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ABU IBRO@54: Turning Adversity to Opportunity.

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Success is not something that comes easy. Successful People must go through several courses of trials and tribulations before they are able to conquer their dreams and become victorious. Setbacks and shortcomings help people stay humble and get stronger. Without setbacks, people would not truly know how soothing and rewarding success feels

Frontline Business Magnate, Politician and Kogi state Governorship aspirant under the platform of the people’s Democratic Party in 2019, Alhaji Abubakar Ibrahim Idris clearly knows something about following his instincts in order to achieve his goals. After placing second in the People’s Democratic party Primaries in 2019, Abubakar could easily have disappeared from politics like so many other Bread and Butter politicians of the past. But his instincts are leading him to more creative risk-taking. Market Hub Media has in good authority, Abubakar’s efforts at strengthening and reinvigorating the party, and his continual support in making successful, most of the party’s activities at the National, State and local levels .These, among other things are part of what makes Abubakar such an inspirational instinctive leader, this ongoing decision to stand tall even after his last political venture amidst dissention with other aspirants, is a strong indication of his turning this adversity into opportunity.

Alhaji Abubakar Ibrahim Idris is an erudite businessman and notable politician from Icheke ward, Omala local government, Kogi East Senatorial District. In 2019, Abubakar aspired to be governor of Kogi State, coming second in the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, primaries for the 2019 Kogi State Governorship election.

Although, Abubakar is the first son of H.E. Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, former Governor of Kogi State, he had then responded to a nudge by his constituents, following his good track record of philanthropic engagements with various groups, particularly at the grassroots.

Again, they are beckoning on him to throw his hat in the ring to contest in the 2023/2024 governorship race, knowing that he only narrowly lost in the previous exercise due to some intrigues.

Abubakar is a successful businessman, with interests in hospitality, oil and gas, agriculture and mining sectors of the Nigerian economy.

He is an Executive Director at Grand Ibro Hotel, Abuja; Managing Director/CEO of Aira Integrated Resources LTD, Abuja, a top range service Company.

Abubakar holds a Masters degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy, 2002/2003, and Post-graduate Diploma in Management, 1999/2001, both from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

Earlier in 1997, he obtained a B.Sc. in Agriculture also from Ahmadu Bello University, and was deployed to the Ministry of Agriculture, FCT, Abuja for his mandatory one year National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, 1997/98.

Abubakar was recently turbaned, OCHADA ONU IFE and WAZIRIN JAKADAN SOKOTO among his many tittles. He also recently bagged an Honorary Doctorate Degree, by The African Theological Network (ATEN) in affiliation with vision international university (VIN) and Bircham International University (BIU) Spain.

Abubakar is happily married to Barrister Rekiya, a Lawyer, from Kogi Central Senatorial District, and blessed with five children.

Abubakar was born in Zaria on 25th of April 1968, Interestingly, this most sought after politician of Kogi State extraction clocked 54 years this month of April.

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PROFILE: The Man; Hon. Zakari Alfa

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A financial accountant, professional banker and seasoned capital market personalty, Hon. Zakari Alfa was born 54 years ago in Ankpa, Kogi State, North Central Nigeria.

After bagging a degree in Business Administration from the prestigious Bayero University, Kano, North West Nigeria in 1987, Zakari proceeded to the University of Calabar in South South Nigeria where He obtained a Post-Graduate Diploma in Management in 1998.

At His formative stage, especially as an undergraduate, Zakari exhibited such traits which clearly set Him on a firm path to climb the professional ladder in Nigeria’s organized private sector. This was obvious because even as a student, he obtained relevant skills in banking by seeking gainful employment on an adhoc basis in the defunct Savanna bank, Kaduna and the United Bank for Africa, Makurdi respectively.

With this at hand, Zakari proceeded to start a long and distinguished career in banking immediately after undergoing the compulsory National Youth Service Corp program.

Between 1988 and 2008, Zakari held diverse positions of trust in North South Bank, Standard Alliance Insurance Company, Intercity Bank Plc., NUB International Bank Limited, First Inland Bank Plc., and Empire Securities Limited.

