I sat down yesterday prior to writing this article reflecting on how past Kogi Central Leaders had fared during their reign and then critique Ebira Leaders in old Kwara State and the in the present Kogi State.
My first point of call was to review leadership of the former Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, late Onuroiza Atta and the circumstances surrounding his exist from the throne. His Royal Majesty, late Onuruoiza Atta was the biological father of the present Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, HRM Dr Ado Ibrahim. History has it that late Onuruoiza Atta was a focus and visionary leader who knows what was good for his society and always deplored every available resource to actualize it. His vision brought about improvement in the social amenities in Ebiraland. He was also instrumental to the rapid spread of western education in the present Kogi central senatorial district.
One thing led to the other, history account had it that the people then revolted against him and he was dethroned and excommunicated from the society. Thus, the very same person who was criminized and demonized in all angles, decades after, our present generation has come to the realization that he was a Leader of great repute and one who means well for the society in view of giant infrastructural development during his time which is still standing till date. We now confessed that we missed him.
I later x-rayed Ebira Leaders in the Old Kwara State. With the creation of Kwara State, the first civilian Governor happened to be an Ebiraman. The Governor then was Ahaji Adamu Atta who hails from Adavi Local Government in the present Kogi Central of Kogi State. Governor Adamu Atta ran a promising administration. During his time, he embarked on massive road construction in all the local governments in the old Kwara State then. His positive contribution in the educational sector was well felt as there were increase in the numbers of primary schools and secondary schools during his reign. Also his giant achievements in the health sector were very bold and glaring to the people even till date.
The School of Nursing Obangede, Specialist Hospital Obangede and others were built during his time. The rapid electrification of Towns and Villages in Kogi Central were also facilitated during his time. Sad to note, despite his numerous achievements in all angles, discerning politicians rose against him noting that they were being shortchanged and also complained of interest not well protected. In view of this, they constituted themselves as stumbling block to his second coming in office.
Governor Adamu Atta due to stiff opposition even from his home Town lost his seat for the second term in office. The same Governor Adamu Atta who was chastised for not doing well and was later voted out, decades after the present generation has come to testify that he had done very well during his time as his visible projects still standing till date.
On our sojourn to Kogi State, Ebira people were not so lucky in grabbing leadership position unlike when they were in old Kwara State. The first highest elective position we occupied in Kogi State was during the second coming of Late Prince Abubakar Audu where Patrick Adava was the Deputy Governor of the State. Despite holding this position, we considered the Deputy Governor as a spare tyre who has no political value or impact to Ebira kingdom. We hated him to level that his personal house was pull down during the political crises that engulfed Ebiraland following the newly created local government where our people frown at the numbers of local governments allotted to Kogi Central. Thus, the crisis was also triggered by the resolve of Audu’s administration to downgrade Obangede Specialist Hospital and his later decision to move the equipments therein to the newly built specialist hospital in Obonicha, his town Town in Kogi East.
After this, the Doctor Philip Salawu came as Deputy Governor of the State during Alhaji Ibrahim Idris’s tenure. Dr Philip Salawu made his little contribution. During his time, he facilitated the construction of Obeihira-Ihima-Ayire road, Ihima-Obangede road and Ihima-Ege road and others. He also ensured the completion of State-own hospital at Ohueta Ihima in Okehi local government and many others. Despite these, he was still declared bastard for being too submissive to the then Governor of the State, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris. Some of our people chastised him and accuse him of indulging in clannish divides and fueling Ihima community crises. The situation became so worst that he could not come home through Okene route but always opt for Obangede to Ihima road just to avoid harassment and molestation from the people. As the situation became so tenses, he rarely comes home at all and when he does, he comes during the night.
Here we are, the long dream of Ebira people producing the Governor of the State has come on the platter of gold. The very number one seat that the people of Kogi Central struggled and agitated for, we seems not to hold it with high esteem. We are presently playing politics with it and in all analyses; we seem not to be collective in our agenda. We are segregated as everyone pursuing their individual selfish interest.
Now that we have grabbed the power and luckily enough the State ruling party Chairman also from our side and instead of us to capitalize on it and consolidate our hold on to power for the next eight years, we seem not to be doing that. Rather, the State Party Chairman is championing those who want to root out our Governor from office. These elements in All Progressive Congress (APC) have constituted themselves as an opposition to our dream Governor. They now isolated themselves from the activities of our dream Governor and allow him to dance alone.
Very sad to note, these individuals have joined the vanguard of those calling our Governor arrogant and misfit to rule Kogi State. They parley with those ridiculing him in his policy direction. We forget to understand that even though Alhaji Yahaya Bello is the Governor of Kogi State, he is not all knowing as he needs our advice and encouragement to succeed. Many forget to know that he is not representing himself rather Ebira race. We forget that when the opposition finally succeeded in their agenda, it is not Alhaji Yahaya Bello who was defeated rather Ebira Kingdom. What is our plan B? I may ask. We are presently creating ground for history to repeat itself where our former Governor in the old Kwara State was ousted out of office after serving only one term in office. Late Adamu Atta lost at the election wouldn’t have happened if not because of stiff opposition even from his home town. Ebira people sacrificed number one seat for the second position then. Are we going to allow this to happen again only for us and the incoming generation to lament on our costly mistake? May God forbid? It is high time aggrieved parties on various sides settled their individual differences for the sake of Ebira kingdom.
Written by Shaibu Stephen Ojate, a Journalist and public affairs commentator