By Samson Yaki (Managing Editor) & Mustapha Muhammad, Lokoja

The Aju Ameacho ruling clan, one of the four ruling clans in Igala Kingdom of Kogi state, has produced the new Attah of Igala; having lost the throne in 1956 to His Royal Highness, Aliyu Obaje, from Aju Akwu ruling clan to be installed.

The Aju Ameacho ruling clan, which has already nominated Prince Opaluwa Okoliko, the grandson of Prince Opaluwa Oguche, who contested the stool with late Aliyu Obaje in 1956, to become the new Attah Igala, the ruling clan is ready and in high spirit to take over the throne, wear the crown and royal regalia of the Igala Kingdom.

Prince Opaluwa Okoliko, who had had sting in the banking, aviation and education sectors, had his nomination after series of consultations among members of the clan, in full compliance with Kogi State, Igala Area Traditional Council (Modification of Native Law and Custom) Order 2015 and traditional precedence which gives the exclusive right to nominate an Attah to the Ruling Family that is due to produce the Attah.

The eldest surviving persons of the ruling house, His Royal Highness, Chief Ogobi Okpanachi Emeje and Alhaji Ibrahim Inah Abutu, who confirmed the compliance of the process, said Prince Opaluwa Okoliko has also been recommended and endorsed by elders and members from the four ruling houses of Aju Ameacho, Aju Akogu, Aju Akwu, and Aju Ocholi.

Similarly, the elder brother to Prince Okoliko, Engr. Opaluwa Ayegba, also endorsed the nomination.

Alhaji Ibrahim Ina Abutu who spoke on behalf of Aju Ameacho ruling clan said “the clan was robbed of the throne in 1956 when they presented Prince Opaluwa Oguche (the grandfather of Prince Opaluwa Okoliko) for the stool of Attah Igala after going through the rituals of ascension, but His Royal Highness, Aliyu Obaje was installed from Aju Akwu ruling clan”.

Disclosing the nomination of the king in waiting, reports said the nomination was done in a meeting which was convened by the Head of the Aju Ameachor Ruling House, Prince Jacob Yahaya Etu, a retired Deputy Commissioner of Police, as required by the Kogi State Chieftaincy law, screened, interviewed and considered three main candidates who had indicated interest in the stool.

They Princes that indicated interest for the throne were; Samuel Opaluwa, Matthew Alhaji Opaluwa, a Director with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Ocholi Opaluwa a high ranking Customs Officer.

Etu, while addressing stakeholders of the Clan, said the family had unanimously agreed that Samuel Opaluwa being the eldest among the sons of Opaluwa Oguche, was chosen to succeed the late Aliyu Obaje.

The Kogi State Chieftaincy Law and the Igala Tradition envisages that the contest for the Attah stool be between candidates from the ruling houses whose turn it is to present a Candidate.

The ruling house is by law and tradition only entitled to nominate a single candidate who shall be presented to the other three ruling houses. They are AjuAku, AjuAmaecho, AjuAkogu and AjuOcholi.

It is expected that the elders of AjuAmeachor will introduce their chosen candidate to the other ruling houses which shall in turn present the candidate to the college of Kingmakers called the Igalamela headed by a First Class monarch called the Etemahi.

The Igalamela is obligated by law to endorse the choice of the due ruling house as submitted by all the four ruling houses and present him to the Achadu Oko Attah, the traditional Prime Minister of the Kingdom who shall submit his name to the governor of the state and also commence the rites of coronation.

The stool became vacant following the death of His Royal Majesty, Idakwo Micheal Ameh Oboni, the Attah of Igala, few months ago.

The list of Àttáhs that ruled igala land are as follows;  in Pre historic era, we had  Abutu Eje, while in pre-Independence Era Ata, they were Ebulejonu Ọm Abutu(f), Agana poje Ọm Abutu, Idoko Ọm Agana poje, Ayegba Ọm Idoko, Akumabi Ọm Ayegba (Onu), Akogwu Ọm Ayegba, Ocholi Ọm Ayegba (Ohiemi Obogo), Agada Elame Ọm Ayegba, Amacho Ọm Akumabi, Itodo Aduga Ọm Akumabi, Ogala Ọm Akogwu, Idoko Adegbe Ọm Ocholi, Onuche Ọm Amacho, 1835 Ekalaga Ọm Ogala, 1835–1856 Amocheje Ọm Itodo, 1856–1870 Odiba Ọm Idoko, 1870–1876 Okoliko Ọm Onuche and 1876–1900 Amaga Ọm Ekalaga.