Within these years which witnessed about the most dynamic innovations in Nigeria’s financial system being fallout of the global financial meltdown,

Zakari brought His wealth of experience and professional competence to bear as he rose steadily through the ranks from an accounts officer, assistant manager, deputy manager/branch accountant up to branch manager.

On the strength of verifiable records which attest to His strict adherence to the tenets of professionalism, integrity and objectivity, the second phase of

Zakari’s career saw Him rise to managerial level as head of the public sector group of North South Bank Plc., a post which vested on him a unique responsibility of managing public sector clients of the bank as a means of ensuring seamless delivery of a wide range of financial services to ministries, departments and agencies of government.

He subsequently rose to the directorate level when as assistant general manager, He was charged with the responsibility of managing non-performing loans and other remedial assets of NUB International Bank Limited.

After a brief stint in remedial assets management, Zakari proceeded to head the Risk Management and Credit Administration Unit of NUB International Bank Limited. His interventions; some of which came in form of initiation of new credit policies, collateral assets management, product papers dynamics and standard operations procedures for granting credit facilities caused a near immediate reduction in non-performing loans ratios.

This feat was acknowledged by the CBN and other regulatory authorities.

Zakari’s career as a thoroughbred banker peaked during the recapitalization era between 2006 and 2008 when shortly after His appointment as regional executive, North Central of First Inland Bank, He was nominated and eventually appointed divisional head/associate director remedial assets in the same financial institution.

Following His exit from banking in 2008, Zakari proceeded to Empire Securities Limited (A Member of Nigeria Stock Exchange) where He was responsible for the daily operations of the securities investments company as managing director, chief executive officer till 2011.

Over the years, Zakari has undergone numerous professional, business and executive management trainings within and outside Nigeria most of which bother on leadership (organized by AISEC, Brussels), business management (organized by CIBN, Nigeria), credit analysis (organized by FITC, Nigeria), team building (organized by Tom Associates, Nigeria), leasing (organized by Amembel & Associates, Johannesburg), credit information exchange (organized by Credit Risk Managers Association), credit analysis techniques (organized by Euromoney, London) and leadership development (organized by Europe Training centre, London).

In 2012, Zakari was appointed Kogi State commissioner for finance and economic development by the Kogi State Government with a mandate to ensure that necessary structures are created and maintained to ensure sustainable economic growth and development in the state.

Not only was this responsibility discharged, Zakari went further to ensure that adequate mechanisms were in place to create streams of future earnings to provide for the next generation of Kogi people.

Under his management, the Kogi State Investments and Property Limited increased its capital base to N2B from an initial N500M from where funds were earmarked to fund a portion of the 300 affordable housing units in Felele.

Other infrastructural interventions which were made possible on account of His efforts include but are not limited to the 500 unit bond housing estate at Crusher and Ganaja, a modern park at Felele, the Kogi State Teaching Hospital, Anyigba, a 45 bed cottage hospital at Odu-Ogboyaga and the Kogi House, Abuja.

Besides the above, Zakari carved a niche for himself as a senior state official who operated a zero tolerance for fiscal misconduct, mismanagement of government funds and other acts of corruption.

Furthermore, Zakari Alfa is a great party man , a grassroots political leader with great capacity for mobilization on the strength of his consistency in the party affairs. However , Hon Alfa, because of his love for his people , integrity and personality in the political cycle , they was a popular clamour for him to contest for governorship of Kogi state, although, his party , the PDP took a decision but as an aspirant he had a well articulated blue print that would have catapulted the state into a viable economy judging by his antecedents as a banker of great repute and his indelible track record as commissioner of finance. Hon Zakari Alfa is a philanthropist of great standard whose humanitarian exploits transcend borders and who places humanity first .

On the social front, Zakari, a dedicated moslem is married and blessed with children.

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Leadership Lessons From Madeleine Albright, The First Female US Secretary Of State

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By Edward Segal

Madeleine Albright, the first female U.S. secretary of state who died yesterday at age 84, was a world-class leader who leaves behind several lessons for business executives.

