By Fred Itua
Last month, the traditional homestead of the Ebira people in Okene, Kogi State, stood still. It was the 24th coronation anniversary of the 92-year-old Ohinoyi, paramount ruler of Ebiraland, His Royal Majesty, Dr. Ado Ibrahim, who is regarded as the oldest in the country.
One of the highlight s of the celebration was the conferment of a traditional title on the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu. The title, “Onyize of Ebiraland,” meaning “Mother of Wealth” or interpreted more deeply, “Harbinger of Blessings of Ebiraland,” had never been given to anyone in the annals Ebiraland.
During the conferment, the traditional ruler said the minister was being honoured as a result of her contributions to human development in the FCT and in her home state, Kogi. Promising support for her activities, the royal father urged other Nigerians to follow in her steps and assist the less privileged in society.
Dr. Ibrahim added that the royal recognition showered on the minister was due to her philanthropy and her handling of palliatives during the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
He said: “The minister’s milk of kindness was further reflected recently in her donation of foodstuff and beverages to the people of Kogi State and FCT in the heat of the COVID 19 pandemic last year. I know her performances in government and I am very proud to confer this position on her.”
He also conveyed messages of goodwill from the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji (Dr.) Yahaya Abubakar, and many traditional rulers. At a reception and traditional durbar for the minister, which took place at the King Ado Ibrahim Civic Centre, the minister, who celebrated her 51st birthday on the same day, thanked the king and people for the honour.
While promising that the All Progressives Congress-led administration would continue to do more, she said the infrastructural development going on in the country was a testimony that the government was passionate about the wellbeing of Nigerians.
“This honour will spur me to do more for the people. In fact, I look at it as a call to further action that will positively affect the lives of our citizens. Sincere appreciation goes out to you for showing solidarity in making this event memorable through your presence at the events, as well as your support in the organization. I most sincerely appreciate it.
“I am confident that, at the end of the tenure of Mr. President, the country will be better positioned for efficient and effective service delivery,” she said
The event, which attracted dignitaries from all spheres of human endeavour within and outside the country, also featured a royal durbar and cultural displays from various Ebira groups. Dignitaries at the event included the husband of the minister and Sardaunan Kakanda, Alhaji Tijjani Aliyu, Hajia Gogo Zainab Sidi Ali and Hajia Aisha Sidi Ali.
Hajia Kulu Abba Kyari, wife of Mallam Abba Kyari, the late Chief of Staff to the President, was also in attendance while the permanent secretary in the FCT, Mr. Olusade Adesola represented the FCT minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello.
Some members of the Federal Executive Council, including Ministers of Police Affairs and Defence, were represented as well as the director-general, State Services, Alhaji Yusuf Bichi.
Aside from the Ohinoyi’s “College of Daudus,” the event had several traditional rulers, with the Ona of Abaji and chairman FCT Council of Traditional Rulers, Alhaji Adamu Baba Yunusa, leading nine chiefs from the territory, including the Agabe of Ugbada (Gwargwada), Mam Hussein Agabi; the Ohimegye Igu of Koton Karfe, Alhaji Abdulrazaq Gambo Isakoto, the Emir of Suleja, Alhaji Awwal Ibrahim among others. The six Area Council Chairmen in the territory were also led by the Chairman of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria ALGON and Gwagwalada Council boss, Adamu Mustapha Dance.
While FCT Senator, Philip Tanimu Aduda and the lawmaker representing Okene/Ogori Magongo Federal Constituency, Tijani Damisa led other lawmakers to the event, the Kogi State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Barr. Momodu Ozigi Deedat represented Gov. Yahaya Bello.
Ohinoyi Ehira (Chief of Entertainers) of Ebiraland popularly called “Echu Ozoku” regaled guests with colourful songs and dance steps.