Attah Igala race: Tension as wife of late Idakwo Oboni mounts brazen challenge over choice of successor
Even as the Igala People in Kogi and seven other states across the county look forward to the continuation of the enthronement rites of the designated candidate for the Attah Igala Stool, intrigues and subterfuge have continued to impede the process.
After the period of mourning of the late Attah Idakwo Ameh Oboni II, the Aju-Ameachor The Ruling House due to produce the Attah in accordance with the Kogi State Igala Area Traditional Council Chieftaincy Succession Law held a meeting at Idah, the Headquarters of the Igala Kingdom on 19th of November, 2020 and nominated a retired Central Bank Executive, Prince Samuel Oguche Opaluwa from among three Princes of the house interested in ascending the throne.
The November 19th nomination has already been communicated by the Ruling House to the Kingmakers and other statutory stakeholders.
The next step is the appointment of the nominee as Attah Igala by the Kingmakers who will thereafter be required to communicate the fulfilment of their obligation to the His Royal Highness The Achadu, Who is regarded as the Traditional Prime Minister of the Kingdom for onward transmission to The State Government for approval.
While this process is playing out, one of youngest Prince from family, and a brother with, the same parents with the nominee, it is learnt, has escalated a campaign to supplant his elder brother.
This brazen challenge from the young Prince which has confounded observers of the process, sources told our correspondent, is being orchestrated by the Queen of the Late Attah Idakwo Oboni said to be a first cousin of the two Princes.
Already used to allure of power and perks of royalty, the Queen, it’s believed, intends to perpetuate her stay at the Royal Palace if she succeeds in her scheme of enthroning her young cousin.
She is reportedly reaching out to statutory stakeholders and Kingmakers to push for the candidature of her preferred cousin.
Also her son, whose father was the last occupant of the throne is equally in the contest as a backup even when the Aju-Ocholi Ruling House where he hails from is not entitled to aspire to the throne until the three other Ruling Houses namely Aju-Ameachor, Aju-Akogu and Aju-Aku have taken their turns in that order of rotation.
But the desperation to enjoy “tenure elongation” by the Queen and other beneficiaries of the palace in the immediate past royal regime observers believe is behind the plot to undermine the smooth succession process which is anchored on the tradition of rotation.
However with the succession law which makes it impossible for a candidate to emerge except through a nomination from the his Ruling House, it is believed that the gambit of the Queen and her preferred cousin said to be a high ranking para-military officer with a heavy financial war chest is doomed from the start.
Besides the succession law also provides for preference of seniority In the choice of an Attah.
The Aju-Ameachor family conclave according to records of the meeting took this law and tradition into consideration in arriving at Prince Samuel Opaluwa as the family’s choice.
There were four Princes in the Contest namely James Ufaruna Opaluwa, Samuel Opaluwa Oguche, Matthew Alhaji Opaluwa,a Director With the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Ocholi Opaluwa.
The eldest is James Ufaruna who withdrew on health grounds even before the conclave and endorsed Samuel, the next in line of seniority who was eventually nominated as the choice of the family.
At the end of deliberation, Prince Matthew Alhaji had thanked the family stakeholders and called on his brother Ocholi who was on official duty and therefore unavoidably absent to equally respect the family’s choice.
The peaceful process of nomination by the Aju-Ameachor was informed by the desire of members of the Ruling House to end a 101 year jinx which has kept the family away from the throne.
The last Attah produced by the Aju-Ameachor is Oguche Akpa, the grandfather of the nominee and the other Princes, who reigned from 1911-1919. After him there was Attah Atabo Ijomi from the Aju-Akogu Ruling House 1919 -1926; Obaje Ocheje 1926-1945 from Aju-Aku and Attah Ameh Oboni I from Aju-Ocholi 1945- to 23rd June 1956.
After the demise of Attah Ameh Oboni, the Aju-Ameachor picked Opaluwa Oguche eldest son of Oguche Akpa, as their choice. He went through all the rites of Coronation and was awaiting an official crowning ceremony when the Colonial Government of the Northern Nigeria Province procured Prince Aliyu Obaje, son of Obaje Ocheje and turbaned him as Attah Igala in total defiance and disregard for the custom and tradition of succession of the Igala People.
Attah Aliyu Obaje the turbaned usurper ruled for 57 years and passed on in 2013 but the Aju-Ameachor were again disadvantaged because of the prevailing law and tradition at the time which restricts succession to only direct sons of a past Attah. As at 2013 no direct son of Attah Oguche Akpa 1911-1919 was alive anymore. The Aju-Akogu suffered the same disability with no direct son of Attah Ijomi who passed away in 1926 surviving to ascend the throne.
This was the major reason Idakwo Ameh Oboni, a surviving direct eldest son of a past Attah was enthroned.
The Succession law titled Igala Area Traditional Council ( Modification of Native Law and Customs) Order 2015 was passed by the Kogi State House of Assembly In 2015 to redress the injustice which would have led to the extinction of the Aju-Ameachor and Aju-Akogu as Ruling Houses.
The law was also specific that the rotation will now commence from the Aju-Ameachor Ruling House obviously to compensate them for the injustices and deprivations they have been suffering since 1956.
The choice of Prince Samuel is the first ever nomination of a grandson in the 700 years history of the throne.
The Aju-Ameachor are worried that the shenanigans and schemings of Queen Oboni and her acolytes is threatening this rare opportunity to end the jinx.
A member of the Ruling House told our correspondent:
“Even as it appears that the Kingmakers are set to correct the wrong of contemporary history and restore the sanity, sanctity and integrity embedded in the long standing tradition of the Igala,there are suspicion of some kind of tenure elongation.
“Direct beneficiaries of recent occupants of the throne ,having been acquainted with the allure of power are scheming to distort the law and tradition to pave way for preferred candidates who will undoubtedly play to their dictates.These are the people fanning the embers of disunity among the “Attaity”.
“But the law remains sacroscant because it is the basis of justice..” said the Prince who pleaded anonymity.
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