According to tradition and the culture of the Igala people, if an Attah Igala goes on a hunting expedition and he does not return home on time, another Monarch is selected to take his place because an Attah never dies as believed by the Igala people. So when HRM Michael Idakwo Ameh Oboni II left for hunting and could not be found, the stool spiritually became vacant after the traditional rights of passage had been completed. The processes for the enthronement of a new Monarch kick-started from then on.
The four (4) ruling royal houses know whose turn it is to ascend the throne and those that are qualified from the particular lineage lines up in contest by submitting their expression of intent to the Etemahi of Igalamela, who is the Head or Chairman of the Council of Kingmakers.
But to the bewilderment of the Igala race, the Etemahi called for expression of interest from the four ruling houses instead of the Ameacho lineage that is supposed to produce the next Monarch. This misnomer by itself created acrimony and confusion in the selection processes. This was done in our judgement to create an avenue for manipulations and compromises.
The selection is supposed to be based on the 2015 Kogi State Government Gazzete. But all those that submitted an expression of interest were invited by the Etemahi on the 15th of December, 2020. On that day, the Etemahi constituted a Committee of eminent persons headed by Pastor William (Aju Ocholi) while the secretary was Aminu Sule from the four ruling royal families and enjoined the Committee to come up with a report by selecting the most qualified candidate among the sixteen (16) contestants. He gave the Committee up to 29th of December, 2020 to submit their report. The Committee finished their assignment in accordance to the terms and reference and submitted a report on the 29th of December, 2020. The report of the Committee was read to the hearing of all and sundry in the Palace of the Etemahi on the said date of 29th December, 2020.
From the report read, Prince Matthew Opaluwa Oguche was recommended by the Committee with the findings and reasons for the recommendation in the presence of all other contestants. It was applauded by some while 3 members of the Committee did not sign, reason being that they have their own candidate (Aju Akogu) They committee was appreciated for a job well done which will create an easy process for the final selection by the Kingmakers.
Rather than the Etemahi working with the report of a Committee he set up by himself which was hailed by all those present at the presentation of the report, he gave another date for the screening of the interested individuals. The candidates all endured and faced the screening squarely for over a month on daily basis except Sundays. After the screening was concluded he told the candidates to go and that soonest, they will hear from him. By normal practices, he is supposed to meet with other Kingmakers two to three times. The other kingmakers are the likes of Achenya Attah, Agukele, Onubiogbo, Ananya Attah, Onede, etc.
After three weeks of completion of the screening, news filtering around is said to have the Etemahi picked Ocholi Opaluwa Oguche, the most junior of the Opaluwa Oguche children in the contest. This volte-face we understand is as a result of the under-arm tactics being employed by Juliana Idakwo Ameh, the wife of the immediate past Monarch.
The Etemahi we understand resorted into intimidation and name-dropping by telling the other Kingmakers that His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello has been on his neck to forward the name of Ocholi Opaluwa to him for approval against his interest and the interest of due processes and procedures. It is absurd and unthinkable that an Executive Governor will descend so low to concern himself with the selection of a Monarch that entails custom and due processes. That the Etemahi in conjunction with his Secretary, Mahmoud Okpanachi and J S A Idakwo will drag the Executive Governor into a matter he has absolutely nothing to do with is the highest height of sacrilege. Two names we heard, was finally submitted to the Achadu for Selection, why was it suddenly changed to one without due process? Why did the Ètèmahi not work with the report of the committee he set up? May God Almighty give us a leader that will redeem the Igala kingdom!!
They must remember that “Akpane, ane-akpa.” What a sacrilege!!
Written by Omichi Ejuile Sani