AN ADDRESS BY THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF EBIRA PEOPLE’S ASSOCIATION, DR ADEIZA MUSA ABDULRAHMAN ON THE OCASSION OF THE TURBANNING CEREMONY OF PRINCE (ALH) ATABA MOHAMMED SANNI OMOLORI AS THE CIROMA OF EBIRALAND BY THE OHINOYI OF EBIRALAND, HIS MAJESTY, ALH (DR) ADO IBRAHIM, CON, ON THE 7TH FEBRUARY, 2013 TAGGED ‘A TEMPLATE FOR ENDURING PEACE IN EBIRALAND’.
Let me begin this address by welcoming home all our sons and daughters, and most importantly, our non-native friends who are here to felicitate with us on our happiness of the moment. Many may have heard the name of this land but visiting here for their very first time. Ebira people welcome you today and assure you of our uncommon hospitality that would linger in memory for many years to treasure. Let me assure you that this land of hills and valleys whose name, Ebira, literally translates to virtue, is a land of hospitality, hard-working and strong-willed people. This hospitality I guess will be evident from the more than lavish entertainment that will ensue as an aftermath of this royal occasion. I pray the almighty God deliver our guests safely back to their destinations on completion of this occasion Amen.
Today’s occasion is a unique one in several ways. It is a celebration of the coming together of two groups or homes. These are the homes of the legendry late Alh. Ibrahim Onoruoiza Atta and the iconic late Alh Muhammad Sanni Omolori, both of blessed memories, that held sway in this land for more than half of its contemporary national life. Like in all dynamics of aristocracy, subtle mutual suspicion, royal vendetta, acrimonies of all shades culminating into a widening gulf between contending interest groups seeking higher nobilities, had in the past characterize the relationship between these two families. The identification of good virtues in a prince across a family boundary is a sign of gradual unification of the two families in pursuance of peace. It is a mark of rare courage and fairness on the giver (the monarch) and a key virtue of good sportsmanship on the part of the receiver in accepting the offer of a traditional title. It is a significant milestone in the sense that our divergent fingers are closing up into a fist that could only translate to a greater strength for our people. This celebration of today therefore, is not only for the singular reason of conferment of title but more for the consolidation of the prevailing peace and unity in the land. In fact it should be tagged appropriately as a coronation of the peace and unity of the land. I am quite hopeful that the peace initiative of the monarch would not be limited to this singular effort.
At this juncture, let me in strong term, on behalf of Ebira People’s Association appreciate the landmark effort of the initiator and purveyor of this peace mission, our exalted monarch, his Majesty, Alh (Dr), Ado Ibrahim, the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland. His majesty is gracious among all worthy men of the world, for, he passed and shone by the grace given to him by God. Viewed from his background, the Ebiras perceive him as a King from a successful royal lineage that is fortunate in life beyond measure. He is very wise and provident in counsel and he is well-learned and quick in comprehension. He is skilful in nature, elegant in speech, stern to the obstinate and calm to the humble. During his time on the throne, Ebira has been bruised in image with some pitfalls but also recorded some milestone successes. These successes include producing the Attorney–General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, our respected Alh . Mohammed Adoke, Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mr Austen Oniwon, Clerk of the House of representatives, Alh Ataba Muhammad Sani Omolori, President, Customary court, His Lordship, Justice Moses Bello, Chief Judge of Kogi State, His Lordship, Justice Nasiru Ajana, Leaders of Tertiary institutions and Federal agencies, Director of Armed Forces intelligence, Maj. Gen. S.Y. Audu, appointment of an Ebira as Sole Administrator of Ajaokuta steel company, Engr Joseph Isah, Appointment and upgrading of many Chiefs in Ebiraland, the proposed sitting of the Greenfield refinery in Ubogiri. We are happy that these great sons and daughters of our land in high positions are making the country proud in their assignments. Ladies and gentlemen, our Monarch, the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland is 84 years today. At 84, his Majesty has dwarfed virtually everyone of his generation. I pray and wish his Majesty many more years on earth.
Prince Ataba Mohammad Sanni omolori, the object of this gathering and the cynosure of all eyes today, is magnanimous and courageous above all the princes of our time. He is exalted, glorious and truly royal in spirit. He is neither dismayed at adversity nor puffed-up with prosperity. He wears a treasure of fame, a treasure of virtue and is always surrounded by men who are neither cowards nor weaklings but some of the finer picks of the land. Rather than being shamed in honor and arms, Ataba would rather die in defense of issues of the land. Ataba places reason above sentiments and believes that the price for peace is unquantifiable and limitless. He is very happy at this coronation because of the symbolic opportunity it offers for yet another peace in the land.
