 

The delisting of Olofu is said to be connected to the role he played as commissioner for finance in Ortom’s administration, where there are said to be gaps in the financial administration of the state’s resources.

David Olofu.

Alia is to be conferred with the title of Okamaleya K’Idoma, (the promise keeper of Idoma land); Ode will be invested with the  honour of Ebeneigbogwu K’Idoma. Obla is listed for investiture as Oyakwei K’Idoma, (the one who gets things done in Idomaland), while Olofu from Apa local government area, has been primed as Owo’Ichoha K’Idoma. Abba Adaudu, Francis Alochu, Nick Eworo, John Otse Aboh, Ameh Idoko, Bonny Apochi, Ojotu Ojema, Ogaji Bright Igodo, Paul Samuel Edeh, are some distinguished Idoma achievers penned down for the Saturday June 29, 2024 ceremony. Ujah Innocent, Ochacho Muhammad, Michael Oglegba, Lami Danladi, Patrick Agwo Olonta, also feature on the roster of honorees.

Elaigwu Odogbo Obagaji who was installed Och’Idoma in December 2021 by Ortom is a pastor of the Deeper Life Christian Ministry. The scheduled investiture is perhaps the Och’Idoma’s  biggest event yet, having deployed a high-powered committee to select worthy Idoma frontliners deserving of recognition.

While no official reason has been adduced for Olofu’s delisting, it may not be unconnected with his membership of the Ortom administration, for the latter’s straight eight year stint in office.

There has been no love lost between Alia and Ortom since the change of baton between both men in May 2023.

State government officials, believed to be acting on orders by Alia, started off last year impounding the vehicles of many Ortom associates who had been allocated the vehicles via a decision of the State Executive Council, (SEC) and who had paid for the vehicles.

Alia has also repeatedly promised to probe the Ortom government. He recently accused the preceding government among others of allegedly leaving a salary burden of over N350Billion for his administration to offset.

Alia’s alleged position in the Olofu matter has been very widely criticised by many political watchers. Many Olofu sympathisers wonder why he is being scapegoated just for being a top functionary in the Ortom dispensation.

“He couldn’t have appointed himself to the office, he actually set aside his thriving business concerns to oblige the call to serve. As the exchequer of the state, Olofu no doubt occupied an enviable position of responsibility. He was, however, never the chief executive of the state, nay the approving officer”, one such sympathiser wondered.

Recall that often, traditional rulers have been variously undermined over time by the overbearing over-lordship of many governors.

Yahaya Bello who is on the run from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), for the the alleged heist he committed as governor of Kogi State, disrespected the immediate past Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, the late nonagenarian Ado Ibrahim.

He embarrassed the now departed grandfather by issuing him a query. In Kano, there is a subsisting ding-dong between an Emir of Kano appointed by the governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf, in the person of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and the recently deposed Emir, Ado Bayero.

There have been recent murmurs about a plot to unsettle the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, the spiritual leader of Muslims in Nigeria who has been on the throne since 2006. The administration of governor Ahmad Aliyu Sokoto has debunked that rumour which gained rapid ascendancy in popular discourse.

The investitures fixed for Saturday June 29, 2024, in Idomaland, will proceed as scheduled, even as many people of Benue State remain confounded about the Olofu saga.

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