Help Others Find Their Way

Retired U.S. Navy Captain Barbara Bell is a leadership professor at Vanderbilt University and author of Flight Lessons: Navigating Through Life’s Turbulence and Learning to Fly High. She was one of the first women to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. Bell said that “When I think of Madeleine Albright, I think of her like a lighthouse—a sturdy, confident, beacon of light that women cross the county, the world, in fact, navigated towards giving them hope that they too could become world leaders one day.”

“Condoleezza Rice saw that light and so did Hillary Clinton, quite literally following in her footsteps. I saw the light and navigated a different course to become a senior naval officer. That’s what role models do, they shine the light that allows others to find their way,” she commented.

Leaders Can Rise Above Their Humble Beginnings

Bell said that “As someone who immigrated to the United States in 1948, Albright was faced with her own set of challenges, not only as a woman but also as a young child growing up in Europe during World War II. She ultimately rose above the hardships of her past and became a trailblazer as the first female secretary of state and the highest-ranking female diplomat in the history of the U.S. government.”

Your Impact May Not Be Felt Until Later

“As Bill Clinton remarked in a recent statement following her death, Madeleine’s push to expand NATO is perhaps the glue that is going to help us overcome the crisis in Ukraine,” Bell noted.

Leaders Raise The Next Generation Of Leaders

She pointed out that, Albright’s four decades at Georgetown University “created almost two generations of world leaders who are all well-versed in diplomacy. Take Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state who is now the director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, or Barbara Mikulski, former U.S. Senator and a critical player in pushing women’s roles in the military who now teaches public policy at Johns Hopkins University. These women are leaders who were guided by Albright’s unmatched mentorship.”

Flexibility And Adaptability

Baruch Labunski, CEO of Rank Secure, observed that “At a moment in history when leaders like Vladimir Putin dominate the news and wield power like a weapon, the world could use a few more Madeleine Albrights. Not only can she teach us much about diplomacy and its importance, but she can also teach us about business leadership.

He recalled that Albright said, “As a leader, you have to have the ability to assimilate new information and understand that there might be a different view.” Leadership doesn’t require that one have all the answers…or pretend to. Leadership requires flexibility and the willingness to adapt as we acquire new information. Both in business and diplomacy, great leaders surround themselves with bright people, and they listen to those bright people.”

‘Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously’

According to Labunski, “In business as in life in general, one of the surest ways to lose your perspective is to take yourself too seriously. Albright said, ‘Life is grim, and we don’t have to be grim all the time.’”

Keep Things In Perspective

“Running a profitable business is important. It benefits local economies and funds our abilities to pursue our passions. But we have to keep our business in perspective. Have a little fun. Let your employees relax a bit and see their work as an important part of their lives, but just a part nonetheless,” he concluded.

‘Have A Value System’

Organizational psychologist and executive coach Gena Cox, head of advisory and research at Feels Human Partners, thought that “Madeleine Albright showed the world that leaders must have a value system, a point-of-view, a ‘why’ as their North Star. That North Star can help you define your moral redline, and that redline can define your actions. Leaders’ actions are like ping-pong balls without such a compass, and they lose followership. Madeleine Albright had a clearly defined ‘why,’” she noted.

‘Wield Experience As An Advantage’

Cox said that “As a woman in corporate roles for over 30 years, Madeleine Albright provided a vision of what an ‘older’ woman could do. I saw how one could wield experience as an advantage for gravitas and then apply a layer of disconcerting velvet-covered steel. She showed me how to win by being ‘different.’”

Find Different Ways To Express Yourself

Magdalena Johndrow is a financial advisor and the managing partner of Financial Johndrow Wealth Management. Johndrow recalled that Albright, “was famous for always wearing intricate brooches to important meetings. She told us a story [at a] conference about when she wore a snake pin to a meeting with Iraqi officials in response to them calling her an ‘unparalleled serpent.’ Her choice to express herself silently in this way but sternly is so important to business leaders.

“Her actions taught me that it’s not always what you say, but how you say it. Furthermore, by continuing to wear colorful brooches she also added a touch of femininity in a male-dominated field, and I also believed that taught us women leaders to remain true to yourself regardless of the setting, even if in a subtle way,” Johndrow concluded.

