The last may not have been heard of the Kabba Day drama as traditional rulers and community leaders of the ancient town allege that a senator, Dino Melaye, was told to stay away from the event.
Mr. Melaye has, however, described such as false saying nobody asked him not to come.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the lawmaker was attacked by a mob even after he had donated money at the event. Although the senator is believed to have been unhurt from the incident, one of his cars was damaged with the police eventually dispersing the crowd with tear gas.
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi is believed to have turned back from attending the event upon getting information there could be violence.
Speaking during a courtesy call on Governor Yahaya Bello in Lokoja, Thursday, the President General of the Kabba Development Union, Emmanuel Ajibero, hailed the governor for his “wisdom and statesmanship”, insisting that the governor’s decision to tow the path of peace shows he is a “peace loving leader.”
Mr. Ajibero thanked the governor for donating N20 million towards the completion of the Kabba Civic Centre.
Also speaking at the event, a community leader, Chief Olowodola, said Kabba community will remain “eternally grateful” to the governor for his “uncommon leadership.”
He said he thought Mr. Melaye would use the opportunity to iron out his differences with the Governor.
Mr. Olowodola said a federal lawmaker opposed to the governor, Abiodun Faleke, displayed “utmost respect” for the Kabba people by avoiding any confrontation with the governor. He urged the people of Kogi State to give maximum support for the success of the governor.
On his part, the Obadofin of Oweland, Michael Yusufn thanked the governor for honouring the Kabba people as well as embracing peace. He narrated how the community allegedly prevailed on Mr. Melaye to stay off the event.
He said, “We sent some royal fathers and chiefs to him to stay away when we heard he was coming to disrupt the event. He promised us he won’t come only to sneak into Kabba and caused the havoc that happened that day.
“We have learnt our lessons and we now know better. The event also afforded us the opportunity to know how peace-loving the governor is.”
The Chief of Staff to the Governor, Edward Onoja, called on the governor to continue to see the Okun people as responsible despite what happened at the Kabba Day.
According to him, “Okun land is made up of responsible and great people. The sin of one should not be visited on all.
“Since the creation of Kogi State, Kogi has never been this favoured in terms of appointment into strategic and high placed positions. Okun must prove to the governor and the current administration that they appreciate their new found relevance in the politics and governance of Kogi State.
“The Kabba Day incident has helped the governor to shine. People were expecting to see an arrogant governor as misconceived by the media only to find out the real Yahaya Bello who is prepared to sacrifice anything to safeguard the lives of his people.
“There is no administration in this state in which the Okun people have the positions of a Speaker, Secretary to the State Government and State Security Adviser all at the same time. It has been made possible by this administration. We know where we are coming from, where we are and where we are going.”
Responding, the governor, Mr. Bello thanked the members of the delegation for their visit.
He said he bears no grudge against anyone and that he will continue to respect the position of Kabba as the headquarters of the old Kabba Province.
“I do not bear grudge against anyone. What happened belongs to the past. I cannot waste the lives of my people on the platter of ego. We thank God for making the day a success.
“Let me also thank my supporters for showing the character of their leader by refusing to take laws into their hands. The security agencies also did great by providing adequate security to forestall breakdown of law and order.
“Kogi State is one big family and my administration shall continue to promote peace and unity across the state”.
The governor urged the Kabba people to continue to support his administration in his bid to continue to serve the people of the state.
“Politicians should stop testing God by thinking of 2019. I was made Governor by God and only HE knows where I will be in 2019.
“I will continue to give my best to this great state of great people. My ego is not worth any life. We shall continue to put Kogi on the right path”.
In his vote of thanks, the Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Matthew Kolawole, thanked the governor for his love for Kabba. He said the people will always reciprocate his good gestures.
In an email response to PREMIUM TIMES, the Senator however denied being asked not to show up at the event.
Giving an account of a “warm welcome” he received, he challenged Governor Bello to explain why he “ran away” from venue of the occasion.
“Nobody asked me not to come and nobody could have stopped me from coming,” he replied to an enquiry by PREMIUM TIMES on Friday. “The governor was embarrassed but his political appointees have always lied to him that I’m not on ground and everybody is for him.”
He added that the National President and organiser of the Kabba Day celebration flew from Lagos to Abuja to personally invite him for the event and decorated him as an ambassador same day.
“The triumphant entry and total acceptability that I got when I entered Kabba obviously got the governor and his appointees taking cover and couldn’t approach the venue where I had a fill day. The entire crowd cheered me all through till the point I drove out of the stadium.
“About 5 hired Ebira thugs were throwing stones at my convoy, the people caught them and gave them community beating before handling them to the police. The governor should explain why he ran away after getting to Kabba all the way from Lokoja. No one can stop the people’s revolt.”
The senator noted that he will continue to contend with the governor until he heeds to the cries of the workers.
“I have pictorial evidence and video. Please ask them for evidence of their lies. The governor is simply the most unpopular governor in Nigeria for stealing the salaries and pension of workers. The battle to make him responsible and pay workers is a battle of no retreat no surrender. If I die I die. But I will never keep quiet in the face of deliberate wickedness.”