Intrigues as race for Attah Igala stool heats up | Dailytrust

Intrigues as race for Attah Igala stool heats up

Late Attah Igala, Michael Idakwo Ameh Oboni II
Late Attah Igala, Michael Idakwo Ameh Oboni II

Succession struggle among the ruling houses which produce contenders to the throne of the Attah Igala has reached a fever pitch ahead of the final interment of the late Micheal Ameh Oboni II.

Daily Trust takes a look at the intrigues and power play.

Not minding the glamour, reverence and privileges as appurtenances of the stool of Attah Igala, the agitation for the plum stool over the years has remained relatively devoid of rancour and bickering that defile similar stools as observed in some other traditions.

This did not come as a wild consternation to onlookers because tradition and individual talents coupled with one’s love for his nation have come to play significant roles in the cut throat competition that have ruined the agitation for the seat over the years.

Competent sources said that for the over 700 years of the existence of the stool, the king makers had always adhered strictly to the laid down processes and procedures that would culminate in the emergence of the paramount ruler.

Governor Yahaya Bello

Governor Yahaya Bello

From outset, the stool was rotated among the four ruling clans namely, Ayegba Oma Idoko bloodline in the order of seniority.  To wit: Aj’Ameacho, Aj’Aku, Aj’Akogu and Aj’Ocholi. By this arrangement, after the reign of one Attah, the next family  to assume the throne was already known.

Furthermore,  in this family, preference is given to the eldest prince among the sons of the last Attah considered the heir apparent to the throne be screened and considered qualified for the throne from the royal family he belongs to as their choice.

The tussle for ascendancy to the coveted traditional seat in Igala land had neither religious nor political coloration and had not affected positively or negatively on any would be Attah Igala in his drive to attain the pinnacle of the stool.

The belief is that  the Attah is in communion with forefathers as a divine priest.

De-emphasizing religion and political inclinations as factors of interaction had permeated the entire fabric of Igala nation.

Before the commencement of in-house screening exercise, the  Achadu  Oko Attah who is the prime minister of the kingdom at the completion of the rites of passage  after the death of  an Attah will declare the plum stool vacant.

The declaration of the vacant stool  will prompt the next ruling house  in line to immediately constitute a screening committee under the tutelage and guidance of the oldest in the House who is saddled with the onerous task of liaising  with principal stakeholders of the extended family to interview and screen the eligible prince.

The choice of the House will be presented to the three other ruling houses who will jointly present the candidate to the kingmakers known as the Igala-Mela Council headed by  Etemahi, a first class traditional ruler.

Nonetheless, there was a marked deviation from this process in recent history when the British colonial administration in1956 jettisoned the time tested process that had worked for over 600 years, turned and installed Alhaji Aliyu Obaje whose ruling house was not contending.

This marked the beginning of the turning point in the selection process and procedures for the emergence of an Attah Igala for the Igala kingdom.

That singular act was considered as an aberration and a slap on the Igala race when due processes for the installation of Opaluwa Oguche, the heir apparent to the throne had been concluded.                                         …

To justify their action however, the colonial masters dragged in Western education as a pre- requisite for ascendancy to the throne to the advantage of Alhaji Aliyu Obaje who did not observe the attendant rituals to the exclusion of the unlettered Opaluwa.

This was considered a coup d’etat that brought enmity between the duo resulting in legal chicanery for record time.

Though peace was attained through the intervention of stakeholders, the scar of injustice remained indelible on the wall of the mind of the victim.

It  was because of the attained peace that the contest that ushered in the departed Attah, His Majesty, Michael Idakwo Oboni  from Aj’Ocholi ruling house in a free for all contest from among the four ruling houses.

The reason  for government action was not far fetched.  It was a retaliatory measure to checkmate the frustrating experience they had with the no nonsense Attah Ameh Oboni who was accused of insubordination to the power that be.

The deposition of Ameh Oboni from the throne marked the beginning of Western education as an entry qualification requirement for any would be Attah just as it was considered as a relief to the entire northern monarchy.

Angered by this development, Opaluwa who was the Attah-designate  became belligerent and directly opposed to the reign of Alhaji Aliyu Obaje.  Admittedly therefore, distortions crept into the process and procedures for the emergence of a new Attah after the call to glory of the latest.

Late Attah Igala, Michael Idakwo Ameh Oboni II

Late Attah Igala, Michael Idakwo Ameh Oboni II

However, a relief came during the administration of Captain Wada Idris as the governor of the state who restored sanity in the system with the enactment of Igala Area Traditional Council (modification of Native Law and Customs) Order, 2015 procedure and regulation for the ascension to the stool of Attah Igala Act.

Essentially, the law amended the tradition that restricted succession to the throne only to the direct sons of the persons who had occupied the stool.

It also prescribed that the restoration of the practice,as a norm, would commence from the Aj’ Ameacho ruling house.

What this implies is that grandsons, nephews and grand nephews are eligible to vie for the seat.

The law is considered a trouble shooter as it solved the injustice perpetrated against the two ruling houses that had hitherto suffered recognition to the throne.

It cured the injustice against houses whose last Attah were Oguche Akpa; father of Opaluwa Oguche of Aj’Ameacho house who reigned from 1911 to 1919 and Atabo Ijomi who ruled from 1919 to 1926 because no direct sons of these Attahs exist today.

With the rites of passage of Michael Idakwo, a floodgate for the emergence of contenders has been thrown opened to the interested candidates.

This, the Achadu Oko Attah confirmed to our correspondent, saying that the number of contenders has already doubled. He confirmed that 11 contenders are jostling for the throne but declined to mention names.

Our correspondent however gathered that names such as Professor Armstrong Idachaba, the Acting Director General of the National Broadcasting Corporation; the two sons of late Attah Aliyu Obaje: Kabba and Adejo have cued in.

Other names include James Ufaruna, a retired Banker and an alumnus of Kings College, Lagos; Alhaji Opaluwa, a Director at Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); Ocholi Opaluwa, a custom officer; Wada Adaji Oguche, a business magnate  and Dr Mike Idachaba, an American trained scientist.

Daily Trust gathered that permutations are going on as to who should step down for the other for smooth operation of the enthronement exercise.

The Achadu Oko Attah, HRH Samson Ekele Adejoh showered encomiums on the late Attah Igala, Idakwo Oboni for the exemplary leadership style he lived while his tenure lasted.

He said that the younger Oboni attracted far-reaching developments by reviving certain moribund  Igala cultures that have hitherto been consigned to the dustbin of history.

He lamented that the image of Igala recognised as the ninth nation in the country plummeted dangerously prior to the advent of the late monarch who reverted the downward trend.

He prayed that the incoming Attah expected in a matter of days should surpass him in the development of the land.

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