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Obaro of Kabba: The choice and Okun people’s disposition

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Obaro of Kabba: The choice and Okun people’s disposition

By John Akubo

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State may have scored a political point on the recent appointment of a new Obaro of Kabba in the person of Solomon Owoniyi as it seemed to have recieved the Peoples approval going by previous experiences where violence characterized such appointment.
Majority of the ruling houses it was gathered were at home with the choice of Owoniyi, the retired customs officer as the new Obaro because of his wealth of experience as there were no reported cases of violence on account of his appointment.

The death on May 16 at the age of 71 years of late Obaro, Oba Michael Olobayo who was laid to rest on September 25th, 2016 created a vacuum that needed to be filled.
For almost two years the stool was vacant until recently when the Governor announced Owoniyi as the Obaro.
The homily of the Catholic Bishop of Lokoja diocese, Bishop Martin Olorunmolu at the burial / thanksgiving service of the late Obaro when he admonished the people to make the selection of the new Obaro a crisis –free one, to sustain the legacy of peaceful co-existence confirmed the fragile nature of the stool.

Hence it was with fanfare, pump and pageantry when the people of Kabba led by the speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly Kolawole Mathew trooped to Okene at the country home of Governor Bello on Sallah day to thank him for his choice that was devoid of violence among the people.
However, there was a discordant tune from Ilajo clan who produced the late Obaros in recent history of the Owe people as they rejected the choice of Owoniyi.
Their disagreement was contained in a statement that was signed by Chief Mark Olowosayo of the
Ajinuhi Ruling House, chief Stephen Ojo Bebeyi of the Ajibohokun Ruling House and Chief Paul Toluhi of the Mokelu Ruling House.
The Ilajo Royal Descendants of Kabba, the statement indicated is made up of the Mokelu, Ajinuhi and Ajibohokun Ruling Houses said they vehemently denounce, condemn and reject the choice of the said Chief Solomon Dele Owoniyi.
According to the Statement the newly appointed Obaro of Kabba is from the suburban village of Odolu which is a separate settlement outside Kabba with its own ruler, a Second Class Chief, as the Obaro and traditional ruler of Kabba.
“It is like a ruler of Agevba from Obehira, Olu of Ogori from Magongo, Ooni of Ife from Modakeke or Olu Adde from Egbeda-Egga.”
“We reject the choice of the said Owoniyi because it is not in consonance with the tradition and culture of Kabba/Oweland and it is an aberration in the Kabba/Oweland traditional setup and administration.
The statement described his appointment as an offensive embarrassment to the entire Okun traditional setup by making a commoner in Odolu the Head of Okun Traditional Council.
It reads, “When the late Chief Daniel O. Aka was wrongly and maliciously appointed as the Obaro of Kabba by the Northern Nigerian Chieftaincy Law (1960), the Ilajo Royal Family challenged the appointment and persisted until the title was restored to the Ilajo Royal Family by the Justice Sule Aremu Olagunju Tribunal of Inquiry.
“The tribunal affirmed the findings of other previous tribunals on the Obaro of Kabba issue and appointed His Royal Majesty Oba Michael F. S. Olobayo, Obaro Ero II to the throne of his forefathers in 1985.”
They further explained that the wrong appointment of Chief Daniel Aka who hailed from the Idogba family of Kabba and which made for political gains was challenged and opposed, because it was made from outside the traditional home of the throne and stool of the Obaro of Kabba which is in the Ilajo Royal Family.
“It must be clear therefore that this present appointment cannot pass without appropriate challenge. For even if we go by the Kogi State Edict No. 12 of 1995 which seeks to impose a new tradition/formula of rotation on the Stool of Obaro of Kabba, the said stool has only been taken away from Kabba and donated to Odolu as a bonus to that community leaving Kabba with nothing!
They called on the Government of Kogi State and the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello not to accept the temptation of playing politics with the sensitive traditional, cultural and spiritual sentiments and values of the people of Kabba and Oweland.
It avered that those who prompt Governor Yahaya Bello to take wrong steps and carry our wrong decisions, be they priests, bishops and business moguls, financial giants or, senior civil servants, have no roots to cherish, no traditions to preserve, no cultures to protect, no histories to admire and certainly no legacies to bequeath.
“They are nothing but wayward opportunists and despicable societal charlatans. We wish to stress firmly that chieftaincy is an issue and an element of history and not politics. To suggest therefore that because the Ilajo Royal Family is a “small percentage” and should hence be denied their divine inheritance is to commit racial murder and rob the entire Kabba/Oweland community of its generational essence.”
It likened the scenario to that of British royal family that nobody can attempt to stamp out their “numerical insignificant” to destroy the soul and the historical essence of Great Britain.
“We hope that the entire royalty in Nigeria will grasp the kernel of this press release and stand up to this affront by protecting its own kind, mindful of the saying that “what goes round comes round.”
They went further, to seek for an order of the Kogi State High Court to restrain the new Obaro from from parading himself as the Obaro of Kabba.
The court granted the order of interlocutory injunction restraining Chief Solomon Owoniyi from assuming the position.

