It was a glamorous and historic moment for the Kogi traditional institution as over 129 newly appointed, graded and upgraded traditional rulers were recently presented their staff of office by Governor Yahaya Bello.
The event, which held at the Glass House of the Kogi Government House on August 27, attracted a huge crowd of traditional rulers, their subjects and well wishers from across the state.
Cultural troupes from the various ethnic groups in the state were all on ground to add colour to the ceremony.
Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, on the occasion charged traditional rulers in the state to brace up and work towards enhancing peace and security in their domain.
Bello who noted that the state cannot attain the desired development without peace and security, advised the monarchs to carry their subjects along in whatever they were doing without sentiments and discriminations.
“Today is very bright. It is a very wonderful day. It is a brighter day. I am so proud of you. I thank God for making today a unique day.
“When you upgrade traditional rulers, you have empowered them to do more. The implication of this is that I want every one of you to ensure that peace and tranquility be maintained in your domains.
“It is very important to see your subjects as one irrespective of religion. Carry them along in whatever you do to foster unity among your selves. Discrimination no matter how small cannot move a domain forward and I want all of you to take caution against such act,” he cautioned.
Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Engineer Abubakar Ohere, said the ceremony was an evidence of the importance the governor Yahaya Bello-led administration attached to the traditional institution in the state.
He said, “It is on record that your administration, more than any before it, has attended to the crucial needs and welfare of our Royal fathers in the obvious face of very scarce resources.
“Over time, because of the politicization of the process of appointment, grading and upgrading, genuine agitations/requests were ignored or denied completely leading to these huge arrears of grading.
“From now on, subsequent grading cannot and will not be up to this, as major and age long neglects have been addressed,” he said.
He charged the monarchs to be mindful of their roles and the consequences of change in their status.
“With the presentation of staff of office, it means that you are with the instrument of authority as a delegation from the governor of the state. You automatically belong to Kogi State Council of Chiefs, Area or local government traditional councils.
“It is therefore expedient and instructive that you actively participate in your councils, respect opinion of other members and strictly observe the tradition, norms and values of your people,” he advised.
The Attah Igala and President Kogi State Traditional Council of Chiefs, His Royal Majesty, Michael Ameh Oboni II, commended Governor Bello for appointing and upgrading traditional rulers across the state.
He described the event as memorable pointing out that most of the elevated traditional rulers had remained in the same position for many years despite hard work and diligence in their various domains.
He charged the newly appointed and upgraded monarchs to be up and doing in fostering peace and unity in their domains, saying “to whom much is given much is expected.”
The royal father also commended the Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Engineer Ohere for prioritizing the welfare of traditional institution in the state.
Chief of Staff to the Governor, Edward Onoja, said the grading and upgrading of the traditional rulers was key noting that they form a vital and pivotal role in governance in Kogi State.
He commended the governor for the recognition and priority he had accorded the traditional rulers from inception of his administration.
Onoja also thanked the traditional rulers for their counsels and support to the government especially in the maintenance of peace in their domains.
For his part, the Director General, Bureau of Information Services and Grassroots Sensitisation, Abdulmalik Abdulkarim, said the occasion was an evidence of the governor’s desire and passion to accord the necessary recognition to the traditional institution owing to the fact that they remained the closest people to the grassroots.