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By Balogun Omeiza David (BOD), Lokoja.

One of the many paths a man can tow to appreciate God Almighty for His protection and manifold blessings in his life is to gather people to help him celebrate God’s faithfulness and also for genuine prayers to be offered unto God the giver of all good things that can happen in the life of a man. This was what led to the grand reception and prayer organised by Alh. Dr. Umar Oricha Shuaibu serving as the Director General, Government House Administration, Lokoja.

As from 9:00 a.m. on Friday 1st March, 2024, the open space at the residence of Alh. Dr. Umar Oricha Shuaibu located at Ateba on your way to Okene-Eba was filled with Muslim Clerics and those versed in the Holy Quran. They were seen seated on mats and chairs all reciting the Holy Book to make supplications for Alh. Dr. Umar Oricha Shuaibu, a man God has helped to serve His Excellency, Alh. (Dr) Yahaya Bello (CON) during his administration as the Director General Government House Administration and also highly favoured by God Almighty to continue with the same position under the present government of His Excellency, Alh. Ahmed Usman Ododo, the Governor of Kogi State.

Those who were present at the Friday prayer session confessed that the hand of God Almighty was resting perfectly well and protecting Alh. Dr. Umaru Oricha Shuaibu. They described him as a man who has weathered so many storms to be where he is today. Their sweet voices trained to read the Arabic language in which the Holy Quran was written rented the air. The atmosphere within Ateba in Agassa got caught up with spiritual activities geared solely to appreciate God Almighty of His faithfulness in the life of one of His own creature that only Him knows why He has decided to favour and honour him in a way that words alone cannot described.

The activities lined up to celebrate Alh. Dr. Umar Oricha Shuaibu snowballed into Saturday 2nd March, 2024 at an open venue beside his house still at Ateba. Before 9:00 a.m., the wide space that was well decorated and arranged for the grand reception to hold was already jam-packed with Government Officials, Traditional Rulers, Religious Clerics, men and women of timber and calibre plus well wishers from far and near. Representatives of the many groups across Kogi State that worked under the ORICHA OFFICIAL SUPPORT GROUP FOR ODODO during the last gubernatorial election that ushered in His Excellency, Alh. Ahmed Usman Ododo as the present Governor of Kogi State were not left out.

Representing the Governor of Kogi who was unavoidably absent because of an important official assignment was the Commissioner for Works, Engr. Muhammed Yusuf. The Chairman of the occasion was Engr. Prof. Abdulrahaman Asipita Salawu, the Vice Chancellor of Confluence University of Science and Technology (CUSTECH), Osara. Hajia Mariam Ozioma Abedoh of PENCOM sat in the Chairperson position at the event. His Royal Majesty, Alh. (Dr) Mohammed Tijani Anaje was well represented by His Royal Highness Alh. Shaibu Ismaila Itopa, the Egasu of Omoye. The Ohi of Okene, Alh. Isah Mamman Okatahi also graced the occasion. The Odovidi of Ehebe was well on ground to celebrate one of the progressive and focused sons from the Ehebe Clan as well as other high ranking chiefs from Kogi Central. Also, the Chairman, Kogi State Internal Revenue Service, Alh. Salihi Sule and Dr. Solomon Avidime, Chief Medical Director, Reference Hospital, Okene were part of the many guests in attendance

The Commissioner for Education, Hon. Wemi Jones was present. He was one of those who spoke expressly about his relationship with Alh. Dr. Umaru Oricha Shuaibu right from the times of Alh. (Dr.) Yahaya Bello as Governor and now that a new administration has come on board. In his words, “One cannot do without matching on toes in an attempt to reform the education sector. We met many lapses in the sector and as I was trying to make reforms as directed by my superiors, many of those affected ran to Alh. Dr. Umaru Oricha Shuaibu to report me thinking he will descend so low to dance to their tunes. I am happy to tell you that he sent them back to go and do the right thing or face the dire consequences of their undoings. He is one of those who gave me a right footing to succeed in my job. He is also a man I can beat my chest anywhere that he loves his people to a fault but he will never take any nonsense from anyone.” The Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Hon. Monday Anyebe was in attendance as well as Amb. Usman Bello.