It barred Owoniyi from doing anything relating to the position of the Obaro of Kabba pending the determination of the substansive motion.
The presiding Judge, Justice M. M. Gwatana ordered that the Kogi State government and the state chieftancy and Local Government Affairs that were joined in the suit refrain from taking further action to recognize Owoniyi or any other person, except from the Ilajo Royal family as a person that has the right to the chieftaincy of Obaro of Kabba pending the hearing and determination of the motion of notice.

The Ilajo Royal family had approached the court challenging Owoniyi’s appointment as the Obaro of Kabba on the ground that he is not a member of the royal family.

They sought that the court declare the Ilajo Royal family as the custodian of the chieftaincy stool and the only family that can occupy the revered stool.
They maintained that his appointment was politically motivated.
However, Governor Bello at the his country home during the ‘thank you visit’ vowed to appease the aggrieved persons as he declared that the court injunction had been vacated.
In his words, “By the special grace of God I am going to prevail and talk to those that are aggrieved to sheath their swords and I am confident that we shall resolve all the differences and work together as one big family.”
According to him, ‘About few days ago when I spoke with you and I learnt that there was a Court injunction, I did promise you to relax your mind that the injunction shall be vacated and it has been vacated, so go about as the Obaro of Kabba.
“Nothing good happens that some persons would not feel aggrieved one way or the other.
Bello said the emergence of the Obaro is God’s making, he is the choice of Almighty God.
“The people of Kabba and Owe Land decided to select from among themselves the righteous, the very noble and pious one. The very charisma man who is worthy to represent the people.
“You did the great job I thank you all. You have demonstrated that in Kabba, Owe Land, Okun land you have men of character and integrity. The man you chose is very hardworking and highly connected home and abroad.
He said the people’s choice had made his job very easy as all he needed to do was to assent and approve of their choice.
According to him, he learnt that the appointment and coronation of the former Obaro who joined his ancestors was characterized by a lot of violence.
“In this present administration, we follow due process, we.dont impose and it is through that process that the new Obaro emerged. We were not expecting anything less than the peace and joy that greeted his emergence. “Very soon the coronation would follow suit. In this Government we don’t condone violence from across the length and breadth of the State.”
He said all those with perchance for pepertrating violence, crime and criminality would face the full wrath of the law.
He commended the Okun people for maintaining orderliness, peace and tranquility in Kabba and Okun Land.
Bello indicated that to put matter to rest the date for the corronation of the new Obaro would take place on or before the second week of September. He promised to build a befitting palace for the Obaro.
“I am also aware that we don’t have a befitting palace for the Obaro, though we are facing a lot of hardship, I will leave that legacy behind.
“We would build a benefiting palace for the Obaro in Kabba so that when you receive visitors from home and abroad they would know that it is the traditional home of the Okun people.”
He urge the people to give him the necessary support, and prayers.
In his response the Obaro elect expressed gratitude to God who has made it possible.
“In our own part of Kabba we last tasted the Obaro stool 137 years ago so we thank God, we thank the Governor for doing the right thing, for following due process, for obeying the wish of God and what the community wanted.
“I feel elated that God has used me to take back our crown from where it has been for a long time illegally .”
About the Governors promise to bring the aggrieved party together he said they are all the same people.
“There are 13 clans and twelve of them endorsed me, the only dissenting clan would be brought on board.”
The Speaker, Mathew Kolawole explained that what informed my dicision to lead a delegation to Bello’s country home was to thank him for the good he did by appointing the new Obaro.
He said their joy stemmed from the fact that the appointment of a new Obaro is always characterized by violence leading to loss of lives but in the current situation the people were happy because they were at home with the choice.
“Since the people were peaceful moving about their businesses without rancor I felt it was necessary I led them to come and say thank you to the Governor.”
“As you can hear from the Governor, he has promised to invite the other group that were not at home with the choice to placate them and seek peace.
“He had sent me to invite them to see him some two weeks back but due to an emergency he traveled and it could not hold but as soon as the Sallah holiday is done with, he will invite them.”
He said, the Ilajo were prepared to come for the peace talks.
On whether the acceptance by the people of the choice of Obaro will translate to electoral fortune for the APC and the Governor he said surely it will boost the party’s chances as Kabba that used to be predominantly PDP before he defected would now embrace the APC from what has happened based on the emergence of the new Obaro being the choice of the choice of the people.
“APC will win with landslide. I can tell you from what I have heard and seen, the Governor’s election would be victory all the way as Kabba would be a no go area for any other candidate in the 2019 election. APC will lead.”

