A Socio-political group, Ebira People Association (EPA) has urged the Kogi state government to rotate the State Council of Chiefs.
The President General of the association, Dr. Abdulrahman Adeiza,gave the advice in a statement issued in Lokoja and a copy made available to newsmen on Friday.
According to Adeiza, the group has proposed the rotation of the chairman of the state traditional council among Ebira area traditional council, Kotonkarfe/ Lokoja area traditional council, Igala area traditional council
and Okun area traditional council.
He said that every part of the state agreed to the fact that there had been equitable distribution of political appointments/leadership roles by the current occupant of Lugard hall.
This positive development added, had contributed largely to the relative peace, declining suspicion and hatred among the component ethnic groups in the state.
According to him, in order to sustain the assurance of unity and sense of belonging,EPA is of the strong opinion that, restricting the seat of the chairmanship of the council of chiefs by a senatorial district for over 29 years is a threat to the current fragile peace in the state.
He said:”Kogi state is of plural ethnic setting and none of the ethnic group has been known to conquer the other. The current practice relegates other kingdoms or chiefdoms to a slavish status of mere vassals
“It has the potential of fueling crisis among the ethnic groups in the state as it divides state along tribal sentiments.
“We hasten to add that the rotation of the chairmanship of the traditional council among all the kingdoms will avail the restore a lasting peace among various tribes in the state as it will create a sense of belonging and recognition among the first class chiefs and even thier subjects.”
EPA argued that rotation would remove the perception about a superiority of one ethnic group over the others and increases understanding and unity among all the tribes.
According to the group, it would also foster unity and engender more rapid development as well as ensure positive step toward further democratisation of all institutions with it’s attendant dividends in the state.
“It makes each occupant of the seat productive to the council as everyone would want to leave a legacy behind.
“We, therefore, reiterate the demand of EPA, on behalf of the good people of Kogi central, that the demand for the rotation of the chairmanship of the traditional council is both constitutional and legitimate.
“It is clear today in Nigeria that, no tribe rules over another in any state as each ethnic group is recognized on the basis of their reign and existence,” he added.
He said the state traditional council law should define the tenure of every occupant of the seat that, where an area traditional council has more than one eligible candidate for the position, such area council should make arrangement to rotate the position when it comes to it’s turn.
“This proposal is in recognition of each area traditional council having a distinct setting with their cultural linguistic affinity.
“It is,therefore, our fervent prayer and hope that the Kogi state government will propose an amendment to the relevant act of the state House of Assembly to consider the genuine concern of the Ebiras who are the leading ethnic group in Kogi central and enjoys presence in such other states as Edo, Niger, Nasarawa, Ondo, Benue and FCT.
“While wishing every Kogite a prosperous new year in advance. We hereby once again reiterate our stand as earlier submitted in a memorandum to the Transition Committe of the Governor-elect Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello (as he then was) in 2015 on rotation of chairmanship of the state council of chiefs.
“This is with a view to consolidating on the peace and unity of the state,” EPA said.