Out of ignorance and ill motivated thought to trigger tribal bigotry, some identified individuals under the guise of “Ebira Progressive Association” led by one half educated Abdulrahmam called for the rotation of office Chairman, Kogi State Traditional Council.
This called has been widely condemned both home and abroad most especially that the callers are ill informed about the issue in contention.
While many have called on the said group to immediately tender an unreserved apology to the reverend stool of Attah of Igala who is ridiculed in this abominable call, respected Barrister Salifu Oguche Usman in what he titles, “The Call For The Rotation Of The Office Of Chairman Kogi State Traditional Council, A Show Of Ignorance And An Affront On Cultural Values” has this to say:
” I received the call by a stalwart of the Ebira Progressive Association, one Abdulrahman to the Executive Governor of Kogi State to amend the law establishing the Kogi State Traditional Council chaired by the most Senior stool in the state, the office of Attah of Igala and make same rotational between the Attah, Ohinoyi of Ebira Land and the Obaro of Kabba with rude shock, same being made out of passion, ignorance and an attempt to fan the embers of tribal bigotry in the state.
The supposed call of the said Ebira Progressive Association stalwart is predicated on the fact of the demise of the immediate past Attah of Igala, HRM Idakwo Michael Ameh Oboni, the resultant vacancy and the succession of the office by the Ohinoyi of Ebira Land as the Chairman of the Council in an acting capacity.
While the foregoing appointment of Ohinoyi as acting Chairman of the Council is a square peg in a round holl, the call is baseless, misplaced, unfounded and an attempt to divide the good people of the state along ethnic lines.
If history remains the foundation of traditional stools and hierarchy, the call then becomes more demeaning.
The people and ethnic Nation that make up present Kogi state were all part of the old Kabba province, a sub division of the defunct Northern Region of Nigeria during Colonialism and after independence.
The people were not just lumped up in the province on grounds of geographical proximity, their groupings were driven majorly by historical affinity.
History as accepted by the Ebira Nation revealed that the Igalas and Ebiras were offspring of the same root and travelled from Egypt or wherever in the Middle East through Kenya, Ghana, Bornu, Wukari before eventually settling at Idah under the unified rulership of Attah of Igala whose stool dated back to ancient memories.
The two Nation tribes co_existed as brothers in Idah until the quest for expansionism drove our Ebira brothers out of Idah through Itobe, Ajaokuta and the present Okene, the ancestral home of the Ebira Nation.
While settling down at Okene, they owed their traditional allegiance to the Attah of Igala whose sphere of influence extended there to and under whose protection, they were covered.
The same relationship existed between the Igalas and their other brothers, the Idoma of present day Benue State.
History has it that after the said separation, Ajaokuta remain the meeting point for the two brother tribes while Lokoja was vassal town for both but under the direct rulership of the Attah.
Our Koto brothers (a corrupt version of Akpoto) were a hybrid of the two brother tribes with the Royalty emanating from the Aju Ocholi ruling house of the Attah Ayegba dynasty under the original title of Ohiemi_Ejeh which was to be later corrupted to Ohiemi_Egbe.
This system held sway with the Attah as the Paramount sole ruler of his people until the advent of the British in the mid 1880s and the misadventures of the then Attah of Igala and the Igala Nation by resisting British attempt at conquering the Igala Nation just as the other two neighbouring powers, the Oba of Benin and Obong of Calabar.
The Igala Nation was to earn the wrath of the Colonial master and henceforth began to suffer balkanization and gradual reduction of her influence.
Her territory was balkanized into the Southern and Northern protectorates with places such as Nsukka, Onitcha, Oko and more lost to the Southern front while her influence in the Northern front came under severe attack.
In all, the Attah institution maintained her prominence and dominance over the territory that later became Kabba province until the early 1900s when the Colonial master embarked on the general balkanization of traditional stools for sub_tribes and consequently, in 1904, the stool of Attah of Okene, which was later changed to Ohinoyi of Ebira Land was created as a sub_ordinate of the Attah of Igala and the first occupant of that stool, Attah Omadivi received the blessings of Attah Igala and they related in the spirit of brothers.
The same scenario was to play itself out on the Eastern flank of the Igala empire with the creation of the stool of Oche of Idoma shortly thereafter at Otukpo.
One fact that underlies the affinity of these stools including that of Ohiemi_Egbe of Koto is that they are all greeted Agaba_Idu just as the Attah Igala.
Successive Attahs, Ohinoyis and Oches of the Ebira and Idoma Nations have always maintained an Elder brother_younger brother relationship with the stool of Attah Igala.
It is in recognition of the foregoing facts and relationship that successive Ohinoyis have consistently declined to preside over meetings or Council’s where the Attah Igala is present.
The present Ohinoyi of Ebira Land has declined the same call in 2013 at the wake of the demise of then Attah Igala HRM Aliyu Otulukpe Obaje, cautioned his subjects against such unguarded calls and admonished them to jettison same.
It should be made known to Abdulrahman of Ebira Progressive Association and his likes that the Chairmanship of the KOGI STATE TRADITIONAL COUNCIL is reserved for the oldest traditional institution in Kogi State, the stool of Attah Igala and not the human occupant.
It remains with the stool and cannot be wished away in strict traditional custom.
I hereby call on my Ebira brothers, the Ebira Progressive Association, our very revered Ohinoyi Alhaji Ado Ibrahim, the Igala Cultural Development Association, all Igala social cultural organizations, Kogi State Traditional Council and all lovers of good will, tradition and the development of Kogi state including the Executive Governor of Kogi State, His Excellency Governor Yahaya Bello to reject and denounce this call in it’s entirety as same is capable of breeding ethnic disharmony, tension and under_development in the State.
Let us all respect and uphold tradition and keep politics out of it. God bless Kogi State.
Salifu Oguche Usman, Esq.