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Lawan sponsors 300 less privilleged couples in Yobe

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Lawan sponsors 300 less privilleged couples in Yobe 


President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has given helping hand to three hundred less privileged couples in Yobe North Senatorial District by footing the bills of their weddings.

The district comprises six Local Government Areas of Bade, Jakusko, Machina, Yusufari, Nguru and Karasuwa.

This was contained in a statement his special assistant (Press) Ezrel Tabio.
The statement indicated that the criteria for qualification for the gesture, is that the intending couples are those who are really of marriageable age but with nobody or means at all to finance their weddings.

He said the Senate President decided to foot the bills in response to the passionate appeal made to him by some parents during his previous visits to his constituents in Yobe North.

The wedding which is to be organized in three phases with strict adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols, commenced today in a first phase arrangement that witnessed the marriage of one hundred couples drawn from Bade and Jakusko Local Government Areas in Yobe State. 

The mass wedding which was flagged-off at the Bade Emirate on Saturday, had the intending couples joined as husband and wife, according to Islamic rites, in a ceremony that held at the Bade Central Mosque. 

One hundred couples from Nguru and Karasuwa Local Government Areas of the State are also expected to be wedded in the Second Phase of the mass wedding programme; while another hundred would be drawn from Machina and Yusufari Local Governments for the third phase plan, respectively. 

The dowries of the first one hundred couples were fully paid for by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, who is the Sarduana of Bade Emirate.

Furnitures and household items were also provided by the Senate President to the couples who were drawn from sixty wards within the six local government areas of Yobe North Senatorial District. 

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Ata Igala Suspends ICDA AGM, Dissolves BOT, NEC, endorses Caretaker Committee

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Ata Igala Suspends ICDA AGM, Dissolves BOT,  NEC, endorses Caretaker Committee

By Labaran Tijani, Lokoja.

The Ata Igala , His Royal Majesty, Dr Idakwo Ameh Oboni11 has dissolved the Board of Trustees (BOT) and the National Executive Council of the Igala Cultural Development Association (ICDA).

The Royal father also endorsed the newly constituted care taker committee to run the affairs of the Association.

In a statement signed by  Yunusa O. Idachaba,the secretary to His Royal Majesty on Friday in Idah which was made available to newsmen, the paramount ruler who is the custodian of Igala Culture said by the development, the AGM of the Association scheduled to hold on Saturday August 1 is suspended.

The statement indicated that the Royal Majesty having noted with dismay the recent events in the foremost Igala Socio- Cultural Organisation, the ICDA, and the array of its  activities, which he said have fall short of the age long aspirations of the Igala Kingdom”, as “a virus has crept into the organisation”.

In particular, the paramount ruler noted the wrangling between the BOT and NEC of the  ICDA over the proposed hosting of an Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Honours Award to some prominent Igala sons and daughters scheduled to hold in Anyigba  on Sunday.

“Based on the forgoing, His Royal Majesty has directed that both the NEC and BOT members currently serving in the Association are dissolved for peace to reign.

“Similarly, he has also directed postponement of the AGM till further notice as he endorsed newly constituted caretaker committee to run the affairs of the ICDA in the interim”, the statement indicated.

The Ata expressed the desire to see a united and progressive Association that will contribute to the unity and development of Igala Kingdom, Kogi State and Nigeria at large.

The chairman of the newly constituted national caretaker committee of ICDA,Chief Samuel Oyibo has appealed for understanding and cooperation by individual or group even as he admonished that they refrain from any action or utterances that smacks of disrespect to the public image of the Igala people or nation.

While he sympathised with the delegates from within and outside the state who turned up for the suspended AGM scheduled for Sunday August 1, he said the situation is highly regrettable, stressing that those affected should view it as collective but costly sacrifice for the redemption of the image of Igala people.

In a related development, the kogi state chapter of ICDA commended HRM for his prompt intervention at salvaging the association that is at verge of collapse.

In a statement signed by  Dcn Godwin Idakwo and Inah  H. Isaac, the chapter  pledged their loyalty;  and congratulated the constituted national caretaker committee, praying for wisdom and grace that will enable them to discharge their duty to the benefit of the Igala nation.
Also the Ojujuagbadufu Igala Forum on behalf of the Council and the entire members Congratulated the newly Constituted interim Caretaker Committee for ICDA National Executive Council.
This was contained in a congratulatory message by its President Ukwenya Christopher
“We thank his Royal Majesty for preserving and upholding the Cultural Heritage of the Igala Kingdom.
“We will give all our support to all that will help the Igala Kingdom to regain its Glory.
“We pray that God will give his wisdom to the New National Leadership of ICDA to lead the Association in the right direction.”

