By Amuda Dan Sulaiman Fab
In preparation for the November 11 governorship election in Kogi State, the governorship candidate of the Accord Party (AP), Vice Admiral Usman Oyibe Jibrin Akpabana (rtd), has received the royal blessings of the Attah Igala, and Paramount Ruler of Igala Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Matthew Alaji Opaluwa, on his aspiration to become Kogi State governor, during a visit to his palace in Idah on Thursday.
Jibrin emerged as the gubernatorial candidate of the AP for the November 11 gubernatorial election after the party’s substitusion primary held at KEFAS Event Center in Lokoja.
The retired naval officer, who is fondly called Akpabana, was ushered into the ancient palace of Attah amidst drumming, cheers and wild jubilation by his teeming supporters, including non-indigenes resident in the state, at about 3:35 p.m.
While speaking, Jibrin thanked the Paramount ruler for his warm reception saying that it became important for him to pay a royal homage and receive blessings from the throne saying that he considered His Royal Majesty as a father, who occupied a special honour in Kogi State and Igala Kingdom.
He said; “I was here few months ago to inform your majesty of my intention to contest the governorship primaries of our great party, the AP.
“I remember telling your majesty that I am in the race to win and not just to add to the number. I am happy to inform you and the good people of Igala Kingdom who are here that I have successfully crossed the first hurdle having emerged as the candidate of my party. I am here again to seek your royal blessings and support of the Igala people even as we prepare for the general election,” he said
Enumerating some of his achievements in the state, the AP flagbearer noted that during his service as the Chief of Naval Staff, he attracted many projects to the state such as, the Lokoja and Idah Naval Base and the Nigeria Navy Secondary School at Okura in Dekina local government area of Kogi State, among others.
At the palace, the Attah Igala said he was delighted to welcome Jibrin as an August visitor and lauded his ambition to govern Kogi State, saying, “I have listened with a rapt attention to your inspiring speech at this occasion, and I have to wish you success, God’s guidance and travelling mercies in the course of your traversing the nooks and crannies of Kogi State to seek necessary support for your ambition to become the next governor of the State.
The royal father hinted that prominent and respectable traditional rulers are fathers to all members of political parties in the country, and their role was to pray to God to guide all the aspirants and select those who will move our country forward and benefit the masses, as he warned politicians to ensure they live up to their promises when they attain power, noting that “time waits for no one.”
He said, “it is in this vein, I am praying that God will be with you, guide you aright, bless your aspirations and crown all your efforts with success,” while he specifically beseeched God, requesting that, “when God will choose, He won’t forget Vice Admiral Usman Oyibe Jibrin. This is my prayer, and may He allow the prayer to come to past.”
Responding, Jibrin expressed his appreciation to the royal father for the warm reception, promising to live up to expectation and fulfil his electoral promises, which he said had been his character as a former Naval Chief.
Below are some pictures captured at the event: