The Attah Igala and Chairman of Kogi State Traditional Council of Chiefs, Dr Idakwo Michael Ameh Oboni II recently marked his third anniversary of ascension to the throne of his forefathers.
Dr Oboni II was coronated as the 24th Attah Igala on March 10, 2013, following the death of Aliyu Ocheja Obaje who joined his ancestors in July, 2012.
The anniversary celebration was held on Saturday, March 26, 2016 at the paramount ruler’s palace in Idah, Kogi State and attracted a cream of other traditional rulers and well-wishers from across the country.
But, the event which was earlier scheduled for March 12, was however postponed to March 26, following the death of the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, James Ocholi (SAN), an illustrious son of Igala, who died in an accident on March 6.
The epoch-making event began with the traditional breaking of kola nuts which was performed by the Attah, after which he offered prayers for blessings and fruitfulness in the land.
Masquerades which were under the custodian of the Attah Igala, in their various colours, took their turns to pay homage to the celebrant.
Amongst the Attah’s masquerades which displayed at the event include Ekwe, Agbanabo, Inelekpe, Ichawula, Epe, Abilifada, Ikeleku Afuma, Odumado and Ochochono.
A traditional ruler from Angwa community of Enugu State, Dr Emmanuel Ugwu, described occasion as an opportunity to reunite and foster the bond of brotherhood across borders.
He said: “We the Angwa people in Enugu State have been part of the Igala people, so our coming is like homecoming. The only thing that can unify this country is cultural relationship and that is what we are doing.”
On her part, a renowned Nigeria Nollywood actress, Rita Edochie, described her presence at the anniversary as a “homecoming.” Edochie said a lot of the Igbo people have their roots in Igala land.
She said: “For me to have come here shows that the Attah Igala is a great man. It shows that he is a respected person. I have come because this is my root. I come from here. I come to reconnect.”
The chairman of the Central Planning Committee of the event, Prof Saidu Mohammed, said the anniversary offered the Igala people an avenue to reunite and consolidate on their fraternity with people from other parts of the country.
He said: “For many of us, it is a happy reunion; for a number of us, it is a consolidation of reunion. Don’t forget that the Igalas are scattered across five states of the federation and most of them came around today to receive the blessings of their ancestors.”
In a goodwill message, the Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, commended the Attah Igala for his accommodating spirit and proving himself as a father of all.
He assured that his administration will galvanize the unity of the state by being detrabilised and fair in his political appointments and distribution of social amenities.
The governor said that his detrabilised approach to governance and commitment to the unity of the state made him to appoint Mr Edward Onoja, an Igalaman as his Chief of Staff, a development he described as novel as far as the state was concerned.
The Attah Igala in his address, expressed gratitude to Almighty God for his three years on the throne and thanked all that came to rejoice with him.
The Oboni II said Igala nation in particular and Kogi State in general had suffered years of marginalization due to structural imbalance and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to begin his change mantra in the area.
The paramount ruler said he believed that the President, being a man with a track record of honesty and fairness ,would help in correcting all political and socio-economic ills suffered by any segment of the country.
According to Attah, the Igala nation had over the years suffered injustice in the distribution of political appointments at the national level, adding that its people deserve more than they had gotten.
While expressing worries over the tragic deaths of prominent Igala sons such as Dr Stephen Achema, Prince Abubakar Audu and James Ocholi (SAN), the Attah called on the Igala people to pray together against such misfortunes befalling the land.
On the crisis between Kogi and Aguleri community in Anambra State, the paramount ruler assured that he would collaborate with leaders of the concerned communities to find a lasting solution to the crisis.