Remember The Mission

Daniel Comparetto, strategy leader at Deloitte Consulting, said that Albright provided an example “on how to not only create a mission but how to bring everyone on board in pursuit of that mission. She exemplified doubling down on your organization’s belief in the mission.

“The leader must explain not just what to do, but why. It is the responsibility of the other leaders to reach out and ask if they do not understand. Only when leaders at all levels understand and believe in the mission can they pass that understanding and belief to their teams so that they can persevere through challenges, execute and win,” he said.

Culled from Forbes.com

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ATTAH IGALA’S CORONATION AND THE ILLUMINATION OF HISTORY AND ANCIENT TRADITION

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By Armstrong Idachaba

Between the November 9th to November 18th 2021 the world witnessed the announcement and ascension rites of Attah Igala Mathew Opaluwa to the ancient paramount throne of the Igala Kingdom. Boasting of a tradition that has lasted about four centuries the Igala Kingdom undoubtedly remains in the annals of history as one of the greatest royal civilizations in Africa.

According to the late Guru of Igala culture and tradition, Dr Tom Miachi(2012) in his book,The Incarnate Being Phenomenon in African Culture, the Igala people occupy the area of land to the south of the lower reaches of the Benue and east of the Niger rivers at about the confluence of these two great rivers of Nigeria – an area of about 8,000 square kilometers.  These two main river thus form natural boundaries to Igala land on the west and north respectively.  To the east is Idoma Land and to south,live the northern Igbo of Nsukka.

Miachi(2012) states that the strategic location of Igala land makes it a gateway into the out of the interior of the country, and make possible contact with many other Nigerian people and, later, from about the later part of the first half of the 19th century, with European adventurers, missionaries, trading and government agents.  The northern fringes of Igala land, bounded by the Benue River is occupied by non-igala-speaking groups, namely,the Bassa Komo, Bassa-Nge and Ebira Koto.  The Bassa Komo “true” Bassa as they call themselves had intermingled with the Gbagi to the North of the Niger Benue confluence before moving down to their present location.  The Bassa Komo, with their traditional ruler, the Aguma-Sokwo, are concentrated in farming villages like Oguma the seat of the traditional council and home of the Aguma, Kpanche, and Sheria, known for its popular market, fishing and pottery-making.

Another group of people in that northern area is the Bassa-Nge, whose people are historically and linguistically, of Nupe stock.  The Bassa-Nge are also predominantly fishermen and agriculturists, growing mainly rice, yams and cereals such as guinea corn (sorghum) and millet, like their Bassa Komo counterparts.  The third group of people in Igalaland are the Ebira-Koto who are a riverine people engaged mainly in fishing and in trading along the Niger and the Benue rivers.  According to Oral tradition, they may have migrated from Ebira-Okene area at some distant past which cannot be reckoned through oral tradition, the main source of historical data available.  However today, although Ebira-Koto living in Igala Land identify themselves with Koton Karfe, their original and Major home to the North of the confluence, they also align themselves with the Igala and the Bassa peoples with whom they now live.

Oral tradition and nineteenth century records show that Igala influence politically, economically and culturally extended far beyond its present borders in all direction.  John Boston who is perhaps one of the earliest western historian to research the Igala History observed. “If we assume, as we surely can, that the Niger and Benue rivers played an even more strategic role in the Nigerian past than they do today, then it is clear that the Igala area holds the key to an important chapter of Nigeria history”

    Clearly, one implication of this assertion is that the study of other Nigerian Peoples with whom the Igala had interacted can derive benefit from a proper study of the Igala.  And this seems to find support in the fact that the political, social and culture history of such peoples like the Bini to the west of the Igala, the Igbo to the south, the Idoma to the east; the Ebira and Bassa speaking peoples to the north, cannot be effectively produced without reference being made to the Igala.

Further afield, beyond its borders, the Igala had contact at people and at war; with the Jukun in the 15th Century (Meek 1931) and with the Bini in the 16th Century (Egharevba 1969). Contact was also made with the Nupe through trade and peaceful alliance as seen in the legend of Tsoede or Edegi, an Igala prince credited in oral tradition to be the founder of the united Nupe monarchy and state (Nadel 1942).

