OLA IGALA A CHEJU M’OMI: Where shall we go and what is the way out?

The then Attah of Igala, HRM Aliyu Obaje flanked by Shaibu Opaluwa and Col Abdullahi Shelleng at a ceremony in Idah (PHOTO CREDIT: IgalaProject/atayibabs)

By Felix Solomon Omachoko

It was about some 800 to 900 years ago, Gabaidu Atta Ayegba Omidoko foresaw the future of the great Igala race with his indomitable fecundity in the liberation struggle for you and I, and for to that he sacrificed his beloved children! Though he didn’t go to school yet he has the intellectual productivity of a creative imagination and of a genius!

He was practically a pragmatic leader with a mission and vision for his people and this he achieved through selflessness and the ability to see what was before him which was /is the apparent future of the Igala Kingdom.

Where are the Igala’s in the middle belt, North Central, Regional Politics, Northern Nigeria and National Politics?

Were Atta Ame Oboni and Atta Ayegba Oma Idoko not Igala men? The Atta stool is a great symbol of authority, leadership and power. Igala as a tribe is built upon history, heritage and cultural value. Out of the 7 major tribes that forms the Kwararafa Empire, Igala is the 2nd most powerful tribe.

There were no record or trace of history of any invasion or Igala’s conquered by any tribe. Atta Igala is powerful, fearful and revered amongst the Northern Traditional Rulers at Arewa House Kaduna. The Och’Idoma, Tor Tiv and Oba of Bini knows how powerful the Igala’s and their Traditional Ruler are. Are this present day Igala’s the one’s that fought the Jukun and Bini war and established the Nupe Kingdom?

Are the Igala’s from Kogi no longer part of Northern Nigeria? Are the Igala’s that occupied four (4) seats out of 7 at the house of assembly (Kabba Province) different from the Igala’s of today?

Igala as the 9th largest ethnic Nationality in Nigeria, what is our position at Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Northern Elders Forum (NEF)? Late Chief Sunday Awoniyi (Aare Mopa) from Okun land and Late Abdulrahman Okene an Egbira man were once Chairmen of ACF. Executives of Northern Elders Forum were constituted recently where we have Mr Paul Nongo (TIV) as chairman, Idoma and other minority tribes as members of executives. Where were the Igala’s?

In the 1st Repubic, the Igala’s have the likes of Peter Achimugu and Hashim Adaji as Ministers and the North have people like Aminu Kano, Yusuf Maitama Sule, Adamu Koko etc as Minister. In the 2nd Republic, the likes of Mr Yahaya Atanu and Dr Abubakar Usman as Ministers. The difference between Igala man and a Core Northerner is mentorship.

Col. Ahmodu Adah Alih was the first DG NYSC, a federal Commisioner of Education and also PDP National Chairman. Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue State today was a former Local Government Chairman, to PDP State party Secretary, to the National Party Secretariat in Abuja, Minister and now Governor of Benue State. He was mentored. Where is our own John Odawn taday after he left office as a State party chairman?

Comr. Abbah Moro was a lecturer at Benue State poly Ugbokolo, he became Chairman of Okpoku Local Government, DG David Mark Campaign and finally a Minister of Interior. He was mentored. The Igala’s have the first Senior Advocate of Nigeria from Northern Region, Alh. Abdullahi Ibrahim SAN.

Where are the mates of the likes of Late Dr Olusola Saraki (Kwara), Hon. Joseph S Tarka (Benue), Jerry Gana (Niger), Chief Solomon Lar (Plateau), Sen….. Walid Jibrin (Nasarawa), Sen. Isaiah Ballat (Kaduna), Gen. T. Y Danjuma (Taraba), Chief Sunday Awoniyi (Okun), Abdulrahman Okene (Egbira)? Where are our Leaders and Elders?

From the Fourth (4th) Republic to date Igala have no Diplomat nor Ambasordorial nominee?

Gen. David Jemibawon was (Minister of Police Affairs), Prof. Eyitayo Lambo (Minister of Health) Chief Bayo Ojo (Minister of Justice) are all from Okun Land. Barr. Muhammed Adoke ( Minister of Justice) from Egbira land were all substantive Ministers. Barr. Humphrey Abbah (State Interior), Arch Gabriel Adukwu (State Heath) and Late Barr. James Ocholi ( State Labour and Employment) was because of his closeness with PMB in 2011 during CPC and lastly Prof Stephen Ikani Ocheni who was nominated by Hon. Edward Onoja are all Junior Ministers.

