Sometimes, those outside create problems between neighbors or even among family members. But, it is also right to explain your own part so that others including those ill-informed ones can know and learn from. Jukun, Igala, Idoma, Alago, etc were in Wukari in the present day Taraba state before Igala migrated from there to Idah. While Igalamela and Igalaogba migrated earlier to Idah, other Igala groups such as Idoko, Ohiemi, …, Idoma, Alago, Ebira led by Abutu Ejeh met them in Idah. Igala and Jukun were very close, doing things together, forming the Wukari warriors, practicing almost the same religion and related cultures, etc. But, who were the first to settle there among the Jukun and Igala since history has it that we all migrated from somewhere to the place? That is where the problem is. But despite that, a little information is available as to who was the first in the area. Before going there, it is good to let you know that the tribe name, Jukun was a recent name which the people were known by after their fight with some Hausa while they were already in the present day Nigeria. It was said to be the response by them when the Hausa people tried to know who those people fighting them were and the Jukun said “Ichi Pa Jukun”, meaning “we are people or we are human beings”. It was later shortened to Jukun which means People/Human beings in the Jukun language. That was how the Jukun came to be their tribe. Now, back to who was the first there in Wukari.
Palmer (1936) handed down some record about them. Abdullahi M. Yusuf (2016) in his work on A Study of the Origin of an Indigenous Community in Central Nigeria: Interrogating Akpoto-Igala Phenomenon reported thus:
Palmer as quoted by Clifford tries to look at what he described as the “Ahel Dirk” (warrior) and the “Ahel Gara” (natives). According to him, “a branch of the Ahel Dirk of Kanem established themselves on the Benue at Wukari in the sixteenth century, and called the aborigines they found there Gara, which, by the common meta-thesis, becomes Gala.
This should give us the direction on who was older in Wukari. Although the tribe, Jukun was not mentioned here as it was a recent nomenclature, the description given as the warriors should provide enough information that the present Jukun were the Ahel Dirk while Igala were the Ahel Gara who were said to have been met by others especially the Ahel Dirk. In summary, the Ahel Gara now Gala or Igala have been recorded to be the aborigines (original inhabitant) of Wukari. Please note: This information is not to create any friction or argument between Igala and Jukun (except it’s the provision of other recorded and defendable evidences to prove me wrong on this age) but to educate some people who were falsely informed about Igala and Jukun relationship as well as who was the first in the location. This is to also educate all the misinformed people that Igala as our tribal name or nomenclature had been in existence right from ancient Egypt time as Gala (Tenth Dynasty (2130 BC – 2040 BC) Pharaohs of the ancient Egypt), to/in Wukari as Gara/Gala and to/in Idah as Gara/Gala/Igala/Atagara/Atala/Atigara/Igara/Egara and all is Igala recorded in variant forms based on the understanding of the authors or foreign researchers. Although, Igala and Jukun have some related traditions, there are some clear differences between us (Igala and Jukun) as Igala practices till date pure ancient Egyptian Pharaohs traditions.
Some Differences between Igala and Jukun Kingship traditions are:
1. Attah Igala wears white crown like ancient Egyptian Pharaohs, Aku Uka does not wear such crown.
2. The title, Attah originated in ancient Egypt as a supplement to Pharaoh which means The Great House while Ata means The Great One or Father or Elder. Aku Uka according to some Jukun sources means King in their language while Igala sources said it is an Igala named title which means “The one who beads”. There was a time which the Jukun group had the oldest man, and it was then Igala (Ahel Gara) requested that he should bead the Igala King, which led to his title as Aku-Oka given to them by Igala, the Igala sources added.
3. Attah Igala wears earrings till date just like ancient kings such as Pharaohs, Aku Uka of Wukari does not wear earrings.
4. Igala traditional rulers do not have the culture of tying only wrapper, but it is part of Jukun own (refer to the pictures).
5. All Igala traditional rulers put on red cap and Okebe (red feathers array) or Ochachi cap on ordinary days, Jukun traditional rulers don’t wear such feathers or cap.
6. There many Attah and Agabaidu traditional title holders in various indigenous Igala communities outside Kogi state, there is no Aku Uka title holder in any of Igala territories till date.
7. The two languages are far different. The names the two tribes bear are far different. The traditional titles in both tribes are far different.
8. While the greetings of Attah Igala is AGABA Idu (Lion of the lions), that of Aku Uka is ABAGA Idu. Sources reported that the Idu in the greeting of Aku Uka was borrowed from Igala just the say way Idoma borrowed it as Idu is not a Jukun word just it is not also an Idoma word. And that the Abaga was the transformed form of the Agaba Idu greeting of Attah Igala as well as the greetings and/or title of different Igala traditional rulers across different states outside Kogi state, the sources added. Going by these sources, it can be said that greeting is of Igala origin too.
Irrespective of these differences, both Aku Uka of Wukari and Attah Igala have said on different occasions that Igala and Jukun migrated from Egypt but the two have no relationship other than cultural own.
* Was Abutu Ejeh or Attah Igala ruling dynasty Jukun? No. The present Attah Igala ruling dynasty began from Abutu Ejeh after Igalamela and Igalogba groups. Attah Idakwo Ameh Oboni II had said that Abutu Ejeh or Attah Igala ruling house was/ is not Jukun. In addition, Aku Uka is an interview with Ashe foundation (available online on YouTube channel) stated that Igala and Jukun have no relationship. This also means that Igala ruling house is not Jukun or Ahel Dirk. Aside this, and coupled with the differences listed above, Abutu, Ejeh, Amichi, Agana Apoje, Ayegba, Idoko, Ohiemi, Akogu, Ocheja, Opaluwa, Ogwuche, are all Igala names till date and they all have Igala meanings. Omepa was of Igala-Ogba clan. No Jukun bear these names today based on my investigation. But if you think otherwise, explain the meaning of these names as Jukun names and mention 50 persons bearing each of these names presently among the Jukuns, and I will list 500 persons bearing each of the names in Igala now.
It was because of throne politicsas usual coupled with the late arrival of Abutu Ejeh group from Wukari which made some Igala to say the wrong thing about Abutu Ejeh just like they said about Achadu from Igalaogbo clan to be Igbo or Aro.
The first Achadu was Omepa Ajogu Onogu Opaluwa Ajoga Inyonwu which are all Igala names. Finaly, there are many differences between Igala and Jukun, Abutu Ejeh or the present Attah Igala ruling house have no Jukun link but was because of throne politics like that of Omepa Ajogu, the first Achadu. The visit of Jukun chiefs during Attah Igala coronation till date is not based on any blood link but on the initial friendship connection. And according to Palmer, Igala(Ahel Gara) is older in this present day Nigeria; Benue valley (Wukari) than Ahel Dirk (Jukun).
God bless us all.
Indigenous Igala People World Wide