   Seton, Armstrong, Clifford ,Ukwudeh, Anago etc cited in J.S Boston”s  The Igala Kingdom,  all proclaim the influence that the Kingdom wielded at its apogee.   Founded about the end of the 17th century, The Kingship institution has spanned almost four centuries which Boston records that –as at 1956- we were  in a position to assess the average lengths of the last ten reigns which span a period of average 120 years  from 1834 to 1956 applying the average of 12 years  per reign  to the full king list  which contained 25 names  an average of about 300 years emerge, if the period 1956 -2021 we are looking at a Kingship institution that is at least 370 or almost 400 years old according to historical accounts, with vestiges of history reflected almost 26 to 30 states of the country. Father Onoja Thaddeus Akpa (2019) in his book ,OJ Cravings of Passion,  notes that -today Igala is found to be indigenous in over twenty one states across the nation. According to him, they are:

In Kogi state outside the boundaries of what is today Igala Land- Ajaokuta, Adogo, Kotonkarfe and lokoja; Nassarawa – Doma and Toto; Benue – Otukpo, Otupka, Agila, Ajomachi, Alifata; Niger – Bida;  Abia State – Umuogu, Amaogu, Umougu; Anambra – Aguata,Onitsha, Ofemili, Ogidi, Oko, Oyi, Amogu, Agougu, Aguleri.  Umuleri etc; Enugu-Nsukka, Iggah, Abbi, Ibagwa, Enugu-Ezike, Etteh, Amufi Ogurugu, Unadu, Obukpa, Nkalagu-Obukpa,Ukpoloogwu;  Ebonyi – Nkalaha, Ikwo, Ezza, Izzi, Izhimagbo,(Egwu town) Okposi, Afikpo,bAbakaliki; Imo -Atta community, Ihiajara, Umu-Ogala, Amatta, Oguta, Umu onu;  Bayelsa – Nembe; Cross River – Yala, Isobo, Agbo;  Delta-Ebu, Aika, Ezeolu, Beneku, Obiaruku, Okpanam, Okapi, Akoku, Umuebu, Amai, IIlah, Okoh, Abbi, Aboh, Ossisa, Asaba,  Obi-Anigala, Owa-Abbi, Onu-Aboh, Umoogu, Onu-Obuko, Ogute;  Edo state – Illushi, Anegete, Ozigono, Agenebode, Ifeku, Iñele, Ekpeli, Ikpoha, Igara Ajaye; Ekiti – Aye de Ekiti; Lagos – Isale Eko; Osun – Igila ancient town; Rivers – Ndoni, Nkpolu, Nkoro; Taraba – Wukari; Kaduna – kakuri; Ibadan –Ibadan town .

The Circle of succession of the Attah stool which had run unhindered for decades before the arrival of the British was however disrupted by the British principally and by the indigenous wielders of colonial political power in Northern Region. When in 1956 Opaluwa Oguche of the Aju-Ameachor Ruling Family and father of the new monarch, who had been appointed by the Kingmakers and had advanced  in the rites of ascension was suddenly supplanted by Alih Christopher Obaje whose Aku Ruling House’s turn was still two places down the line of rotation.  He became the favorite of the northern political establishment after he allegedly succumbed to a condition to convert to Islam. For the first time in known history the centuries old succession arrangement was jettisoned, the installation rites already in process was truncated to impose the said Christopher Obaje who converted to Islam few weeks into his reign. He became the first Attah and the last so far who never went through the rigorous rites of ascension.

This technically put the Aju- Ameachor, the ruling house of the new monarch out of power for 105 years during which the Aju-Aku and Aju-Ocholi took turns to rule leaving out Aju-Ameachor and Aju-Akogu.

Thanks to administration of Captain  Idris Wada, Governor of Kogi State (2012 to 2016) which expressly re-enacted in 2015 Igala Area Traditional Council (Modification of Native Law and Customs) Order, 2015 Procedure and Regulation for the Ascension to the Stool of the Attah Igala Act which upheld and restored the rotation principle starting with the Aju-Ameachor ruling house.

