The Ohinoyi of Ebiraland a.k.a Atta Ebira, in Kogi State, Ado Ibrahim, has explained why he allegedly refused to receive President Muhammadu Buhari, during his one- day visit to the state last December.
The Ohinoyi who was queried by the state government for refusing to receive President Buhari, when he visited the state last December, said he was not officially invited for the event.
The first class monarch also said he was not informed that President Buhari would be in his domain to commission a new palace.
The state government queried the monarch for not receiving the president and the state governor during Buhari's visit to the state to commission some projects, including a new palace for the monarch, describing the action as “an act of disloyalty.”
A bomb planted by suspected ISWAP members also exploded a few minutes before the president’s arrival but security agents have seen arrested two suspects over the bombing.
The state’s Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Salami Deedat, later claimed he personally visited the monarch to invite him to welcome President Buhari and Governor of the State, Yahaya Bello, but the monarch declined.
However, responding to the query dated January 6, 2023, and addressed to Commissioner Deedat, Alhaji Ibrahim said it was not his intention to belittle the president and the state government.
He explained that he did not attend the event because Mr Deedat advised him to stay in his palace to receive the president.
“It was only on the night of 28 of December, 2022, you visited me at about 9:30 p.m. and informed me that Mr President would be coming to Okene the following day to commission some projects, and that I should stay back in my palace while the President will be coming to pay me a courtesy visit upon his arrival.
“On December 29,, 2022 at about 8:15am, I received an unofficial copy of the visit programme of Mr. President and noted that Mr. President was meant to commission the Ohinoyi’s Palace at 10:10am. This observation implied that Mr. President was to commission another Palace other than my current Palace that I have been occupying since I was coronated in 1997,” he said.
He further said he was not aware of any official palace other than the one he currently resides in and had prepared a memorium to present to Mr Buhari.
“I had just concluded preparations to receive Mr President when I heard an earth moving bomb blast at the rear entrance to my palace close to the new Mosque across the street at 9:00 a.m. While I was in the palace ensuring that the casualties of the unfortunate incident were being attended to, I was informed that Mr President had concluded his programme and departed to Lokoja.
"I also discovered that the main wall of the entrance to my Palace had been breached and all entrances to the palace had been barricaded to make access to and fro impossible.
"I have been kept in the dark from the reception arrangements and necessary entertainment to welcome Mr President on his second visit to Okene, and from extolling the pleasure of my dear people to receive him.
“All allegations referred to in your letter, especially Paragraphs 3 and 4 are very unfortunate and I regard the same unfair to my ripe experience and age coupled to my candid, Royal dignity, accepted here in the world internationally,” he added.
He, also, noted that the state government didn’t condole him following the bomb blast, noting that someone unknown to him was made to represent him and read a welcome address he did not sanction on his behalf during the president’s visit.
“Nevertheless, I will continue to reign over the good people of Ebira land with good conscience and conviction, as I have done throughout my reign,” he further noted.