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It is no longer news that the mobile shrine, the chief priest of Igala Kingdom, the Attah of Igala, Michael Idakwo Ameh Oboni II has left the mortal flesh to live forever in one celestial component with his ancestors. He may have ruled briefly, the time he spent on the throne was impactful and tailored towards redefining the people.


It will be recalled that Oboni I, 25thAttah and father of the late Idakwo Ameh Oboni II only spent 10 years on the throne. The abrupt end of the 27th Attah is therefore similar to that of his father. He only spent about nine years on the throne.

Alas, he is going to sit by the side of his great father, Attah, Ameh Oboni I in Valhala. He was indeed a man who deployed his energy towards leading one of the greatest kingdom in Africa to its pride of place as united, peaceful and prosperous people. He came at a time Igala’s needed change from their individualistic mentality to a purpose driving people with patriotic intentions.

For many years, Igala people have drifted and groped in self inflicted hate, transmitted through generations to further a very hideous divide with unending fault lines. Many values eroded, opportunities lost, many educated, intelligent Igalas roam helplessly without jobs because the older generations will not help them to rise. Some of the intelligent and jobless youths have found their way into politics, recruiting the uneducated as thugs.

Oboni II wanted a peaceful domain, he wanted justice too. That is why he will also be remembered for reclaiming lost territories of Ajaokuta, Lokoja and Koton Karfe LGAs ceded in 1841 after a faulty agreement mediated by the British colonialists in a landmark judgment by Donatus Okorowa.

I was privileged to meet Attah Idakwo Ameh Oboni in the year 2014 when he invited me to his palace. It was a great occasion for me as an Igala man. The fact that I was stepping into the palace for the first time, and would be meeting with the son of the great Oboni to discuss unity of my people was indeed a memorable event. I met his chiefs waiting for me in the outer chamber of his palace ahead of the meeting. I greeted them the best way I was thought by the King of Ibaji, Ajofe John Egwemi. The chiefs were amiable people who had a great laugh over my limited knowledge in traditional matters. They managed to shake off the tension swirling inside my stomach before the arrival of Attah.

The entrance of the late Attah quickly reflected his personality. He was simple and down to earth. His voice boomed over the announcement of his arrival by his palace guard, when he demanded to be clued in on what was making us laugh so hard. I shuffled to my feet and in a moment of excitement and confusion, I crashed towards the approaching monarch to greet him, trying my very best to look traditionally appropriate as possible. He made it easy for me as he used his white fluffy cane to tap on my shoulders gently after asking me to return to kneeling position. I felt like a knight commissioned to serve the crown.

Ameh Oboni II invited me to the palace to acknowledge my appointment as Director General Media and Publicity / Chief Press Secretary to then Governor of Niger state, the Chief servant, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu. The Attah was happy I was appointed in Niger state. He used the occasion to intimate about his worry over the issue of unity among Igalas. The late Attah said the issue of unity and progress of Igalas top his bucket list. He was clearly on a mission to reach out to all Igala professionals home and abroad to achieve the unification of the people down to the grassroots.

Attah knew exactly why Igala’s must stand as a united people. He knew that the bane of disunity has stunted progress of the people for too long, a curse he was determined to break. Igala kingdom is ravaged by savages who are products of generational hate. Most of them in the villages are uneducated, they see the educated as enemies or prey. Now it is not safe to visit the kingdom as misguided, hungry and angered youths are set to pounce and take some pounds of flesh on account of a failed moral system.

In the past, Igala’s only suffered unity problem but the Kingdom was safe, flourished in moral values especially among those in the villages. Every family took pride in flaunting spotless content of character, where family name is guided jealously. An average Igala elite in position will not steal, embezzle or lie. All these have crashed overtime on account of disunity, unending needless competition, rivalry, poverty and politically induced apathy. Many youths in the kingdom have grown to hate, suspect and now murder perceived or real enemies.

Igala’s must yield to the mantra of the late Attah, the kingdom must understand that unity is a key component to keep it in its pride of place as one of the strongest, oldest race in West Africa, standing shoulder high with the Yoruba’s, Igbo’s and a few others. A kingdom with great influence across Nigeria in states like;Benue, Enugu, Anambra, Delta, Edo and parts of Yoruba land must work on its unity architecture.

Oboni II has played his role towards establishing a kingdom built and sustained by peace, harmony and progress. The sun has set for him, birthing a new dawn for another Attah. The legacy of unification of the people must continue. The value orientation of the youths must be sustained. The sense of direction, commitment and focus towards collective prosperity must be upheld, sustained and passed to generations. Igalas must stay woke, put in more efforts towards a rebirth of a kingdom from the ashes of its flaking glory.


*** Israel Ayegba Ebije was the Director General Media and Publicity/ Chief Press Secretary to former Governor of Niger state, Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu. ebijeo5@gmail.com


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