Governor Idris Wada
As the people of Kogi State, especially those of Igala extraction are waiting earnestly for the emergence of a new Attah Igala, the paramount ruler of the Igala kingdom, trouble is brewing over the alleged possibility of a breach of an accepted rotational choice agreement among the four ruling houses as allegation of interference persists against Governor Idris Wada’s administration.
Though Wada had persistently denied involvement, a joint statement signed by the representatives of three of the four ruling houses, namely the Aju Akwu, Aju Akogu and Aju Ameacho royal dynasty of Ayegba Om’idoko (Attah Igala Kingship), copy of which was made available to THISDAY Saaturday , said Prince Idakwo Arne Oboni from Aju Ocholi ruling house cannot for now ascend the throne of Attah Igala.
According to the statement signed by Hon. Usman Ahmed of Aju Ameacho ruling house; Hon. S. S. Haruna of Aju Akogu and Itodo Achimugu Obaje of Aju Akwu ruling house, “ It goes without saying that if Prince Idakwo Ame Oboni from Aju Ocholi ruling house is allowed for now to ascend the throne of Attah Igala, the result will be total elimination of Aju Ameacho and Aju Akogu ruling houses from the throne of Attah Igala.
“Peradventure, Prince Idakwo Michael Ame Oboni is allowed to come on board now, and reigns for a longer time and if the sons of late Attah Aliyu Ocheje Obaje should die before him, then the Aju Akwu ruling house becomes extinct, leaving Aju Ocholi ruling house (Prince Michael Ame Oboni) to pilot the affairs of Attah Igala stool (only one lineage).”
While maintaining that they were determined to use all available constitutional means to assert their right to the stool, in line with all existing orders and Igala protocols, they noted that “In the matter of Attah Igala chieftaincy, the first thing to be considered, first and foremost is to identify the ruling house whose turn it is to produce an Attah.
“Secondly, the rotational order should be followed. The sons of an Attah, the grandsons of an Attah and the sons of a brother of an Attah whose turn it is to produce an Attab are qualified. A typical example is Attah Arne Ocheje. Prince Ocheje was the son of Attah Itodo Aduga and he was never an Attah. But Ame, the son of Prince Ocheje (a grandson) became an Attah.”
They also expressed objections to the recommendation by the Etemahi and Igalamela kingmakers for not following the procedure for the screening and selection of an Attah as per qualifications stated above.
Specifically, in a statement signed on behalf of the Aju Ameachor ruling house, Prince Amanabo Opaluwa openly accused the government of trying to determine the choice of the new Attah. “Our attention is drawn to efforts by the Governor Wada-led administration to foist Mr Idakwo Arne on the Igala people against all existing laws and the principle of justice,” he said .
He described such move as a breach of the rotational arrangement among the four ruling houses from Ayegba Omidoko’s dynasty as preserved in the provisions of the Igala Area Traditional council modified law on the appointment of an Attah . Quoting extensively from the laws, Opaluwa maintained: “We state categorically that among the ruling houses, the Aju Ameachor is the one that has gone longer without providing an Attah. The last time was 1919. We also wish to let the government and the good people of Igala land know that His Royal Highness, the Ejeh Ofu of the Aju Ameachor ruling house, having been validly nominated by the Aju Ameachor house and endorsed by three out of the four ruling houses, has met all the provisions of the law as a duly nominated candidate and his name forwarded to the Igala Area Council as candidate of the ruling houses.”
He alleged that “the government has deliberately ignored or refused to adhere by the laws guiding the selection of an Attah, and has invented their own rules obviously in order to favour a candidate.”
But the Special Adviser to the governor on Media and Strategy has insisted that the government is not involved in the processes leading to the emergence of an Attah. He said the state government is guided by the conclusion of a traditionally-constituted bodies saddled with the responsibility of picking a new paramount ruler for the kingdom.