   AJU-AMEACHOR ASCENSION TO THE THRONE

Almost all the phases, rituals, dramaturgy and tradition of the ascension process have been largely kept till date. In the same vein it was apparent that all the role player clans and families take great pride in their cosmologically assigned roles.

The Igalas are no doubt are in need of a new nexus of leadership, a leadership that will restore the pride and core values of Love, tradition, culture, hard work, Unity etc.

As a Civilization that has lasted for several centuries, there is no doubt that Nigeria has a lot to learn from the history, culture, myth, mythology and tradition of the Igala people.

LESSONS FROM THE ASCENSION PROCESS.

Though the process leading to the selection of the current was controversial somewhat with allegations of efforts of some participants in the process to circumvent the law and tradition, the emergence of Mathew Opaluwa upon the approval of the Bello Administration has been greeted as an act of Justice and fairness after 105 years of denial to the Aju-Ameachor. This act has finally resolved the crises of succession that befuddled the process since the imposition in 1956.

The 2021 Ascension followed quite rigidly the traditional process recorded by Boston, only that this time the process was preceded by the Igala Area Traditional Council (Modification of Native Law and Customs) Order, 2015 Procedure and Regulation for the Ascension to the Stool of the Attah Igala Act which sets the current legal background to the process of the appointment of an Attah.

The events began from the official announcement which came after the family had screened and forwarded the nominee to the King makers who are supposed to vet confirm and forward to the government for approval after it has been approved by the Area traditional council. But following the failure of the king makers to follow the rules strictly by making the contest open to all the ruling houses instead of Aju-Ameachor as expressly provided for in the statute, they more or less opened the window for the controversy that followed and one which lasted over one year, perhaps the longest ever vacuum in the history of the throne.  Dedaat Attah, the Commissioner of Culture was aghast at the conduct of the kingmakers

” (the)issue of Attah Igala has been lingering… by the principles of New Direction Administration of Governor Yahaya Bello, where interference is not allowed to characterize any exercise and no hindrances, we allowed the nine king makers to sit and take decision… they sat and seriously their work was characterized in controversy, a controversy which made the work invalid and unacceptable. We migrated the matter to the Igala Area Traditional Council where the entire exercise was also characterized by petitions, and criticisms. Following the law, the government set a panel to review veracity of work done, the government is demanded to set up committee or panel which we did, government relied on the work of panel which the governor has approved… government followed the law-meticulously and judiciously.

” Mathew Alaji Opaluwa is approved as next Attah.  The approval is in line with the provisions on replacement-vacancy for filling of vacant offices….”

 The Commissioner ended his speech by chiding those who may wish to go on litigation to go and waste their time.   “potential litigants-can waste their time.”

It is my candid view that the Igala Area Traditional Council and the Kingmakers especially must put their house in order in future.  As can be seen from the statement of the Honorable Commissioner their conduct was less then honorable, shrouded in allegations of manipulations, they more or less put the ancient proud Igala kingdom in quagmire and submitted it to public ridicule and opprobrium.   The future of the Attah institution and its stability must be found within the time tested norms and firmament of Igala tradition. The law is clear for all to read and follow, it gives the King makers and the Area council all the opportunity to put its house in order and appoint an Attah according to tradition and law. But where they fail, they put the entire kingdom to ridicule and allow others-even without understanding of cultural ethos to decide for the Kingdom. I am proposing a conference of Igala traditional rulers for them to examine, understand and document the process for future stability.

 THE TRADITIONAL RITES

    Boston (1968) in his book, The Igala Kingdom summarized the rites as follows: “It was the Achadu’s duty to send for the chosen candidate to the throne and to bestow on him the interim title of Aidokanya with salutation of “Todo!” The Achadu is regarded as the traditional prime minister.

“On arriving at Idah from the provinces the candidate spent four days in the Achadu’s compound where his ears were pierced by Achadu’s wife and he also made a formal payment to the Achadu for his right to the Attah title.

