Open Letter To Governor Usman Ododo On Deliberate Denigration Of Ata Igala At Swearing-In Ceremony
Alhaji Ahmed Usman Ododo
Governor, Kogi State
Dear Mr. Governor,
We write on behalf of the entire Igala race, the 9th largest ethnic Nationality in Nigeria which is spread across five states of the Nigerian Federation as well as those in the diaspora that your deliberate, callous and insensitive denigration of our paramount ruler, the Ata’Igala during your inauguration on 27 January 2024 ,is abhorrent, despicable and absolutely unacceptable to the Igala Nation.
It is apparent to all discerning minds that you came to your inauguration with a well scripted agenda to rubbish the Igala monarch, His Royal Majesty, Alaji Mathew Opaluwa Oguche Akpa II. It was interesting listening to your prepared speech and note that what you did was deliberate. You mischievously acknowledged a Vice Chairman without acknowledging the Chairman? The Ata’Igala is the Chairman of Kogi State Council of Chiefs. He is the King of all the Kings in Kogi State. You “forgot” to acknowledge him but hailed your newly installed ethnic paramount ruler who was barely a week on the throne and acknowledged visiting traditional rulers and lesser Chiefs.
After committing your deliberate protocol blunder, you offered a feeble apology which is no apology at all. Your charade smacks of infantile disorder.
In addition the insignia of ATA-Igala on Gabaidu’s official vehicle was removed at the scene of the inauguration by some misguided miscreants when a patriotic Kogite recovered it. How come was it that it is only Gabaidu’s vehicle that was singled out to be vandalized? What type of security was in place in that arena?
We also note sadly and unfortunately just 4 days after your Inauguration, that you have continued with the charade of the former administration by witch-huning two more first class traditional rulers from Kogi East who were summoned to appear before a panel set up by your new government in Lokoja on Tuesday ,30th January 2024. The panel questioned them about their alleged partisanship which made you to loose the 11 November election in their domains. Was it only in Kogi East that you lost? Have you not elected and sworn into power as Governor? Do traditional rulers have powers to make their subjects vote in a particular direction?
For someone whose ascendancy to power is still in dispute in the law court of competent jurisdiction and whose position is shaky, one expected that a sensible person would have gone all the way to build bridges across all divides and try to pacify frayed nerves. But no, you are persisting in the polarization of the state along ethnic lines as scripted for you by your outgone badly behaved mentor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello. Even if Bello had instructed you to disrespect the Igala people, having been sworn in, you hold the aces and would have used the golden opportunity to warm yourself into the hearts of all and sundry. But you goofed big time on your grandest stage ever. Mr Governor our honest advice to you at this stage is be your own man . Ignore the divisive behavior of Yahaya Bello who has left Kogi State more divided than he met it. We also seize this opportunity to advise that you should overhaul the state civil service for efficient service delivery. How did the protocol staff sit Ata-Igala as the last person by the wall without visibility? While lesser Chiefs were in front. How come Ata-Igala arrive long before Ohinohi of Ebira? How would you feel if you had arrived at that occasion before the Deputy Governor?
We want to state for the purpose of reminder and posterity that no human can denigrate the Igala people. No human can conquer us. No one can diminish us. No one can dampen our spirits. We remain the largest ethnic group in Kogi State by divine purpose and arrangement. The Igalas still constitute over 50% of the state in population and land mass and there is nothing anybody can do about it. We will therefore not tolerate any disrespect from any quarter and anyone against us as a people and certainly not against our paramount ruler, the Ata’Igala, one of the oldest monarchies in Nigeria. As you saw during the 11 November 2023 election which you now know, when the Igala people make up their minds to do a thing, they will go all the way out to do it. Do not test the will of a united people or take us for granted. That the election which produced you as governor was fraudulently procured and still a subject of litigation should humble you to seek public acceptability and seek peace with all sections of the state as a way of opening a new vista of administration in the State.
Having said the above, we urge you to offer an appropriate apology to the Igala Nation and the Ata’Igala for this gross and deliberate disrespect. Nothing short of this would be acceptable to us.
Elder David Abutu, National Leader.
Dr. Sebastine Abu, National Secretary.