Ascension of Ata Igala Gynecology/ Kingship and other Chieftaincy stools in Igala Land have never been based on age/ seniority of aspirants but the age of the nominator, Character, Charisma and Integrity the Aspirant.
HRM Ata Ameh Ocheje of Akumabi ruling house was a grandson of HRM Ata Itodo Aduga. His Uncles, HRH Ohiemi (Agbaji) Itodo, Ameh Itodo etc were all alive when HRM Ameh son of Ocheje Itodo Aduga was enthroned. According to oral tradition, he was enthroned because he had the right character and requisite knowledge of the kingdom, culture and tradition of his people. His Uncle especially HRH Ohiemi (Agbaji) Itodo was never settled at home. His quest for wealth and slave trading took him away from home. When it was time for the turn of Akumabi ruling house to produce a candidate for the throne, the kingmakers headed by Achadu preferred Ameh Ocheje their son being the one well known to them and knowledgeable about the affairs of the kingdom.
The Current Etemahi Igalamela HRH Abel Emakoji Etu ascended the throne at a prime age of 39 even when his biological father and elder brothers were alive, HRH Idrees Khalid the Ohiegba of Mozum ascended the throne of his forefathers at a prime age of 21 even when his father, uncle’s and elder brothers were still alive. The current Achadu Oko Attah Chief Adejoh Samson Achema has ample elders and seniors ahead of him but he was picked to ascend the Throne of his fore fathers. HRM Aliyu Obaje became Ata Igala at a young age of 38 even when his elder brother Prince Achimugu Obaje and Prince Haruna Obaje were very much alive. HRM Ata Ameh Oboni became Ata Igala at a young age of 33. The current Ooni Of Ife ObaAdeyeye Enitan Babatunde OgunwusiOjaja II ascended the throne at the age of 41 even when his father was and is still alive. All these young Kings were picked based on their competence and leadership qualities as sometimes the oldest does not necessarily translate to be most qualified.
In the olden days, our elders in their native intelligence did selections for the Ata stool primarily on the basis of character from amongst contestants for the stool. This is evident in the following selections from time immemorial:
***HRM Ata AmeAchor of AmeAchor ruling house: Ata AmeAchor, son of HRM Ata Akumabi was junior among his father’s children. He was behind in age to HRH Ohiemi Edino and Odoma Ebehi. Ata AmeAchor was selected because he had the requisite character good enough for the throne. While his elder brothers were gallivanting around the kingdom looking for wealth, he was around his forefathers staying glue to our customs and tradition. He was said to have acquired good knowledge of the kingdom from his activities and stay at home. In those days, good character and requisite knowledge of the kingdom was a major prerequisite for the throne hence his enthronement ahead of his elder brothers.
HRM Ata Akwu Odiba of Ocholi ruling house: Akwu Odiba was the youngest son of HRM Ata Idoko Adegbe. His elder brothers Onoja Idoko Adegbe and others were denied the throne for lacking in the right character for the throne.
HRM Ata Amaga of Akogu ruling house: Amaga was the youngest son of Ekele Aga. He was selected ahead of his elder brothers because of his adjudged credible character.
***HRM Ata Obaje Ocheje of Akumabi ruling house: Obaje Ocheje was selected ahead of his elder brother Okolo Ocheje based on his adjudged credible character by Achadu as head of the kingmakers.
***HRM Ata Aliu Otulukpe Obaje of Akumabi: Aliu Otulukpe Obaje was selected for the throne by the British government in collaboration Northern Nigerian Government ahead of his Uncles (Abalaka Ocheje, Aikoye Ocheje) and his elder brothers (Achimugu Obaje, Idoko Obaje, etc). The Government based their judgement on character disposition, intelligence, wisdom and quality education he (Aliu Otulukpe Obaje) possessed.
From the foregoing, it is clear that the throne of Igala kingdom is preferred to be mounted only by the person with proven character, wisdom, intelligence of the candidate and not based on the status of the person involved whether as direct son, grandson or great grandson. The one and foremost requirement is to belong to the ruling house whose turn it is to produce the next Ata.That an aspirant’s Uncles are in the race does not render his own contest null. It happened in 1835 by the installation of HRM Ata Ameh Ocheje who himself contested with his Uncles for the throne.
HRH Ata Idoko Adegbe is not a son to Ata Ohiemi Obogo but a grandson, he contested with his uncles and was found worthy and crowned as Ata Igala. The 2015 Kogi State Gazzatte extend eligibility of person to be Ata Igala to Grandsons and great grandsons who must as a matter of importance meet the dictates of schedule 5, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 which talks about qualification. Schedule 12 D emphasises that a for a person to be qualified as Ata Igala, he must be of GOOD CHARACTER, hence, character is the most important criterion in the selection of Attah. Secondly, the nomination by and under the supervision of the Eldest person from the clan whose turn it is to produce the Attah is another very important factor.
Looking at these critically, it is generally adjuged that Prince Opaluwa Okoliko a composed and competent Master’s Degree holder, well groomed in Igala Native law, Customs and Tradition by Late HRH Adebo Opaluwa seems to be best fitted into this requirement and expectation of a person to be Ata Igala. He has the nomination of the Eldest surving person from Aju Ameacho clan and displayed in-depth knowledge of Igala History and culture before the Igalamela Kingmakers.