“This stage which coincides with the funeral ceremonies of the previous king ended when the Aidokanya (as the the king is referred to in the interim) left the Achadu’s compound and went and spent nine days with Eguola the keeper of the royal graves at Ojaina. From Ojaina here the Aidokanya begins his formal entry to the capital by crossing the Inachalo streams to Ofukolo where he is ritually reborn by the Onede, an Igala mela chief…with Onubiogbo from the same group acting as the king’s father.

“This is the definite rite of passage from status of Aidokoanya to Attah, although the new Attah has to be clothed in the king’s ceremonial Royal Regalia and invested with insignia of office. When this has been done at the same site, the Attah mounts a horse and rides towards the palace.

“On the way he stops at the land shrine Erane and offers tortoise and kolanuts, the act of sacrifice being performed by the Atebo a priest and titled chief whilst the actual invocation to the land is made by the Achadu. From Erane the Attah passes through the Igala Mela Quaters to his palace, receiving his first acclamation from the people of Idah.”

In all Boston says there are five stages in the process.

FULFILLMENT OF AN ANCIENT PROCESS

HRM Mathew Alaji Opaluwa oguche II

 Exactly as recorded by Boston and many other scholars on November 9th 2021, the Attah designate, Aidokanya started this symbolic brief stay at Ugwolawo where he spent one night in a poor hut, which was thereafter burnt. This ritual indicates that the Attah has no material (property/ building) of his own, as his only home is deemed to become the Igala house. His life thereafter becomes totally dedicated to his people and the Kingdom.

ACHADU

The Aidokanya now moves to the Achadu Palace where he lives for four days.  In the absence of the Achadu(who passed away earlier in the year) the Aidokanya is received by the Ikabi, who performs all the ritual roles of the Achadu. During his stay here, the Attah is supposed to be acquainted with the cultures and traditions of the Igala mela. He is officially (symbolically) married to the Achadu and his ear is pierced.

The smooth and hitch free engagement between the Aidokanya and the Ikabi in the last ascension is indeed remarkable in the sense that by traditional adaptability and innovativeness as the absence of the Achadu didn’t delay or hinder the process, it also emphasizes the duality of ritual authority as we shall see in the other situations shortly.

At Ojaina-

Four days before the offering is done, the Palace Eunuchs and ‘Edibos’ go to the royal burial ground to clear the path leading into the grove, and to repair small shelters housing the graves of the last nine kings. Soon after Atebo brings the ritual staff, Otutubatu to Ojaina in readiness for the offering. On the day of the ritual, he and Eguola go with an assistant Adokpulu to the grave of the Attah’s father.

According to Boston, Eguola and Adokpulu are jointly responsible for the royal burial ground, Ojaina and the Former Eguola is also in charge of a set of nine ‘Okwute’ representing the dead kings. Aidokanya spent nine days in Eguolas house immediately after completion of the funeral. On the last day the Aidokanya was given wrist bead of office by the Eguola.

2021

At the 2021 ascension this process was also largely followed with the Aidokanya spending nine days at Ojaina.  Like Boston suggested both the Eguola and the Adukpolu performed rites on behalf of the Attah. I am aware that there are certain musings regarding the superiority of the two, but I believe as in the case of the Ikabi and the Achadu, the role of the Eguola and Adupkolu should complement each other. The Attah in council should outline a process that allows both key ritual performers to undertake their ancestral responsibility or combined responsibilities seamlessly.

  OFUKOLO

From here the Aidokanya begins his formal entry to the capital by crossing the Inachalo streams to Ofukolo where he is ritually reborn by the Onede, an Igala mela chief with Onubiogbo from the same group acting as the kings father. This is the definite rite of passage from status of  Aidokanya to Attah, although the new Attah has to be clothed  in the kings ceremonial Regalia and invested with insignia of office. When this has been done at the same site, the Attah mounts a horse and rides towards the palace. On the way he stops at the land shrine Erane and offers tortoise and kolanuts the act of sacrifice being performed by the Atebo an Igala chief whilst the actual invocation to the land is made by the Achadu.