The grand reception and prayer event had some entertaining side attractions. Many Ebira traditional musical artistes graced the event. The likes of Deca of Kuroko, Habibat Dio, Habibat Onono of TAO FM all took their turns to sing the praises of Alh. Dr. Umar Oricha Shuaibu in the popular Ikede music with Ebira traditional drums accompanying the easy to follow and sing songs the artistes were reeling out freely and effortlessly. As a man of the people and a core politician that Alh. Dr. Umaru Oricha Shuaibu has become, many of his groups also prepared powerfully to entertain the guests who came for the event. The groups ranged from: Oricha APC Women Forum, Inorere, Agassa, Oricha Support Group, Ateba, Okene/Agassa/Ahache Women Leaders Forum and Ehebe Women Group all rallied round Alh. Dr. Umaru Oricha Shuaibu to celebrate God’s grace upon his life. An award of excellence was presented to Alh. Dr. Umaru Oricha Shuaibu by Circle Hope for Women and Teenage Initiative.

The prayer session at the event recognised the three religions. The Chief Imam of Government House, Alh.Mohammed Bashiru Ohu led the Islamic prayer while Mrs. Stella Ayodele, a former DAF at the Government House led the Christian faith prayer. The Odovidi of Ehebe Clan led the traditional version of the prayer as the kola-nut was presented to him by Mrs. Hajara Oricha Shuaibu, the wife of Alh. Dr. Umaru Oricha Shuaibu. Also in the cause of the event, the Elders Forum at Agassa turned out en mass to pray for the progress of Alh. Dr. Umaru Oricha Shuaibu as well as his club known as Like Minds that meets in his house every Sunday to hold their meetings. The representative of the Ohinoyi of Ebira land, His Royal Highness, Shaibu Ismaila Itopa, the Egasu of Omoye also prayed onbehlaf of the reverred Ohinoyi of Ebira land for Alh. Dr. Umaru Oricha Shuaibu.

The duo of Mall. Muhammed Alabi Alimi and Hajia Hajara Ohunene Obajimoh (elder sister of Alh. Dr. Umaru Oricha Shuaibu) both took their times to talk about how much they know the astute administrator. Hajia Hajara Ohunene Obajimoh made it known that God Almighty gave her the leading that her younger brother was not a child that should be left waste on the farm. She said she was able to notice the perfection in everything he did and she knew if he uses the same energy in academic work he was going to excel.

The item on number 7 from the programme sheet was titled “From the Horse’s Mouth.” The idiomatic expression was what ushered in Alh. Dr. Umar Oricha Shuaibu to talk to the many people that gathered to celebrate him. He thanked God Almighty who he said has never left them for a second as a family. He thanked His Excellency, Alh. (Dr.) Yahaya Bello (CON) who made him to become a voice to reckon with. He also extended his appreciation to His Excellency, Alh. Ahmed Usman Ododo, the Governor of Kogi State for reposing much trust in him which has made himmto remain as the Director General, Government House Administration, Lokoja. He took his time to talk about his primary and secondary school days and how he furthered his education. He also gave a chronological order of his civil service life. Alh. Dr. Umaru Oricha Shuaibu talked extensively about the many ups and downs that he has been faced with in life, an exposition that made many to be shaking their heads in much surprise. He thanked all those who left the comfort of their homes to celebrate and pray for him. Most of what he said will be written in a book form which will be made available for all to read and take gleanings from.

The vote of thanks was delivered by Chief Dauda Momoh, Chairman, Kogi State Community Service Development Agency. He appreciated all and sundry for giving honour to whom honour is due. He described Alh. Dr. Umaru Oricha Shuaibu as one of the best human beings he has ever met in his life. He prayed to God Almighty to continue blessing him and also for God to remember to smear a portion of the much grace he has bestowed on astute administrator of great repute.

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