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ICDA President kicks as Board of Trustees dissolves EXCO, constitutes Care Taker Committee

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ICDA President kicks as Board of Trustees dissolves EXCO, constitutes Care Taker Committee 

The National President of the Igala Cultural Development Association ( ICDA) Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq Amodu has challenged the Board of trustees of the socio-cultural Association for arrogating to itself the power that the constitution did not confer on it.


The Board of Trustees of the ICDA had on Thursday dissolved the former National Executive Council led by Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq Amodu at Late Stephen Achema Sport complex in Idah.
The board immediately set up an interim body under the chairmanship of Chief Samuel Oyibo, the Odoma Achadu Ata Igala to run the affairs of the Apex social-culrural Association of  Igala nation.
In a swift reaction the embattled chairman said the Board of Trustees Chairman can not exercise an unconstitutional power over a properly constituted ICDA Executive

He challenged the acclaimed ICDA Board Chairman Simeon Oyigu to stop deceiving people.

According to him, “Any Association that is guided by constitutional provisions will not entertain Petty talks by known dubious and unproductive people.

“ICDA President challenged Mr. Simeon Oyigu to convince the public where he derived such power from to dissolved elected National Executive Council of ICDA.

Speaking on behalf of the Board of Trustees at the dissolution and innauguration ceremony, the chairman of the BOT, Dr Simeon Oyigun said the Sadiq Amodu led National Executive Council of the ICDA stands dissolved, because of lost of  confidence and deviation from cause  of Igala.
Other reasons for the sack he said is the conflict of interest between the executive council and the interest of Igala people.
He said the executive chairman has become involved in the body in politics, thereby using the association to feather his nest and exercising power beyond his constitutional role which has obviously ridiculed the much revered Ata Igala stool and the Igala kingdom.

Shedding more light, the board of trustees Secretary, Honorable David Ogwu said all efforts for the Sadiq led national executive council of the association to see reason and retreat from its unconstitutional behaviour and identify with Igala cause or interest which was the basis of the existence of ICDA failed.

According to Ogwu, ICDA was set up to promote the socio-cultural interest of Igala nation, so it remains the eyes of Igala people, and as such, history will not forgive them if they refused to take action, as the Sadiq led national executive council of the Association continued to drag the people of Igala nation in the mud because of his own  personal interest and that of his cohorts.

The BOT noted that it is alien and an embarrissement on Igala nation for the ICDA to involve itself on award giving venture which obviously better the interest of the executive members rather than promoting the people of Igala kingdom.

The ICDA Board Of Trustees therefore constitited a 20-member national caretaker committee to bring sanity to the body.

Their terms of reference include, to take charge of the affairs of ICDA in the best interest of Igala people; review and produce an acceptable constitutional bylaw that best serve the major policy thrust of  Igala people and nation; coordinate and reconcile all interest and opinions in the structure and stakeholders of ICDA; plan, organise and conduct election into the executive committee of ICDA as appropriate within 90 days (3months).

Also, the committee has been empowered to ensure it builds peace and harmony in the body, for the purpose of unity and progress in the Igala nation; undertake any other suitable activities that will serve the interest and objectives of the Igala land; including liasing with relevant stakeholders, traditional institutions and other affiliate socio- cultural groups, stakeholders and ICDA branches.

HRM Micheal Idakwo Oboni11,Ata Igala, received the newly constituted interim national working committee of the ICDA at his palace in Idah on Thursday, shortly after the body was inaugurated by the BOT of the Association.
The royal father enjoined them to be focus, consistent and loyal to the Igala cause.

HRM urged the Igala nation to collaborate with each other to develop Igala land, advising his subjects to evolve productive venture or idea  that will promote  the values of Igala nation, not hollow  project that has no bearing with the upliftment of the land.

He also challenged the people on the need for them to join hands together to see that Igala land receive the development it deserved. HRM charged the newly constituted care taker committee members of the Socio-cultural group to bring life to the association for the benefit of all in the Kingdom.

The inaugurated interim national caretaker committe members include: Chief Samuel Oyibo, chairman, Dr Cletus Arome, Sir S.Y Jibrin,  Barrister Williams Ameh, secretary, Col Sani Tahir (rtd), Col Obeche (rtd), Dr Yakubu Ugwolawo,Sir Tom Idakwo, Sir Jones Iduh, Barrister Williams Ameh,  Hon.Agnes Momoh, Hon. Agnes Adejo, Ambrose Akpah, Barrister Williams Ameh , Labaran Tijani, Hon Abdullazeez Idoko, Sir Tom Idakwo, Abdullahi Sekiru, Mr Godwin Idakwo, Arch.Justice  Akwu, Hon.M .M Ocheni, Isah Abuh.

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