The just constituted chairmen and board members out of 2,323 only 25 people came from the entire Kogi State with only two (2) board chairmen.

The Igala Nation has more than 70 Professors scattered all over but apart from Kogi State University Anyigba, none has become a Vice Chancellor in any University in Nigeria. Whereas Egbira, Okun and Idoma’s are excelling in other Universities. Prof Nuhu Yakuq was DVC Usman Dan Fodio University Sokoto, VC University of Abuja and currently V.C Sokoto State University. Prof N. S Audu was a former VC at FUT Minna, Mr Salami was Rector at Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa. All this people are Egbiras.

Prof Shamsudeen O O Amali was VC University of Ilorin and Nasarawa State University Keffi, he is an Idoma man. Another Idoma man is a Rector at Federal Polytechnic Kaura Namoda, Zamfara State and Prof James Adikwu, VC University of Abuja. Prof Olayemi Akinwumi from Okun Land is a Director, Research and Publication.

During Goodluck Jonathan’s era, three Ministers came from Benue (Comr. Abbah Moro, Samuel Ortom and Mrs Grace Ochekpe) and we have Elders at the helm who can use their influences for Igala Nation.

This year Prof. Joseph Ayatse,Tor Tiv led a very powerful delegation to Aso rock to see the President, The Ohaneze Indigbo also led a powerful delegation to see the President, The Catholic Bishops Confrence of Nigeria went to see the President and they spoke to the rock and he heard with humility, last week the Olu of Warri (Itsekeri) Delta State led a high powered delegation to the President, a 42 members committee has been set up last week from Plateau state to visit Aso rock. Where are the Igala’s? Are we scared of the Rock?

On National Politics, we see the likes of Abubakar Tsav, Sen. Joseph Waku, Jerry Gana, Prof Ango Abdullahi, Prof. Muhammed Junaid, Alh. Balarabe Musa, Sen Shehu Sani, Comr.. David Umaru, Chief E. K Clark, etc criticizing government and discussing National issues.. Where are the Igala’s, 9th largest ethnic group? Who do we have? Do we have a voice? A voice for the few or for all? Is the voice loud and clear to the hearing of many and admiration of all?

Sorry to say this but it’s a fact, Our docile posture towards issues of national concern has made us a “docile masses of an enslaved nation” always wobbling in an ocean of illusory despair of a lost sheep! How long shall we continue in this regard considering the negative consequences of our inactions even as we have seen thus far..

The danger here is that a bad precedent has been set up and whorled on our people as a way of life without recourse to the grave consequences of such vicious circle.

It is a clarion call to service for all and sundry no matter how highly placed you are in the society.

This calls for concern as we discuss the way forward for the future of the Igala nation.We have to step up effort towards analytical and practical experience as against the mundane awards, seminars and presentation of awful papers that have no practical effect on the quality of lives of the Igala man on the street.

The failures of the leadership of the past and present to harness the best opportunities in engaging the political gladiators to put in the right infrastructural facilities and amenities that can help facilitate and propel the economic advancement,growth and development of our land has been the bane of the untoward poverty level in our land today.

The conspiracy of silence of our people has left much to be desired considering the grave danger ahead of some of these humongous challenges as witnessed lately. How can we acquiesce or accede to this ruthless aggression against our people by total hush up and muteness?

This ugly and distasteful silence must not be allowed to continue as it poses grave threat to our collective heritage. PMB just announced recently a whooping sum of $3bilion dollars for a futile oil exploration in the far North while we have about 9 oil blocks in Ibaji, Ojigono and elsewhere in Kogi East Senatorial zone.

We must not be subservient to the far North because we are a people and a nation created by God having what it takes to compete favourably with the comity of nations. We must stand up for our people today to rewrite the wrongs of the past and present as we can no longer tolerate the associated pains and shameful acts of kindness or cowardice!

God bless Igala kingdom
God bless IYC,
God bless Ukomu Igala,
And God bless kogi state.

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