2021

Again this was strictly followed at the 2021 ascension rites.The Onuede, Onuibigbo,  the Atebo with the Otutubatu where all on ground to perform this critical rituals -. The collective rituals of birth and rebirth and the ritual of transfer of sovereignty by the Igala Mela as epitomized at the ceremonies at Ufukolo are very much in tune with Bostons accounts which he notes- ‘ the act of rebirth of the Attah by the Onuede symbolizes the delegation of political sovereignty to the royal line , but also in conjunction with the offering made at the land shrine emphasizes the continuance of the kingmakers ritual sovereignty over the land.’

Boston further notes that – ‘The Attah himself does not make any ritual contact. The Attah passes his offerings to the priests to perform the sacrifices.”

He further notes that this division of labor is to stress the interdependence of the two principals and to symbolize their various contributions. It also emphasizes the impersonal nature of ritual and places in a dimension which transcends the limitations of actors own personalities.

The re-enactments that marked the ascension rites are themselves core manifestations of the socio – ritualistic, historical alliances that symbolize Igala greatness and unique integration of its diversities.

ERANE

According to Selihman , Clifford, Frasier, cited in Boston ( 1968) in the Book, The Igala Kingdom, he records that :On the day of the king’s installation, there are two major stages ,one, the king halts at the boundaries of the royal burial ground – Ofukolo where the king is invested and another at the site of land shrine- Erane where the king delays again to receive greetings and homage of the king makers and other traditional officers of state. Here the Attah is greeted by all the royal masquerades of the land and the Arena is instantly one of celebration and fanfare. It must be noted though that at the last ascension procession at Erane , non-royal rascally youth masquerades infiltrated the procession, with some wielding bottles, axes and other dangerous weapons. This must be stopped or checked in the future.

From Erane the Attah passes through the Igala mela quarters to his palace, receiving his first acclamation from the people of Idah.

ALU AKU -At the Palace Gate

At the palace, (the Attah went round the walls of the palace 3 times) before stopping at the palace gate to announce his praise names-

It must be noted however that there was a bit of controversy about which gate the Attah should approach –is it the Alu Aku or the south gate-. I noticed that some chiefs had gathered at Alu Aku only to be told that the Gabaidu was entering from the other gate.

Miachi however records that –It is when he enters the Palace (Efofe) through the eastern gate called Alu Aku ‘Akpachi abalu mela’ meaning the entrance gate of the grass hopper with nine mouths and passes through a number of other rituals that he is first greeted Agabaidu.

But it may stand to reason that it is perhaps the exclusive preserve of the Attah to choose which ever gate he can come through. But this must be clearly established to avoid future ambiguities. At the gate the Attah announces nicknames; more or less praise names that are in line with the tradition of his ancestors and past Attahs –

HRM-AGABAIDU MATHEW ALAJI OPALUWA OGUCHE-AKPA 11 declared nine nicknames:

1.ATTAH OMI KIGBA GWU AWO OLI KELA ABIGBA MANEKE MO

2.ATTAH ADUDE EBIJE KUMADU KEBIJE DA

3.ATTAH AJU OGUCHE AKPAAKIKO KIYA KOJI BABAATAKPA EGBO KIJOJI NOCHI AGBITI

4.ATTAH OBUTU MEME KIYA JAGBA IGE

5. ATTAH ANADU YEYE KIMA KPADU FO

6.ATTAH ALAPA TIKA TIKA UNEDO KIYA NYEJUNA NADENWUJE

7.ATTAH ULOKO KINOJUGBA

ENE KIMA NUMAJA

8.ATTAH OLUBO

ENE KIMAJE KECHE

9.ATTAH OGWU KUMA NEJU OGBA KIYA JENE LUBI

             CONCLUSION

The Igala kingdom has come a long way and it is the duty of the Igala today and future to uphold this enviable civilization that has lasted centuries, though with intermittent trills and turns the Kingdom has held on, there is need to document these processes in the official records of his majesty for avoidance of ambiguity and for ritual correctness.

Idachaba, a Professor of Communication is the immediate past Chief Executive of the National Broadcasting Commission

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