An excerpts from page 167 and 169 of the book :ANE IGALA, the Prophetic Angle by Ocholi E Odekina Published 2014 by Odeking Media Ltd
…One of such things we lost to imperialism is the royal insignia or symbol of authority of the Ata Igala. I like us to take a look at P.E Okwoli’s statement as quoted in one of his works ” strictly speaking, the elephant the insignia or symbol of authority of the Ata Igala was imposed by the British colonial administration in 1918 after the creation of Igala native authority. The first Ata Igala to use the Elephant as a symbol of authority was Ata Oguche Akpa, since then all subsequent Ata Igala have been using it as symbol of authority “.Why the imposition? What was wrong with the our God given symbol of authority, which is the Lion? To me, the most humbling of the above episode is not the imposition of the Elephant symbol by the British but the last statement which says, since then, all subsequent Ata Igalas have been using it as symbol of authority. This to me is heart breaking. Can’t we revert to what truly portrays who our Ata is even now that we are no more under colonial rule? Ata Igala who is also known as Agaba-Idu meaning male Lion cannot be said to be an Elephant. Therefore, permit me to say without an attempt to demean our highly revered throne that it appears a misfit or mismatch to a Lion to appear like an Elephant. What semblance does the Lion share with an Elephant? This can be totally confusing. It reveals the malicious motives of the British authority to ridicule and desecrate our exalted throne and make it look dumb. Every anima hasl it’s own characteristics and spirit which makes even God and man use them as symbols of authority (e. g Lion of Judah).The Elephant may be big but very sluggish , never daring, not visionary and because it does not believe in adventures, it never conquers……In looking at the characteristics of the the original symbol of authority of the Ata Igala (the Lion, …. a Lion which is strongest among beasts and does not turn away from any . Proverbs 30:30. The Lion is an embodiments of bravery. He’s daring, visionary, highly courageous , believes in adventure and he is a conqueror. The lion is the king of the jungle therefore never afraid of anyone in the jungle. This is the spirit of the Ata Igala, the spirit of the fearless hunter who goes to Ojuwo-Ataogwu unaided in the dead of the night for hunting without fear. Obviously, Elephant don’t hunt, the Lions does. This was the spirit that enabled the Ata Igala of the ancients lead expansionary wars and extended Igala Kingdom beyond bounds. The British were afraid and intimidated by these qualities and track record of the Ata Igalas and desperately began to do everything including change the Ata Igala’s symbol of authority to weaken the stool. If they (the British ) understood the meaning of Ata Igala’s greating “Agaba- Idu’ (the male Lion ) which is reflective of his powers and authority, may be they would have changed it as well. Now that the colonial masters are no more our masters, we are at liberty to revisit it and project the Ata Igala we truly want the world to know. The important of how we portrays the Ata Igala can never be down played because, a leader is the face of his people. He represents the strength or weakness of his people. How a leader is seen tells how his people are seen as well. The Igalas are very brave and courageous people, we cannot allow others paint pictures or images that is contrary to us.