British occupation era Ata were 1900–1903 Ocheje Onokpa Ọm Amocheje, 1905–1911 Ame Oboni Ọm Odiba, 1911–1919 Oguche Akpa Ọm Okoliko, 1919–1926 Atabo Ọm Amaga, 1926–1945 Obaje Ọm Ocheje and  from 1945 – 23 June 1956 Umaru Ame Akpoli Ọm Oboni.

In Independent Nigeria, the Attahs were 20 October 1956 – 16 July 2012: Aliyu Ocheja Om Obaje – was installed by the British shortly before independence and from 10 March 2013 – 27 August 2020: Idakwo Michael Ameh Oboni II.

The antecedents of Attah Igalas in the Nigerian environmental history are highly overwhelming. The Attahs are instrumental in impacting the life of their people and the country in general. For instance, legend has it that in order to avert calamity befalling the people of Igala, the Attah at one time or the other, sacrificed his daughter called inigpi, which has been a remarkable landmark legendary among Igala people.

It is speculated that during the outbreak of  Ebola in 2014, it was the Attah Igala that gave a way out, asking his people to bath with salt water. Today in Igala Land you won’t find a trace of mosquitoes as the Immediate past Attah had cursed mosquitoes out of the land.

The history of Igala People, according to various Ancient Egyptologists and archeological evidences, the Igala people migrated from Egypt to Borno around the 8th century BC after Kush kingdom conquered Egypt, and settled in the place called Atagara town today; then moved forward to found another town called Atagara or Tangara town in Kwarafara then. Tangara community of Igala people was the second capital of Kwarafara after Santolo. During this period, the ruler of Kwarafara was Attah Igala; the king of Igala people. The capital of Kwarafara later moved to another community with Wukari being the last Capital of it before its collapse and various people started moving away. Aku Uka of Wukari was the ruler of Kwarafara when the capital was at Wukari. According to Palmer and Clifford in 1936, the Jukun then identified as Ahel Dirk told him (Palmer) that they (Ahel Dirk) met the Aborigines called Ahel Gara now Gala in the area. This shows that Igala were in the area before the Jukun (Ahel Dirk) joined them.

As a result of population increase since Kwarafara was a confederation of different people such as Igala, Jukun, Idoma, Ebira, Alago, some Igala groups- Igalamela and Igalogba migrated to Idah around 500 BC according to archeologists record. While the Igalamela stayed at Opuata where Attah palace was then, Igalogba or Anu group stayed in a place called Igalogba today which means Igala at the front location. After many centuries, Abutu Ejeh who’s ancestor did not join other Igalas to go to Idah earlier, as well as other grown up Igala groups left behind in Wukari then, along with some Idoma, Ebira and Alago migrated from Wukari to Idah to join the Igalamela and Igalogba groups. The previous and continuous conflicts between the two early groups made Abutu Ejeh who came as a neutral Igala person to be the Attah Igala while the earlier two were given various roles in the palace or concerning the entire Kingdom. Amichi (EbuleJonu) was the daughter of Abutu Eje, who became the Attah after the death of Abutu Ejeh, and after her, Agana Apoje became the Attah.

The present ruling dynasty of Attah Igala are descedants of Abutu Ejeh but before Abutu Ejeh came to Idah, many Attah Igala had ruled even right from when Igala were in Borno state (Atagara) and Atagara in Kwarafara. But in as much as the details of the Attahs who ruled in Borno state or Kwarafara are not yet available, some who ruled Igala Kingdom while they were already in Idah were Attah Aji, Attah Ogu, Attah Ogala, Agbo, Agoshi,Anoge, Olemas. While the descendants of Agoshi and Olema II are in Doma and part of Alago of Nasarawa state, the descendants of Agbo, Olema I, and Anoge are in Otukpa of Benue state. Till date, Igala people retain the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs culture especially the burial of any late Attah Igala after three months, the use of funeral boat, the wearing of earrings and white and red crowns of the unified Egypt, and the same Pharaoh’s trumpets being used for Attah Igala till date. In fact, the name, Ata is of Egyptian origin meaning the great one, father, elder, lord. It is another version of Pharaoh which means the Great house.

Igala people worldwide hold Igala International Congress yearly around February, bringing representatives of Indigenous Igala communities across the world together in Attah Igala’s palace in Idah, Kogi state. The event is normally hosted by Attah Igala and coordinated by the United Igala Kingdom Association, an umbrella body of all Igala people and communities across the world.



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