Pomp, pageantry and conviviality was the signature description when one of the youngest appointees in President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, Dr Sanusi Ohiare, Executive Director of the Rural Electrification Fund of the Nigeria Rural Electrification Agency stormed Okpo in Olamaboro Local Government Area of Kogi State where he joined others who were conferred with traditional titles by the Council’s traditional institution.
The ceremonial square of Okpo which was the venue of the occasion witnessed a convergence of beauty, class and royalty. Led by the Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Chief Edward David Onoja, dignitaries stood in awe of the coming together of the Igala and Ebira tribes in harmony with common destiny. A feat once considered a rarity if not an impossible venture.
Dr Sanusi Ohiare was conferred with the traditional title of ‘Akiliwo Ejeh’ meaning (The Strength of the King) – a honour fetched him by his unquenchable quest to provide respite to hard to reach and underserved rural communities with electricity. The Ejeh of Olamaboro, His Royal Highness, Ujah Simeon Sani described Sanusi’s ascendancy to the Olamaboro traditional status as akin to a child washing his hands clean and of course, his feast will be with the elders. Sanusi, he said was eminently qualified to be the Akiliwo of Ejeh – a honour reserved for those who make the plight of others their occupation.
Very significant of the ceremony was the collapse of mutual tribal distrust between the two tribes of Ebira and Igala who hitherto saw themselves over the years as perceived political rivals. In deconstruing that, the Ejeh Olamaboro in furtherance of the state push of tribal unification codenamed ‘EBIGO’ decided to make reality the philosophy of breaking perceived barriers between the two giant tribes.
In response, Dr Sanusi Ohiare who literarily brought the ‘Who is Who in Ebiraland’ to Igalaland described the event thus;
‘Nothing gladdens the heart than the assemblage of people defined by common aspirations and purpose. When the EBIGO slogan was muted, it didn’t carry that manifest meaning until this very moment when it is now practically demonstrated – if not for the ingenuity of the present government led by the able white lion His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello and his Omamaya twin brother, Chief Edward David Onoja who would have to imagine the fusion of such cultural identities today? It’s legendary to see the collapse of cultural peculiarities into one common destiny – the flag of love and unity. In the heart of Igala civilization, an Ebira and Okun sons are honoured along with other Igala illustrious sons, – far away from their homes. This is not just a demonstration of love but also the demystification of the age-long unfounded mistrusts amongst the tribes of Kogi. This rare display by the Olamaboro Traditional Council chaperoned by the visionary insight of His Royal Highness, the Ejeh of Olamaboro and it has proven that thou tongues may differ but in unity, we thrive’.
Adding further, Chief Sanusi stressed the significance of the title thus;
“These titles conferred on us – in reality, transcends us, it’s a message to the world that a new kogi is here; a land where peace shall define our lives and mutuality shall be our creed. A new kogi people united by one common spirit, goal and aspiration, driven both by a sense of personal vision and collective realization; a state where no man or woman will ever go to sleep without food to eat, without shelter over the head and cover over the body; a state where no child or mother will ever be left to die without adequate life saving medical support; a state where no youth is ever abandoned to his faith without opportunity to realize his or her destiny; a place where every man and woman irrespective of tribe, language or religion have a right to dream, aspire and excel without limit’.
Kogi State Deputy Governor, Chief (Dr.) Edward Onoja used the occasion to extol traditional rulers across the State for their roles as custodians of the people’s culture and stakeholders of Community Development.
Other personalities conferred with titles were Pharm. Alexander Onoja as ‘Eyo Eju’ Ejeh Olamaboro, Mal. Usman Mohammed Kabir as ‘Ochai Ejeh Olamaboro’, Dr. Kashim Akoh as ‘O’challa Ejeh Olamaboro’, SP.Mathias Abah as ‘Oga Onu Ejeh Olamaboro’ and Alh. Momoh Isah as ‘Okakwu Ejeh Olamaboro’.
Others were Mr. Sunday Umoru as ‘Adoja Ejeh Olamaboro’ and Mr. Bolufemi Rotimi as ‘Olimene Ejeh Olamaboro’.
In attendance were Member representing Ankpa, Omala and Olamaboro Federal Constituency, Member, KSHA representing Olamaboro State Constituency, Deputy Speaker, KSHA and his colleagues, former APC National Woman Leader, former Assembly Member Representing Igalamela State Constituency, host of the event and Chairman of Olamaboro LGA and his counterparts, visiting and resident traditional rulers, council and ward Excos, religious as well as political leaders, amongst others.