Monarch laments tragedies in Igala nation
Seeks unity at third anniversary on the throne
The celebration to mark the third year anniversary of the ascension to the throne of the Atta Igala of Kogi State, Dr. Idakwo Michael Ameh Oboni II, became another avenue to discuss the tragedy and neglect of the Igala race.
It was a re-echo of Senator Alex Kadiri’s satire at the burial of the late Minister for State, Labour and Employment, James Ocholi. Kadiri, who claimed to be Ocholi’s political godfather, had expressed the hope that his death will unite the race for progress and development.
According to the Attah, he believes the death of Ocholi will bring peace and harmony to his land because they have been traumatised and battered. “When we had a Minister for Health, before he settled down, they said he embezzled money and he was removed.
“We had the former governor, Prince Abubakar Audu, at the verge of victory in the last governorship election, but he died before he was declared the winner. Again, a minister yet to settle down was travelling with his family and they have all perished. This is the tragedy of our race.”
He used the avenue to appeal to all Igalas to come together and talk with a united voice as he enjoined the two warring parties in the conflict between the people of Odeke and Echenwo in Kogi state and those of Aguleri in Anambra State to find a lasting solution to the crisis adding that the solution is within and not without.
He blamed the colonial masters ignorance of the history and geographical configurations of the race to balkanize and dispersed it into three provinces of Idah District that was merged with Onitsha province, Ankpa District that was merged with Munchi province and Dekina District that formed part of Nasarawa province.
“In 1918 during the reign of Attah Oguche Akpa, the three Igala districts came back together as one unit and were merged with the Northern provinces but not without some damage. Some of our people were ignorantly left behind in the present-day Enugu, Anambra, Nasarawa, Benue, Delta and Edo states, thus drastically reducing the numerical strength of the Igala nation.”
According to him, the Igala nation was at the forefront of diplomatic collaboration as early as 1841, indicating that Attah Amocheje had signed a treaty with the British 20 years before Lagos signed a treaty with them in 1861. The royal father pointed out that the advent of states creation in Nigeria added to the woes of the Igalas.
“The first state creation exercise in 1967 by the Gowon administration took us to Kwara State where we were mockingly referred to as Kwara overseas. In 1976, another state creation exercise by the Murtala regime took us to Benue State where we remained till 1991 when we were once again returned to the former Kabba province, now renamed Kogi State.”
Lamenting the dire situation Ocholi’s death had put the Igalas, he concluded thus: “We are not in the scheme of things in our state, we are not in the scheme of things at the federal level and yet we claim to be the ninth largest ethnic group in the country.”
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