Today is a confluence day of these two great personalities, the monarch and the prince. It is the day when history is being made with the coronation of the prince Ataba as the Ciroma of Ebiraland by the Monarch. Ciroma in Ebira language will approximate to ANAYI-TURA. This title I believe can only be bestowed on a favored personality by a benevolent King. This is a reward for noble disposition, not brigandage and itinerant rascality. The Ciroma from today, has by this coronation become one of the revered Daudus of our land. E.P.A is happy to identify with this feat but quick to remind the Ciroma on the popular adage that “ To whom much is given, much is expected’’. We hope this coronation will afford the Prince the opportunity to mobilize all Ebiras of his status to come and build small-scale industries in the lands so as to offer employment to our teeming youths in other to mitigate the poverty crisis in the land. We are happy because we believe his Majesty in his royal wisdom has given the cap to the head that would best wear it. We can only naturally expect greater responsibility to the land from Ciroma on the premise that greater responsibility devolves on he who is bestowed with honor and recognition. We have no doubt that your conduct henceforth will represent only the finer virtues and values of our ancestors, our nobles and our great heritage.
The choice of Daudu Ataba has opened some veritable potential for hope, unity and peace of our land. It is a new chapter that must be embraced by all. It is hoped that various clans will sheathe their swords in the senseless fratricidal animosities that dot our political landscape, and embrace the present spirit of building peace across borders. Clan leaders and Chiefs should take a cue from the Monarch and embark on visitations and dialogue across their immediate borders to create peace and foster unity and understanding. It is only when you open up your borders to do this that you have truly answered to your God-given title as a leader. We also admonish all men of honor to banish all manner of mischief from their hearts and denounce a posture of “mutually assured destruction”. It is only when we have done this that we can clench our fists and collectively denounce our marginalization in the state, collectively agitate for the completion of Ajaokuta steel project and Itakpe Iron-ore plant and plead for the quick commencement of the Greenfield Refinery at Ubogiri. We have fought bitterly and come a little too late to realize the vainglorious consequence of self- destruct. We are all guilty and we need to reform and re-evaluate our hard stance on issues at least to ensure a good future for our children.
Since today is a celebration of aristocracy, let me at this juncture deliver the message of our people as suggestions on how to strengthen our traditional stool
A permanent king-making protocol and king makers’ structure should be established and enshrined so as to minimize rancor that usually ensue before and after the emergence of our rulers.
A register of all honored and turbaned personalities and their contribution to the land should be maintained at the palace of a reigning king. This will be a motivation for worthy emulation by future generations.
A calendar of yearly royal visitations of the monarch to the various districts be maintained. This will foster unity and strengthen the fatherhood of the reigning king over his kingdom.
Where strength and health permits, every turbaned personality should be implored to adopt a particular Community-based programme that is valuable to the community from their day of turbanning till the end of his\her life
A time-table of the forum of all turbaned personalities should be made so as to enable the forum meet, and have a periodic review of the situations in the land and give appropriate advice to the reigning king.
The principle and protocol of succession to the stool of Ohinoyi of Ebiraland is still like a pregnancy shrouded in secrecy. It is only when we discuss the burden openly that we can lessen the pain. Let us acquire knowledge of geology that could mitigate our future earthquake. It is our collective future that must be discussed and enshrined in our system now. We should no longer beckon to the future in a half-hazard way.
If the object of today’s event is to foster unity, his Majesty who is never known for half measures as could be glimpsed from the opulence and lavish beauty of his palace from where a strong fragrance of influence and affluence exudes, should by his royal grace extend his magnanimity to restoration to the fullest, the honors and dignity of the title to all those earlier de-robed by the palace. It is the view of EPA that the acrimony and recrimination emanating from that exercise should not be allowed to linger beyond our generation. A permanent structure of peace is needed and urgently too to minimize the pervading rancor and malcontent in our land and restore the confidence and hope of our children in their fatherland.
A compendium of the various titles and the hierarchy in the land should be made, harmonized, adopted and institutionalized, by the traditional council of the land so as to serve as object of healthy competition for children desiring such titles.
When I was asked to articulate these views by a cross section of Ebira people in my capacity as the President of their umbrella body, I felt I had been given a headache larger than my head and a burden bigger than my heart but to the Almighty God who created man and the jinns and sees their hearts, I believe I have delivered these messages with cautious and fair objectivity. My hope is that when these measures are implemented, they will go a long way in strengthening the ‘Ohinoyi stool’ and create a lasting peace.
The king, our king, the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Dr. Ado Ibrahim, C.O.N has blazed yet another trail by opening up this flank of peace by conferring the highest title in Chiefdom on this worthy son of Ebiraland, Prince (Alh) Ataba Omolori to whom I say big congratulation. To the Ohinoyi and Ciroma of Ebiraland, I pray Allah reward you both with peace in your hearts and peace in your homes amen.
Long live the king
Long live the prince, the Ciroma
Long live Ebiraland, Kogi state and Nigeria